Supply chain and analytics alum lands job at Forsyth Advisors through UMSL connections

Jeff Russ

Jeff Russ, BSBA 2017, was known in the Department of Supply Chain and Analytics as a capable student with an impressive resume. This reputation placed him on the radar of Assistant Teaching Professor Mitch Millstein and eventually Forsyth Advisors. (Photo by Sara Bell)

When Jeff Russ first enrolled at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, he had little intention of being involved in campus activities.

As a working professional, he simply wanted to take night and online classes, complete a bachelor’s degree quickly and land a competitive job in his field of choice.

The now supply chain and analytics alumnus did achieve those original goals, but his educational path took a few unexpected turns, particularly in terms of time spent with faculty and fellow students.

Russ, a former salesman and quality control technician, is hardly upset about the extra face time. Those connections are what helped him land a new career at Forsyth Advisors, a St. Louis-based consulting firm that focuses on sourcing and supply chain improvements.

“The professors that I had at UMSL are just so engaging and actually follow through on things,” Russ said. “They check up on students and make sure that you’re ready to go once you graduate. The amount of attention I received really blew me away.”

Part of that attentiveness came in the form of career connections from Assistant Teaching Professor Mitch Millstein, who recommended Russ for an opening at Forsyth, a position Russ says he would not have discovered on his own.

Although Millstein never taught Russ, he says the former student was known in the department for his work ethic and previous professional experience. This reputation earned Russ a spot in the Supply Chain and Analytics Advisory Board’s executive mentoring program, which aims to offer students a glimpse into the professional world.

“We started the executive mentoring protégé program as a perk to help our higher-performing students,” Millstein said. “We want them to get a head start in their supply chain careers. The thought is if they are the best students that we have here, let’s pair them with people who are already executives and give them a peek into that window.”

It was through the mentoring program that Millstein connected with Russ and learned of his career aspirations. So when Millstein spoke with a business contact at Forsyth and learned of the company’s interest in recruiting UMSL students, Millstein knew he had a solid recommendation in Russ.

“Jeff could have gotten a job anywhere because he’s experienced, comes across well and had a very high GPA,” Millstein said. “He said he wanted to work for a smaller company, so I referred him to Forsyth, and now he’s there. We hope Jeff will be the first among many of our students that end up at Forsyth.”

A few months into an associate role, Russ is eagerly learning all aspects of the company with hopes of running his own projects by his one-year mark. He believes the skills he developed in UMSL’s College of Business Administration will help him get there.

“Learning how to find the answers that you need is something that a lot of classes really focus on,” said Russ, who received the departmental Boyer-Millstein Scholarship while at UMSL. “A good portion of my day is spent working on things that I have not previously encountered. There are new challenges all the time, and knowing where to start and getting to the bottom of a problem on your own is a really good skill to have.”

While he’s now focused on his professional growth at Forsyth, Russ still can’t seem to shake his UMSL connections. He recently attended a preliminary meeting about founding a Supply Chain and Analytics Young Alumni Board.

Other alumni interested in learning more about the board and its activities can email Sarah Rizzo, BSBA 2016, at sarahkrizzo@gmail.com or faculty adviser Jill Bernard Bracy, PhD 2015, at bernardji@umsl.edu.

The UMSL Experience

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