00:16 Stephanie Thomas: So I'm excited to be here today with Taylor Hunt. Taylor graduated a little over a year ago, and she's back on campus. Can you tell us, Taylor, a little bit why you're here this week?
00:26 Taylor Hunt: Yeah. So I actually work with Walmart currently. I am a manager of Business Analytics and Insights, and I work in the merchandising department. And so, in that department, I get to work with Candy and Impulse, and all the fun products.
00:38 Stephanie Thomas: Awesome.
00:39 Taylor Hunt: I love my day-to-day job. But we're trying to recruit, currently, new talent from Supply Chain Program mainly, but across the entire university, to come in and inspire us and help us with our innovations.
00:51 Stephanie Thomas: Taylor, can we go back to... I know you had several internships during your undergraduate career. Talk about some of the companies you worked with and opportunities that you had.
01:00 Taylor Hunt: Yeah, so my first internship was at Phillips 66 as an IT intern, so I did some back-end SAP testing, so very technical, less on the supply chain side. And then my second summer was also with Phillips 66 in Houston, and that one, I was a business analyst. And so I was really working on processes which brought my supply chain degree into it, and I was actually working in the refining department, so I got to see a little bit of how the refining supply chain goes, and so I really enjoyed that side of things, but I didn't find my passion in IT, and so I actually ended up going, as you know, to Michigan State to get my Master's of Science and Business Analytics. And while I was there, I was a data science intern at Mars and again, I really enjoyed my time there, ate a bunch of candy. I can't get away from candy, as I've mentioned, and I think that what I truly found there was, number one, I miss Northwest Arkansas. I wanted to come back, which I'm very happy to be back here.
01:52 Taylor Hunt: And number two, I really like the business piece of it. And so I found my home in the process business, more conversational people side of things. So that's what I'm currently doing more of. I get to use my analytical power, and I get to use a lot of my supply chain skills in the merchandising side of things. But my internships really taught me how to actually, in my opinion, become a specialist in a generalized role. So, that's what I like.
02:20 Stephanie Thomas: I love how you talk about developing your tool kit. And so, whether it was your undergraduate degree, going and getting a master's degree and then finding where your fit was because I think, and I'm sure you would agree, a lot of students, that's the challenge within supply chain is because there's so many different options, is finding your fit. And it sounds like you have found exactly where you're happy.
02:41 Taylor Hunt: Yeah, and you don't have to be in a traditional supply chain role to use supply chain either. I work with a lot of replenishment managers on a day-to-day basis who do the traditional supply chain, and so I get to have some influence over that, and I will say that, in my role thus far, it has helped me with rolling out projects, to figure out, "Okay, what's the real world implication? Can we actually get this product here on time? Is it gonna be good for our supply chain? Do we have the capacity?" etcetera, so it's been good to have more of a diversified background, so...
03:06 Stephanie Thomas: Awesome. Looking back at your, I guess, coursework while you are here at the U of A, what supply chain class do you think you may have learned the most from or been the most impactful on where you are today?
03:18 Taylor Hunt: Yeah, so I think a lot of the formative coursework in supply chain was good for building the experience and the knowledge of how supply chain works, and Supply Management was one of my favorite courses from that sense. But... [chuckle] I think you know where I'm leading here. One of my favorite courses was actually with your husband, Dr. Rodney Thomas.
03:38 Stephanie Thomas: Shh, don't tell him that.
03:40 Taylor Hunt: So don't let him see the video. So I loved his course because we didn't really have a set structure. He had some structure that he wanted to follow, but he really adapted it to what we wanted to learn, and so he had an analytical component of his course with a case study that you had to really get into leads of Excel and Access, etcetera, some other databases. And what I really loved about it was that, in the time, I thought I was very good at that side of things, and I thought I was really good at presentations. I had this really great opinion of, "Oh, I'm gonna succeed in this class and do well." And though I did, he definitely brought out a lot of points that I can improve on.
04:17 Stephanie Thomas: If you could look back to some of those freshmen and sophomores that don't know where they are or where they're gonna go, what kind of advice would you give to them?
04:24 Taylor Hunt: Yeah, so I'm known in my friend group as the person that tries everything. I am very indecisive in what I like to do with my hobbies, and what I like to do with my life. I think I had probably six or seven different majors while I was at the U of A, and I finally settled down into Supply Chain and Info Systems. But what I've really learned is when people give you an opportunity, and then when people tell you, "Hey, set up this meeting with me, I wanna go through it," or "If you ever wanna catch up, set that up," capitalize on that. People think, a lot of times, that that's just them being polite, but you can't ever get enough opportunities to meet with people.
04:57 Stephanie Thomas: Absolutely.
04:58 Taylor Hunt: And that's actually how I networked and got my job at Walmart, was by following up with people that I had... Connections I had made through my undergraduate coursework.
05:05 Stephanie Thomas: Taylor, it's been great to catch up with you, and I know we're pushed for time to go get to the big networking event downstairs at the alumni house. And so, thank you for coming by today, it's been great to see you.
05:16 Taylor Hunt: Yeah, thank you so much for having me and for allowing me to share my story, and thank you to, really, everybody at the U of A that I've ever met with. Everybody has had a piece of my path, and I think that I'm really excited to start my now alumni chapter at the U of A, so...
05:31 Stephanie Thomas: Awesome. We can't wait to continue to have you back and see you around campus and wish you all the best with your career.
05:36 Taylor Hunt: Thank you.
05:36 Stephanie Thomas: Thanks.