During the extended winter break, Global Commerce offered students the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Global Commerce Certificate in International Supply Chain. In January, 16 Global Commerce students gathered online twice weekly for four weeks with export/import expert Kimberly Kirkendall, President & Founder of International Resource Development, Inc. who led them through the fundamentals of international supply chain management, drawing both on her own professional experience and the expertise of visiting guest speakers.

Session 1 kicked off with an overview of the supply chain process and ended with a conversation about what the 2020 toilet paper “crisis” can teach us about supply chains.

Session 2’s focus on logistics covered much of the terminology that is important for one to be familiar with when considering supply-chain/logistics as a career path. Students were introduced to incoterms, a set of internationally recognized rules which define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers, and harmonized system (HS) codes, an agreed-upon international system managed by the World Customs Organization and used to identify commodities. Documentation (including proforma and commercial invoices, certificates of origin, bills of lading, and manifests) and 3PLs (third-party logistics providers/freight forwarders) were also discussed. Students were each assigned two products (one electronic and one naturally-derived) and given an assignment to identify the HS code for those products, what tariffs and duties are applied to them by the US when imported and what concerns they have about potential issues/import problems.

Sessions 3 – 7 covered transaction management, supplier management, product development, stakeholder interactions (including regulatory agencies and trade policies), and career preparation and featured guest speakers from supply chain management firms, global manufacturing companies, trading organizations, and government agencies. During the final session, students presented on their assigned products having researched the cost, feasibility, regulations, and challenges of importing the electrical product from either China or India and the same for their food/cosmetic to be exported to either Germany or France. Upon successful completion of the program components, participating students were awarded the GC International Supply Chain Certificate.

Overall, the inaugural program was a resounding success. Students enjoyed gaining authentic experience within supply chain through the project and raved about Kimberly Kirkendall’s expertise, wisdom, and international work experience; three students reported that they have obtained an internship or micro-internship as a direct result of the program!

March 18, 2021