John Hayward on Getting Involved and Achieving Success in the ISM Program


Name: John Hayward
Major: Integrated Supply Management  
Minor: Business Analytics and Accounting
Hometown: Portage, Michigan
Class Standing: Junior
Campus Involvements: American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS)



Junior John Hayward is making the most of his time at Western Michigan University.  We asked him how his experiences as a student and a logistics operator at Pfizer are preparing him for a successful future.

The advantage of earning an integrated supply management degree

A nationally ranked integrated supply management degree from Haworth College of Business puts me in the driver’s seat for career success. Having different career options is important to me because I strive to have a wide range of skills. Minoring in business analytics and accounting helps me diversify my skill set, which will make me more marketable to employers after college. 

Connecting with professors

The faculty are what makes the Haworth College of Business so great. I am able to meet with my professors and talk with them about classwork, careers and academic opportunities. I encourage all students to take advantage of the advice faculty members have to offer. Send an email to a professor in your major and set up a meeting! They are all willing to help put you on a path to success. Developing these relationships increases your chances of getting a great job and makes you a better student.

Bronco Force helps you find the perfect career

Hands-on experience offerings really take the integrated supply management program to the next level and is a major reason why our program is ranked No. 2 in the world. Integrated supply management students have an opportunity to be on Bronco Force solutions teams that allow students to work on challenging problems that local companies are facing.

As a Bronco Force team member at Stryker I was able to:

  • Strengthen my problem solving skills through work on real world supply chain problems.
  • Develop communication skills after presenting our project to senior level management.
  • Apply tools I learned in business analytics to manipulate data and leverage it into actionable business intelligence.

Bronco Force allows you to do work that an experienced professional would be doing with different companies to help you uncover what you want to do after college.

APICS enhances his college experience

I am very excited about the direction our student APICS chapter is headed. There are more events to attend, membership is rising, and we are getting even more employers interested in our program. This organization has allowed me to meet so many motivated students and to attend networking events, case competitions and industry tours.

I recommend that all students attend case competitions as they are one of the best ways to learn and refine your skills during college. This past fall, I went to the General Motors/Wayne State University case competition at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. Through this event, I networked with prospective employers and students from 21 universities. I was able to apply concepts learned in class to solve a purchasing problem related to the 2017 Chevy Bolt. Our team took second place, which is the highest a team from Western Michigan University has ever placed at this event.

In regards to students getting the most of their college experience, my advice is to dive right in! The mistake I made was joining APICS halfway through my freshman year.  If I could turn back the clock, I would have joined on day one. I cannot stress enough how important it is to join a student organization and be actively involved. APICS opened so many doors for me, and enriched my college experience.

The student organizations in the Haworth College of Business offer many benefits:

  • Help build your professional brand.
  • Provide networking opportunities.
  • Help identify where you want to work after college by connecting you with employers.
  • Develop your skill set to teach you to be the best version of yourself.

On working as a logistics operator for Pfizer Global Supply

I started out in 2015 as a temporary employee within Pfizer’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) business. I was then hired in as a colleague within the drug products portion of the plant which makes life-saving sterile injectables for patients around the world. I recently moved to the supply chain organization as a logistics operator serving both API and drug products.

I wanted to become a logistics operator at Pfizer to get logistics experience at the shop floor level. Western Michigan University does an outstanding job of teaching students purchasing, operations and logistics. By working as an entry-level colleague within Pfizer, I can learn valuable interpersonal skills, apply knowledge from my ISM coursework, network with management, and most importantly, understand how the manufacturing process works within large organizations.

In my position, I drive stand-up fork trucks or sit-down lifts, depending on the task needing to be performed, make transactions within Pfizer’s enterprise resource planning system, handle materials as they flow through the production process and perform cycle counts to reconcile inventory.

Planning for the future

I will be working for Marathon Petroleum Corporation in the spring of 2019 as a Global Procurement Intern. I obtained this job through an introduction by a classmate to Marathon, followed by a successful interview process at the Integrated Supply Management Career Fair.

Upon graduation, in order to continue to learn and diversify my skill set, I hope to land a supply chain job at a company with a rotational program. I also plan to get industry certifications that will allow me to be an expert in my field.  Finally, I plan to continue my education and seek a master’s degree three to five years after graduating from Western Michigan University.