By: Amy Timmes
What do carpentry and supply chain management have in common? Answer: Jennifer Mazur (MBA/18)—who connects the dots in her career as a former Broadway carpenter to current Stillman graduate student, now committed to becoming a Supply Chain Management professional.
Journey to Broadway
“I’m a handy person,” states Mazur, who stage-managed plays and built scenery during high school. “I helped my dad renovate our house several times, and it didn’t hurt that the kids in the high school drama club were nice to me,” she reflects, laughing about how she became involved in the world of theater. Mazur majored in technical theater as an undergraduate at Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012.
The day after graduation, she packed a U-Haul and moved to Jersey City, NJ. “I knew exactly what I wanted, and I set out to get it.” Shortly thereafter, Mazur began working as a carpenter for Broadway shows in New York City, and even stage-managed an off-off-off Broadway show in 2013 called Bus Stop.
Mazur simultaneously launched her own business called Fantastical Fancies, in which she designed and crafted original sci-fi and fantasy jewelry, selling her wares mostly online and at conventions. She enjoyed traveling and the business aspect of her enterprise, and realized that it was time to “shop for schools” to pursue her business graduate degree.
Graduate School Decision
“Since I live in Jersey City,” Mazur explains, “the decision was between two well-respected New Jersey business schools—Stillman School of Business and Rutgers Business School.” She attended a Stillman info session in the winter of 2015, where she discovered “the Stillman staff were very eager to discuss how my unusual work history could lead to a business career, and helped me create a plan that would help me achieve my goals.”
“Stillman,” she recounts, “was the best fit for someone like me with a non-traditional business background.” Additionally, the flexibility of classes and recognition of her business acumen from a real-world experience appealed to her.
Dr. Steven Lorenzet, Associate Dean of Academics at Stillman, recalls his advisory meeting with Mazur. “Jennifer’s background is somewhat different than many of our students. She is an adjunct professor, a small business owner, and she has also been a government employee [for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey],” he says. “Jennifer is a problem solver, always taking an analytical approach. Supply Chain Management seemed like a natural fit with her analytical nature and intellect.”
Mazur agrees and wholeheartedly embraced Lorenzet’s suggestion. “I like numbers and data and enjoy using them to solve problems,” a skill that she applies in her current job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as an Asset Management Intern in the Office of the Chief Operating Officer.
Focusing on numbers and data has served her well. Stillman professors, Dr. Renu Ramnarayanan and Dr. Penina Orenstein (both in the Department of Computing and Decision Sciences), took note of Mazur’s work ethic and nominated her for an industry scholarship offered in December 2017 by the Containerization and Intermodal Institute (CII), called “The Connie Awards.”
The CII is a nonprofit professional trade organization dedicated to promoting and supporting international trade and the intermodal container transportation community. In addition to securing scholarships from member companies for up-and-coming new talent, CII provides networking opportunities, educational conferences, and career guidance.
“CII was founded in 1960 and the scholarship program initiated in 1992,” explains Barbara Yeninas, Executive Director of the organization. “To date scholarships totaling some $800,000 have been awarded, and Jennifer joins a stellar group representing the future of the world trade and transportation industry.”
According to Ramnarayanan, Mazur’s energy and accomplishments are indeed stellar. “Jennifer is full of initiative and smart as a whip.” One of the initiatives involves Mazur’s decision to attend APICS Association for Operations Management and Supply Chain chapter meetings before she even took a class from Ramnarayanan. “I find her enthusiasm contagious,” the supply chain instructor says. “I’m looking forward to working with Jennifer this spring on a directed research project in the logistics area.”
Business and busyness go hand-in-hand for Mazur, who juggles a jam-packed schedule. “I’m a doer,” she explains. “I can’t sit still.” Since 2013—and throughout her graduate program—she has served as an adjunct instructor of technical theatre in the Entertainment Technology Department in New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) in Brooklyn. Furthermore, Fantastical Fancies continues to thrive as she fills orders whenever possible.
In Mazur’s limited spare time, she keeps busy with hobbies such as woodworking and baking, but her focus remains steadfast on her new goal. “While theater and Fantastical Fancies have been wonderful experiences, my goal is to find employment with an existing company as a supply chain analyst.” As she puts it, “I’m ready to let someone else be the boss.”
More Dots on the Horizon
Mazur’s next career as a supply chain professional working for a new boss is rapidly approaching when she graduates with her M.B.A. in May 2018. Lorenzet predicts, “Jennifer has a very bright future ahead of her and will make great contributions to the supply chain profession.” No one at Stillman doubts Mazur’s ability to continue to add more interesting stepping-stones to her career, and ultimately she will handily connect the dots on her substantial resume.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 30th print edition.