Every month—or quarterly, if work is hectic—15-20 Case Western Reserve University alumni get together as Philips employees to socialize and network. Philips, a diversified technology company headquartered in the Netherlands with a presence in the Cleveland area, has hired 25-30 Case Western Reserve graduates in recent years, including many alumni of the Weatherhead School of Management’s MSM-Operations Research and Supply Chain Management (MSM-OR/SC), MSM-Finance and MBA programs.
Anand Singh, MBA ’09 and Senior Manager of Programs at Philips, has played a major role in the recruitment and development of these graduates. Partnering with Weatherhead’s Career Management Office and program directors like MSM-OR/SC’s Matthew Maloney, MBA ’07, as well as the alumni already working at Philips, Singh has created a pipeline of highly qualified, innovative, and thoughtful managers into the Philips community, where graduates are making substantial contributions.
When asked about what makes Weatherhead and Case Western Reserve graduates succeed, Singh said, “There’s something about your recruitment of students from the very beginning of the admissions process.” Generally, graduates of programs around the state leave with similar quantitative skills, but Weatherhead graduates “aren’t shy about asking questions. They are all willing to learn. They are proactively going after opportunities.” It is this enthusiasm, curiosity and ambition that has set Weatherhead graduates apart.
Philips’ hiring process is stringent. When a committee is able to narrow down its candidate pool to its final three to five but has difficulty selecting from two or three top candidates who could all perform equally well, the committee will try to help the final candidates find other opportunities within Philips rather than lose that talent to another company.
Both domestic and international Weatherhead students have had success at Philips. As a leader in global healthcare, Philips is committed to incorporating diversity at all levels of its company to identify and address the needs and demands of the global healthcare industry. This intentionality extends all the way through the hiring process, from entry level to mid-entry level opportunities. The legal department at Philips has worked hard to improve their support of international candidates, assisting with H-1 visas and green card processing for excellent candidates.
The majority of Case Western Reserve graduates hired by Philips are international students. Students from other countries have several challenges they must face, including a limited amount of time to prove themselves working in the United States. Because of this, Singh sees the international students doing whatever they can to perform well. Two such individuals immediately came to Singh’s mind.
Chang Liu joined Philips in an entry level supply chain role after graduating from the MSM-ORSC program in 2013. Liu shared so many good and new ideas for process improvements and project involvement within the first ten months of her hire that she was quickly promoted. She is now the CT Global Spare Parts Manager, responsible for managing an inventory worth several hundred million euros.
Jing Xie, another MSM-ORSC ’13 graduate, made it to the final round for a position at Philips, but the committee decided on another candidate from another school. That candidate backed out suddenly, citing his lack of confidence to fulfill the role. When Singh approached Xie to see if he was interested in the role, Xie told him how honored he was and how much he wanted to accept the position, but he had already taken a role as an intern in supply chain management at Philips. Xie wanted to fulfill his commitment to that position. It was that degree of integrity that kept him on Singh’s radar. Four months later, another opportunity opened, and Singh was quick to snatch up Xie for the position. Xie is considered an MVP at Philips, a very able candidate who, like all of the Weatherhead graduates they’ve hired, wants to keep growing.
Both Liu and Xie are promising candidates for future promotions within Philips.
Liu’s and Xie’s eagerness and collaborative approach to work set them apart from other candidates in the hiring process. Weatherhead graduates possess an intention to grow and a willingness to learn that trumps experience and education, said Singh.
Singh urges those who have been promoted to go find someone new to fill the position they just left, and to “do it with the people who are going to add value.” As the Case Western Reserve University alumni gather regularly on the Philips campus, Singh encourages them to connect with current students and other recent graduates from their programs. Staying engaged with the Weatherhead community will ensure that Philips continues to recruit some of the best students in the country, students who are capable of bringing new ideas to the table and getting the work done.
The MSM-Operations Research and Supply Chain Management program at Weatherhead School of Management prepares students with the skills necessary to make operations and supply chains run efficiently and effectively. Learn more about the MSM-OR/SC program.