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Living The Dream - David Smith

Master of Business Administration

May 2014

Post-Program Career:

  1. Emerson Industrial Automation – Supply Chain Solutions Manager – Florence, KY (division acquired by Regal-Beloit Corp – stayed at same position) – June 2014-July 2015
  2. SpaceX – Material Planner – Los Angeles, CA – July 2015 - current

Pre-Program career: Student

Previous Degrees: B.S. Aerospace Engineering - Purdue

Why Krannert?

For one, I love Purdue and everything it offers and has done for me. It is a great place to be. Krannert, specifically, offers a great opportunity to grow as a professional overall. Classwork and the teachers are great, but it is all of the extra activities and opportunities that are offered that really make it an excellent place to grow professionally. Those opportunities include traveling and studying abroad, professional competitions, entrepreneurial opportunities, etc.

Tell us about your experiences at Krannert.

Harry’s….I mean studying all the time! I think most of my favorite memories happened outside of classes and the RAWLS building. For instance studying in Germany and travelling in Europe, working and travelling in India, case competitions at other schools, etc. To be honest, there is very little I would have changed about my experience, except maybe trying even harder to find a graduate assistantship.

What courses from the MBA program have you found beneficial? – My operations and supply chain core classes have been the most beneficial for sure. Also statistics and spread sheet modeling have been instrumental in a lot of my day to day work. Finally, strategy and leadership have helped out a lot with my overall professional growth.

Are you a career changer, career enhancer or a new professional? 

New Professional

What was your internship?

I worked for GE Aviation in their quality department. It was a good experience working for a large company in the field and industry I wanted.

What did you take away from your internship experience?

My first real business experience, which gave me good insight into how large companies work and how the industry was run.

What did you enjoy about your internship?

Feeling a part of something larger.

How did you find your new career?

I took a very odd path to get to where I am. I have always wanted to work in the aerospace field, but after my engineering degree I felt like my abilities were better suited for the business side. That is why I went back to get my MBA. Unfortunately, the aerospace (specifically the defense and space side) is down these days, so when I graduated with my MBA there were few opportunities for someone with my lack of experience. I took a job outside of aerospace in order to gain experience and then try to jump back into aerospace in a few years. I never would have thought I would have the opportunity after only 1 year, especially at a company like SpaceX.

What drew you to this company?

In the commercial space industry, SpaceX is by and far the leader. They are growing rapidly and are doing things that have never been done. Being a part of a company like that is exhilarating.

What will be the challenges of your new career?

My challenges will be the same challenges as SpaceX. They are starting to transition from a very engineering driven company to more of a production driven company with their growth. Manufacturing and supply chain practices are new to them, and so I will be helping to streamline and improve all of those new processes so that they can continue to grow at the rate they want to.

Advice for someone looking to work at the company you are working at?

You have to be passionate and be willing to give 100% of your effort. If you do not believe in the vision of the company, then you will not survive very long.