You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2014 / March / Solving Industry Challenges an Important Goal for Supply Chain Ph.D. Alumni

Solving Industry Challenges an Important Goal for Supply Chain Ph.D. Alumni

Penn State Smeal College of Business Ph.D. Program alumni James Abbey ‘13g and Kaitlin Wowak ’12g are using their supply chain management expertise to improve supply chain practice in industry through research and teaching.
March 25, 2014

Penn State Smeal College of Business Ph.D. Program alumni James Abbey ‘13g and Kaitlin Wowak ’12g are using their supply chain management expertise to improve supply chain practice in industry through research and teaching.

Wowak, now an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, cites her love of research as one of her primary motivations for pursuing an academic career.

“Academia and industry can both realize benefits by engaging in partnership if they allocate time and resources towards developing relationships.”

“I enjoy working on issues managers face on a daily basis,” she said. “I am currently doing research on product recalls, which can have major implications on a firm’s financial performance and brand image as well as on consumer well-being.”

Abbey, an assistant professor at Texas A&M Mays Business School, is focused on closed-loop supply chains—also an area that has significant impact on business. A closed loop supply chain refers to one that incorporates re-use, remanufacturing, and recycling of materials used in the production process as well as the product itself.

“Academia and industry can both realize benefits by engaging in partnership if they allocate time and resources towards developing relationships,” said Wowak. “If they drift apart, our research won’t have practical implications and industry won’t receive guidance about how to overcome various challenges.”

Abbey added, “Though the process of working with companies is not always simple, I find the process invigorating and exciting as problems that have never been seen before come to light. That process of discovery makes my work with the companies and related research significantly more enjoyable.”

Both Abbey and Wowak cited Smeal’s focus on research excellence as a primary reason they chose the college for their doctoral studies. They also indicated that the Smeal community played a significant role in their choice.

“I wanted to go to a premier academic institution that allowed a balance between the work environment and community,” said Abbey. “As such, Penn State represented the ideal solution—a fantastic community environment with scholars who are among the best in the field.”

Abbey began his career in health care consulting after earning a B.S. in economics from Iowa State University. He later returned for a second B.S. in statistics and M.S. degree with a focus in supply chain. Wowak holds a B.S. in finance from the University of Florida and an M.S. in information and telecommunication systems for business from Johns Hopkins University.

About the Penn State Smeal College of Business Ph.D. Program
The Smeal College of Business Ph.D. program, aimed at students who want to pursue a career in academic research, offers specialization opportunities in accounting, finance, management and organization, marketing, real estate, and supply chain and information systems. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/phd.

Recent News
Smeal Community Invited to Sign Honor Code 29 Aug

The Penn State Smeal College of Business community will have an opportunity to sign the Smeal honor code throughout the second week of classes. Signing sessions will take place on Sept. 2-4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Atrium of the Business Building on the University Park campus.

Smeal Student, Bitcoin Advocate Wins Trip to London Cryptocurrency Conference 27 Aug

Penn State Smeal College of Business student Patrick Cines will fly to London next month to attend the Inside Bitcoins: The Business of the Cryptocurrency World conference, thanks to a Twitter contest sponsored by CheapAir.com.

Students Learn Real-World Supply Chain and Sustainability Skills in Italy 26 Aug Students Learn Real-World Supply Chain and Sustainability Skills in Italy

This summer 23 Penn State Smeal College of Business students spent six weeks in Florence, Italy, studying supply chain and management from an Italian perspective with Norm Aggon, assistant department chair and instructor in operations and supply chain management, and Ron Johnson, senior instructor in management and organization.

Smeal Welcomes New Faculty Members 26 Aug

The Penn State Smeal College of Business welcomes more than 15 new members to its faculty this academic year.

MBA Students in U.S., Canada Invited to Register for Sustainability Case Competition 22 Aug

MBA students from AACSB-accredited programs in the U.S. and Canada are invited to register for the inaugural Penn State Smeal College of Business MBA Sustainability Case Competition. The competition, part of an initiative aimed at incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, will offer three top prizes that total $17,500.

More Recent News... More Recent News...