As the eighth oldest institution for higher learning in the United States, Rutgers is celebrating its 250th anniversary on November 10, 2016. To celebrate this monumental milestone, I Am Rutgers will be featuring Rutgers’ most involved and accomplished students in a new series, “250 for 250.” This year-long series will serve as a reflection of Rutgers’ diverse student body and status as a premier national research university.
Rutgers’ Supply Chain and Marketing Sciences major is one of the newest and fastest growing majors in the Rutgers Business School. In 2014, the program was ranked #9 in the nation by Gartner Supply Chain Leaders and the summer internship placement for undergraduate students in 2015 was nearly 100%. Aishwarya Sharma was initially attracted to RBS due to it’s highly accredited undergraduate supply chain program and has since become one of the program’s most involved and accomplished students.
Whereas most first year students use their first semester at Rutgers as an opportunity to transition to college life, Aishwarya hit the ground running. In September of 2012, less than a month after beginning her undergraduate career, she founded Rutgers University Business for Youth (RUBY). As the founding president, Aishwarya directed an executive board of eleven other students to connect students from Elizabeth High School to mentors, networking opportunities, and professional workshops. The program, which aimed to increase Elizabeth High School’s graduation and college attendance rate, was a very rewarding experience.
To be able to help level the playing field for the students of Elizabeth High School was an absolute honor. They want to learn, they want opportunity, but they don’t necessarily have the guidance. It’s so important to mentor up-and-coming students. It’s really important to teach students about business and that they will be successful if they work hard and are persistent.”
The summer after her sophomore year, Aishwarya got her first internship working for Motorola as a business analyst — but that was certainly not her last. As a lower junior, Aishwarya interned with eMarketer in New York City as a sales intern and last summer, she worked for Amazon as a part of their Supply Chain Operations Leadership Program. This experience with Amazon was her first internship in the field of supply chain and enabled her to apply the supply chain lessons she learned in her coursework to real-life situations.
This past August, Aishwarya began her co-op with L’Oreal, working in the Consumer Product Development Department. As a project manager, Aishwarya is in charge of executing concepts into viable products:
At L’Oreal, they give us a vision and it is our job to turn that vision into a reality. They may say, “We want a shampoo that will prevent split ends,” and they provide us with a 2D image representing the product. It’s up to us to communicate it to procurement, packaging, and all of the supply chain functionalities to make sure it’s feasible and can be created. It’s amazing to see the completed products at the end of their production cycles, knowing that I had a hand in creating them”
While Aishwarya values the importance of gaining real-life experience through internships, she also realized she didn’t want to spend her entire undergraduate career in New Jersey. Wanting to experience different ways of life prior to graduating from Rutgers, Aishwarya decided to spend the spring semester of her junior year studying abroad. However, unlike most conventional study abroad experiences — where students study abroad in a single country –, Aishwarya participated in the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea Program where she spent the entire semester on a ship sailing around the world. Through this program, she visited fourteen different countries including Japan, China, Burma, India, Namibia, and Morocco.
Semester at Sea was an amazing experience and allowed me to see business processes first-hand from different perspectives. I feel like I gained a lot of business intel and it was amazing to see the mannerisms and cultural norms of all of these different countries. Rutgers promotes the idea of “Jersey Roots, Global Reach” and I really felt that through my experience with Semester at Sea. I’m really grateful RBS enabled me to do it – it’s a UVA program, but Rutgers honored their credits which was great.”
For Aishwarya, Rutgers’ 250th anniversary has been a few years in the making. In her sophomore year, she became involved in the Rutgers 250 initiative and worked as a student project manager under her director, April Coage. Aishwarya was heavily involved in planning and marketing events leading up to the 250 celebration and also worked diligently to promote the book Rutgers: A 250th Anniversary Project. Now that the 250th anniversary is less than a year away, she is excited to see all of the events that she was involved in planning come to life.
As Aishwarya approaches the end of her undergraduate career, she is sad to say goodbye to this chapter of her life, but excited to begin the next. Aishwarya has had an exciting, memorable four years at Rutgers, and she encourages other students to do the same by making the most of their opportunities:
I think that Rutgers is a place where the opportunities are endless and if you want to be successful — whatever success means to you — you can definitely do that. Whether it’s in the business school or not, you can definitely leave your mark here. Have fun but don’t forget why you’re in school. You’re paying because you want to build a career and Rutgers is a giving you the tools to succeed. Make the most of your relations with your professors and the Rutgers community.”
Upon graduation, she will begin her full-time job with Accenture Consulting — a company that is by revenue, the largest consulting firm in the world. Aishwarya will be based in New York. Her position allows her to pursue her love of travel, as it requires her to travel and meet with clients multiple times a week.