When Hannah Breier, a Naperville, Ill., native, was looking for colleges, she had the interests of her future career in mind: pursuing materials engineering. Though far away from home, the University of Alabama at Birmingham checked all the boxes of a place Breier saw herself spending four formative college years.
Once at UAB, Breier honed her interests and, with support from advisers, came across the Collat School of Business industrial distribution major. Instantly, Breier knew that degree track was a perfect fit to help her succeed in the career field she dreamed about.
“For me, being able to see a lot of different sides of the supply chain, understand distribution from a holistic standpoint, and learn how to look at management and learn things about running a profit center were tremendously attractive to me,” Breier said. “The program itself has a wide variety of knowledge taught for business and, specifically, supply chain management; but the forecasting and creative solutions we were taught are applicable for how we can solve everyday business problems efficiently.”
Students like Breier who enroll in the Charles and Patsy Collat Industrial Distribution Program are offered a rare Bachelor of Science degree in industrial distribution that puts them at the center of one of the fastest-growing fields in business. Industrial distribution professionals manage the flow of materials from manufacturers to distributors, to customers, which means they play a key role in propelling the economy forward by supplying the building blocks for the products America creates and the world buys. Industrial distributors supply government, industry and manufacturers with products necessary for business and health care operations.
At UAB, the industrial distribution major prepares graduates for careers with manufacturers or distributors in technical industries for sales engineering, logistics, marketing, inventory and purchasing positions, as well as branch management.
As a degree in industrial distribution is more in demand than ever — particularly on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic and international supply chain disruptions — Breier was poised perfectly for a postgraduate career in supply chain management after graduating from UAB in spring 2022.
Interview opportunities afforded to her through the Collat School of Business and her determination in the application process led to Breier’s being offered more than five job opportunities in the field.
In May 2022, Breier starts her career at Fresenius Kabi in Chicago, Ill., as an associate supply chain engineer — the only person in her department with the title. Breier credits UAB for the support and educational opportunities that propelled her to meet her professional goals.
“There were so many strong, motivated people around me while I was at UAB, and the professionalism and resources I had access to are something I will always talk about with others,” Breier shared. “Whether it was career help from professors or getting real experience in the world of industrial distribution, the experience I got as a Blazer will stay with me forever.”