April 27, 2022

‘You can see it through’: Global supply chain graduate blends education, experience for career

Alexus Bridgeforth hadn’t heard of “supply chain” when she got hooked on the field as a high school student taking vocational classes through Oakland Schools Technical Campus. She pursued that passion, though, and will earn a bachelor’s in global supply chain management from Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business.

“It was one class, and I was all in. I was immediately fascinated by the process, the level of organization involved, all the moving parts that had to come together just right,” Bridgeforth said. “I never looked back, and I’m so glad.”

Looking ahead

Bridgeforth has already accepted a full-time offer with global powerhouse Amazon, where she will serve as an area manager at their hub in Amarillo, Texas, managing a team of employees working to maintain quality standards and process goals, and more. She was recruited on LinkedIn through the Amazon student recruitment program.

Managing a team and keeping business on track won’t be too far of a stretch for Bridgeforth, who has years of experience working in various industries. While earning her degree, she has held positions in retail, inventory, grocery, customer service, sales, hospitality and more. In her free time, Bridgeforth also developed and launched a cosmetics line in September 2021, working with suppliers, vendors and marketing professionals.

“I had worried that having less formal internship experience might make it harder for me to land a career,” said Bridgeforth. “As it turns out, all of those workplace experiences added even more value to my degree.”

In addition to her new role with Amazon, Bridgeforth plans to continue growing her cosmetics line as an avenue of business opportunity and professional and personal growth.

“I recently got interested in cosmetics, and I’m seeing now — even early in my process — how much it takes to develop products and run a business. I hope to further explore marketing, design — the whole process.”

Staying connected

A well-rounded student, Bridgeforth balanced work and school but still found time to be involved on campus. She has been a member of the Multicultural Professional Readiness Education Program (MPREP) Scholars learning community since 2018. She credits Lynita Taylor, diversity and inclusion program manager at the Ilitch School, Lori Sisk, assistant professor of global supply chain management, and the entire MPREP program as sources of support and motivation. Bridgeforth also serves as the Black Student Union’s student affairs chair and is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, where she serves as the National Pan-Hellenic Council delegate and parliamentarian.

“It wasn’t always easy, and there were moments — especially at the beginning — where I thought about putting my education on hold,” said Bridgeforth. “But there were plenty of people encouraging me, helping me. I’d tell anyone who is struggling to find balance and questioning if they can do it — you can see it through. And you should.”  

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