BGSU alumna keeps BGSU graduates in the supply chain
Amanda Christian ’98 finds Falcons have the business foundation
By Matt Markey ’76
When Amanda Hissong Christian’s older brother started at Bowling Green State University, she was just a second-grader. So years later, when it came time for her to attend college, she was very familiar with the campus, the curriculum and the community.
“I chose Bowling Green because I felt I really knew the school and the environment. I really liked the smaller town and the reputation of the business school,” the 1998 alumna said. “I felt very comfortable with my choice back then, and that feeling hasn’t changed. I enjoyed every minute of my four years at Bowling Green. I met a great group of girls that were my friends all through college and after graduation.”
Christian, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Purchasing & Materials Management/Production & Operations Management, is the vice president and corporate director of procurement for CACI, an international professional services and information technology company headquartered in Arlington, Va. CACI’s primary client is the U.S. government, but it also serves foreign governments, state and local governments and commercial enterprises.
Without hesitation, Christian points out that she did not come to Bowling Green with the expectation that she would one day be managing a staff of more than 100 procurement professionals for a huge company that has 120 offices worldwide, with more than 20,000 employees. She came to BG with a different field of study in mind.
“I originally thought I would go into accounting, but once I got to campus I started looking around for what else was out there,” Christian said. It was in her introduction to management class that she first heard about the purchasing and production specialty.
“As I started to understand more about it, one of my professors introduced me to a company that offered internships. Once I took the internship, things really clicked. I knew when I went back to school after the internship that it was the right choice for me,” she said. A second internship, this time with defense contractor Lockheed Martin, confirmed the direction her education would take, and the potential career path it laid out in front of her.
Christian credits “great professors” at BGSU with playing major roles in fine-tuning her career choice.
“The classes I took and those professors I had – that ultimately led me to deciding that supply chain management was best for me,” she said. “It all came together with the management classes giving me a better understanding of the field, and then my professors introducing me to companies that offered internships where you really get a much clearer grasp of the job.”
Today, Christian fills a very similar role, returning to campus often to offer students direction as a highly successful professional in her field, and as a speaker at the Supply Chain Management Institute.
“I really enjoy coming back to campus. Interacting with the students is a very energizing experience for me,” she said. “The students at BG are so bright and they ask such good questions. I sympathize with them because I know these interviews are tough and I can see how nervous they are. I’ve been through it.”
Christian said she reminds students to go into the interview process as relaxed as they can be, and to view the session as a two-way street.
“I think they need to know that an interview works both ways – does this company want me to work for them, and at the same time, do I want to work for this company,” she said. “I remember being grilled in some interviews, and that made me realize I might not want to work for that company. Just because your major matches up with the job doesn’t necessarily mean the situation or the company is right for you. You have to be confident enough to say ‘no thanks’ and keep looking.”
Christian has found BGSU to be a very successful recruiting ground for her company. She has had 23 interns from the University work for her since 2010, and has hired 18 Bowling Green graduates at CACI.
“I’m proud of that because they have been good people and good hires,” she said. “For one, they have a great, solid foundation in business. There are a handful of good supply chain management schools out there, and Bowling Green is one of them. The BG graduates we hire might not have a lot of experience in the service industry field at the time, but I know I can train them because they have a strong business foundation, great analytical skills and a good work ethic.”
Since her company’s Washington, D.C., area base of operations is quite different from Bowling Green and Ohio, Christian also wants to make certain that any new hire is prepared for the major change.
“When I recruit someone to move to D.C. area, I know it is not an easy decision,” she said. “They have to make a commitment to make the move to Washington, D.C., rent an expensive apartment, and then figure out how to get around in a large metropolitan area. But if they are comfortable with that, then I know they will have a great internship.”
Christian, one of three Bowling Green products in her immediate family, also has a niece that graduated from BG in August 2016, and a nephew currently enrolled at the university. She said they found the same appealing aspects that she did when she made Bowling Green her college choice.
“Both of them looked at quite a few schools, but ultimately came to same conclusion as me,” said Christian, who lived in McDonald West and Offenhauer while at BG. “One of the things I loved about Bowling Green is the safe environment if offers for living and learning. I think they found that, too.”