Hired for a Purpose

PROVO, Utah – Jan 25, 2019 – Normally recent graduates aren’t involved in redesigning a global company’s entire shipping system, but Melissa Nielsen isn’t a normal recent graduate. Her degree in global supply chain management from the BYU Marriott School of Business allowed Nielsen to skip the learning curve and qualified her to be put on one of her employer’s biggest project, her first day on the job.

Nielsen, a 2018 grad from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is now working with her team at Wayfair, an online home furnishing company, to find a way to save the company money regarding how the company ships its products. In 2018, Wayfair grew by over fifty percent, and due to the high order volume, the company needed to create a more efficient way to ship their inventory. Awkwardly sized furniture items like couches and end tables take up a lot of space and are inconvenient for shipping companies industry-wide. Nielsen was hired by Wayfair to specifically help them with the process.

“Shipping is the part of supply chain that everyone is stumped by,” Nielsen says. “In order to solve the problem, we want to triple the size of what our network can handle by Q3 of 2019. There is a lot to figure out.”

Nielsen says she was put on the project on her first day at Wayfair because she had the words global supply chain on her résumé. Though the pressure may be daunting, Nielsen is confident that her team will be successful and enjoys being on such an important project.

Nielsen’s experience at BYU Marriott helped prepare her for success. “Language is the biggest thing. I understand how to talk to people, and BYU Marriott taught me how to do that,” she says. “Terminology and concepts specific to supply chain are important. You can learn those on the job but having my degree in supply chain gave me a good starting place.” This starting place allowed Nielsen to start making a difference immediately.

Nielsen’s experiences working at Wayfair are similar to those she had at BYU Marriott, she says. “We did real-life consulting projects in the major, and we gave recommendations on how to improve processes and cut cost,” Nielsen says. “Working in real-life situations like that was helpful when I began working full-time.”

Nielsen was able to be selective about where she worked because BYU Marriott global supply chain management alumni are in high demand. When it came to choosing her employer, Nielsen looked for a company that valued her chosen field. When Nielsen saw that Wayfair was investing heavily in supply chain, she was impressed.

Additionally, Nielsen wanted to be at a company where employees were happy and engaged in their work. “I picked Wayfair because I met interesting people as I was interviewing. I was looking to see how excited the people were about the projects they were working on,” Nielsen says. “I could tell Wayfair employees were engaged with their work.” It also didn’t hurt that the job is in Boston, a city Nielsen loves. Nielsen says Boston provides plenty of opportunities for her to have fun with her new friends, including finding the best places to eat in the city.

Nielsen enjoys the challenges Wayfair presents and plans to stay there. Eventually she might go back to school to get an MBA. “But I’m in the right place for my plans,” she says.

Melissa Nielsen stands in front of the Eiffel Towel in Paris
Melissa Nielsen stands in front of the Eiffel tower while visiting Paris.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Katie Harris