Business students develop training for University, suppliers

Business students develop training for University, suppliers

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez

Business students develop training for University, suppliers

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez
As part of the University of Miami’s effort to enact procurement policies that support diversity, leaders from purchasing and supply chain management partnered with students in the Miami Herbert Business School to develop training and tools.

As part of President Julio Frenk’s 15-point plan in pursuit of racial justice, Brandon Gilliland, vice president and chief financial officer, and the supplier diversity team have been steadfast in their efforts to increase spending with minority-owned businesses. While their focus has been the rapid advancement of tools and training to ensure that the University community has the opportunity to work with diverse vendors—including minority-, black-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses—their most recent venture led them to enlist the help of Patti and Allan Herbert Business School students. 

With the introduction of enhanced recruiting and outreach, new purchasing platforms—such as Amazon Business—and the expansion of partnerships with local organizations, students from a management development class designed training modules to ensure that University employees and potential suppliers can navigate the purchasing process and make a direct impact and diversify spending. 

“Our partnership with Miami Herbert Business School students delivered an incredible amount of value that complements the work our team has been doing to grow our spending with minority suppliers supporting economic inclusion,” said Gilliland. “The training and tools developed will allow those with purchasing power to better understand their direct impact on the University’s pursuit of racial justice and the community.”

Under the direction of Karen Harris, lecturer in the Management Department at the Miami Herbert Business School, and Human Resources’ Talent and Organizational Development team, students rose to the challenge and hosted virtual presentations where two teams shared training modules and interactive activities that could be implemented during information sessions for new suppliers and faculty and staff members. Their work emphasized the importance of explaining how each purchase or purchaser can make a direct difference for minority suppliers. 

“The curriculum of the class is centered on helping students to develop the knowledge and understanding of basic business concepts; establishing the connection between these business concepts; and learning, analyzing, defining, and designing training needs,” explained Harris. “A large part of completing these tasks effectively is to also understand the impact of diversity. The University's diversity policy makes this clear for our students as they consider establishing careers in a field where these concepts are critical.”

In the training scenarios, students asked attendees to share the importance of diversity and encouraged them to engage through interactive polls and activities. Each presentation also included details on the various levels of internal support available to those who may be new to the system or have questions about the best ways to work with diverse suppliers. 

“I wanted students to have a real project with true impact and the ability to have contact with a valid client, as opposed to a simulated case or fictitious scenario,” shared Harris. “Projects that connect students to the work of the University enable them to see their own impact on the institution. The pride in knowing that their University functions a certain way because of materials they've produced also creates a level of commitment and shows students that they are valued.”

Gilliland went on to explain that the partnership between the administration and students was mutually beneficial and that the work has provided a strong direction for his team.

“We will be implementing ideas and concepts from both presentations into the formal training that will be available to the University and diverse supplier community. I am certain that the students’ work will make a lasting impact and we are grateful for their support and contribution,” said Gilliland. 

Learn more about how the University of Miami’s Business Development Program supports diverse suppliers and vendors from the Miami community and beyond.

A special thank you to all of the students who contributed to the supplier diversity training modules: Ryan Appleby, Benjamin Brown, Savannah Harper, Angela Hasbun, Aaron Janfaza, Marco Maola, Ettihan Menendez, Giancarlo Ramirez, Andrew Skolnick, and Estefani Adriana Zambrano Estaba.