Author: Nils van de Winkel
Nils van de Winkel is one of those rare breeds – the type of guy who did not simply ‘fall into procurement’.
Far from it - Nils was drawn to the profession while working as an intern with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok during the aftermath of the 2011 monsoon floods. During this time, Nils observed how companies with supply chain risk management processes were far more successfully able to mitigate disruption.
Currently embarking on a thesis as part of his Masters Studies, Nils’ research will focus on how purchasing professionals contribute to risk assessments, creation of contingency plans, and risk management.
One of those graduates that CPOs and Supply Chain Directors quite literally cross their fingers and hope to find, Nils gives us an insight into how procurement is perceived by Masters’ students, the challenges of balancing work with study; and advice for other young graduates on the procurement job hunt:
As a student, do you think enough is being done to promote procurement as a profession?
I have seen very little promotion for procurement as a career choice. Looking at my bachelor program today I see that supply chain management has received somewhat more attention. However, general business studies still tend to be more geared towards specific finance, marketing, and human resources functions.
Then again, there are a reasonable amount of programs specifically focusing on supply chain management where I presume that the profession of procurement receives ample focus.
Procurious: Let’s turn this on its head… If you were the tutor would you make any particular recommendations to your students?
In order to gain most from your studies it is important to relate theory to practice. As it is difficult to have a qualified job alongside full-time studies it can help to have discussions with practitioners as well as stay up to date with industry progress through company reports and other sorts of content.
One of these different content formats has been the valuable rise of online learning. There are great online classes such as Procurious’ Learning page that discusses a wide variety of topics, which can help in courses and general skill development.
So far I’ve already seen two master students that are using Procurious to gain insights from professionals. I hope to be able to reach out to people in time to come as well in order to gain a more thorough understanding of their approaches to risk management.
How do you envisage securing your first job in procurement?
My goal is to gain hands-on experience and an understanding of how internal processes are created to assist in supply chain risk management. Through professionals I hope to come in contact with companies that place an emphasis on its procurement department.
What’s your advice for younger students who show an interest in procurement and supply chain management?
Go out and talk to people. So far I have noticed that professionals in the field of procurement are very open and willing to share their experiences over a cup of coffee. Even through platforms such as Procurious it is easy to connect and have conversations with professionals from all over the world in order to get a deeper understanding of the specific activities in procurement
This interview with Nils van de Winkel appears here in an edited format – it originally appeared in the Procurious blog and has been reproduced here in an edited form with permission from Procurious. You can read the full version here: https://www.procurious.com/blog/generation-procurement/an-education-in-supply-chain-management