Class of 2016
External Supply Management Business Co-op (Internship)
An unnerving experience at an Institute for Supply Management case competition illustrates how Mehek Khera’s (’16 MBA) Bryan School education helped to sharpen her innate ability to succeed when faced with the new and unexpected.
Khera was representing UNCG in spring 2015 when her competition partner fell ill the day of event. She quickly was paired with an undergraduate student from another university: The two had never met. They were given six hours to develop a sourcing strategy for a major mattress manufacturer and then seven minutes to make their pitch. Undaunted, Khera went to work, coordinating a strategy with her new partner, brainstorming and crafting a solution. “When they announced the winner (Khera and her teammate), it was the biggest achievement I’d had in the U.S. and boosted my confidence a great deal,” says Khera, who is originally from India.
It was not the first time Khera had to rapidly problem solve—it is a skill she began mastering and using to build on success after success since she was accepted into the Day MBA Program.
A native of New Delhi, Khera earned a degree in computer science and engineering from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in 2012 and was working as a software engineer when she chose to earn an MBA. “Enrolling in the UNCG MBA program was the best decision I could ever have made,” she says. The program has given Khera the broad foundation in business she sought, while allowing her to dive deeply into supply chain management and negotiations—areas of particular interest. She also has appreciated the Bryan School’s small class sizes; experienced and talented faculty; and its record of providing an outstanding return on investment.
All that said, Khera was not without doubts when she left India for the United States—where she has a few relatives on the East Coast but knew no one else. She acknowledges her transition was not a seamless one. “Initially, I would be discouraged by encountering adversities, be they personal or professional,” Khera says. “My tenure at the Bryan School taught me to take a little step at a time. Breaking down the problem helps. Identifying the cause helps even more, and before you know it, the problem is solved.”
“In addition,” Khera continues, “UNCG’s cooperative staff and faculty were very helpful. The program is student-centric, and I felt like I had entered a second home. This helped me kick start this journey.”
Khera carried her early successes into internships at two global leaders in their industries. First, she worked in supply planning at Syngenta Crop Protection in Greensboro, where her responsibilities included creating a detailed 27-month supply chain management plan for a $56 million product portfolio in the company’s insecticide/pesticide segment. A second internship took her to GlaxoSmithKline in the Research Triangle Park area where she works with an external supply management group as part of a cross-functional team leading improvement initiatives.
To other international students considering UNCG, Khera offers this advice: “Do not be afraid of traveling so far, do not be anxious about entering a new land and do not stress about being successful. Just do your best, as the thoroughly organized MBA program at the Bryan School will make sure you are ready to leave as a successful leader at the end of two years.”
Article by Julie Palm
Photograph by Martin Kane