After attending an event through the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, alumna Aimee Ludwig discovered her passion for Supply Chain Management.
During her undergraduate years, Ludwig took advantage of MSU’s social and professional environments, attending sporting events and working on campus for MSU Printing Services. Upon graduation in May 2001, Ludwig started what would become a 20-year journey with PepsiCo and its various departments.
To reach this opportunity, Ludwig attended MSU career fairs and made it through the first round of interviews with PepsiCo. The quick process took place during the spring of her senior year. The following June, she began work in Pepsi Bottling Group’s Detroit plant. As a member of the Campus Hire rotational program, she had the opportunity to learn about the different functions of the plant including warehousing, quality control, transportation, and production. She was eventually assigned to work as a raw materials coordinator and then advancing into operations positions throughout her six-year tenure at the Detroit plant.
Eventually, Ludwig was offered a position as a contract operations and innovation manager with the company in New York. During her five-year stay, she worked in planning and management roles, interacting with senior leaders and flourishing in the corporate environment. Eager to return to the Midwest, Ludwig accepted a position with PepsiCo based in Chicago. She is still located there, now under the Quaker team as the senior director of Quaker planning.
Though each role with PepsiCo has allowed Ludwig to learn more about supply chain and her passions, she said “coming in and learning the operations” in Detroit provided her with beneficial learning and leadership experiences. Ludwig now manages a large team to support Quaker, but “learning the front line” was necessary to support her successes with the company.
Ludwig credits her time at MSU with helping her get her foot in the door at PepsiCo, as well as providing her with an education that laid the basic foundation for her knowledge in supply chain and operations. Ludwig “learn[ed] how to navigate relationships and work with people” during her undergraduate years, an essential skill she now uses professionally.
The relationship-building skills she fostered at MSU helped her create connections with mentors, both superiors and peers and her career has taught her about nurturing those connections. “It’s hard” she states, but “finding a common ground outside of business” allowed her to make and maintain professional and personal relationships.
Ludwig credits the supportive environment of PepsiCo with keeping these connections, even when relocating with the company. To foster these relationships, she suggests reaching out to people, getting advice, and simply catching up with them and their professional progress.
Ludwig’s advice to MSU undergraduates and alumni is “don’t lose the sense of pride that comes with being a Spartan.” Taking advantage of alumni groups and networks fosters a sense of belonging and community. Connecting with other Spartans, even those she did not know on-campus, has expanded her professional network and keeps her in touch with her passion for MSU and the state of Michigan.