Maung K. Min’s road to Penn State Lehigh Valley has been impressive and varied. Min, worked at engineering firms, spent time as a consultant traveling the world and served as a corporate director for a Fortune 500 company.
Now, he is the director of business programs at Penn State Lehigh Valley, which includes the newly added project and supply chain management bachelor’s degree.
“Very simply, supply chain management deals with the flow of goods and services. If you are interested in understanding the management and planning of turning raw materials into final product and the coordinating that is involved in this process then project and supply chain is for you,” said Min. “What makes this program so attractive is it provides a broad educational foundation that can lead to further specialization in the future, such as in logistics or in procurement.”
Both Min’s academic record and his applied record in wide-ranging topics from sustainability to supply chain management give him a unique understanding of what students need to be successful both in the classroom and upon graduation.
“We are happy to have Dr. Min join Penn State Lehigh Valley. He is a well-rounded person who has a great depth of knowledge about business and about the world in general due to his tremendous international experience. He wants our students to gain a broader understanding of the global impact of their work,” said Kenneth Thigpen, director of academic affairs at Penn State Lehigh Valley.
After spending 10 years in chemical engineering at various engineering companies, Min earned his master of science in chemical engineering at Manhattan College. Later, he completed his master of business administration in international business from Baruch College.
After completing his master of business administration (MBA), Min became a consultant with Gemini Consulting, where he advised senior level executives on cost-cutting measures, post-merger realities and major culture change. The constant travel was taxing on his young family so when Min was offered an associate director position by one of his clients, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), he accepted.
“BMS was technically ‘big pharma’, but it didn’t feel that way; culturally it felt like a smaller organization with intimate team work and collaboration. It was large enough to provide me with a variety of experience,” said Min. “Over 15 years, I held four different functional roles, but worked on or led dozens of corporate initiatives.”
Min was given the opportunity to work on a project in Italy and he jumped at this unique opportunity. And this time, his family came with him.
“I worked in Latina, Italy, which is less than an hour south of Rome, for seven months. It was important for me to immerse myself in the Italian culture. My 4-year-old son became almost fluent in Italian. And my family and I traveled extensively when we were there,” said Min. “It was an amazing experience. And to this day, we keep in touch with some colleagues I met there.”
Soon after, a position opened up at BMS in the Corporate Quality, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department. Due to Min’s environmental and quality systems experience from his chemical engineering and consulting days, it was a perfect fit. For four years, he worked to improve employee safety and operations excellence, and developed corporate policies and directives.
BMS was considered a leader in corporate sustainability, which aims to create long-term consumer and employee value by taking into consideration the natural environment, society and the multiple dimensions of how a business operates. When Min got the job of director of BMS’s corporate sustainability program, he focused on BMS’s three pillars of economy, social and environment, or as they referred to it internally: profit, planet and people. Through his work leading the company’s corporate sustainability program, Min became passionate about the subject.
In 2009, while still working at BMS, Min earned a doctorate of business administration from Grenoble Ecole de Management in France.
“I feel like I benefitted from being in the industry for a while before getting my doctorate because I came into the program with ideas for my dissertation. My topic was ‘Does Sustainability Add Value to Pharmaceutical Companies?’” said Min.
By remaining disciplined, he was able to finish the doctoral program in just four and a half years.
After 15 years at BMS, Min was ready for his next adventure. In 2014, he became an adjunct associate professor at Baruch College in New York teaching sustainable business at the MBA level. Min felt this was a good fit for him because of having a genuine interest in students and a deep passion for his field.
“What drew me to Penn State Lehigh Valley was the chance to be a part of Penn State University,” said Min. “The growth opportunities in the Lehigh Valley and at this campus are tremendous and that’s also exciting.”
He is currently developing a new course with Karen Kackley Dutt, instructor in biology, and Ana Serrano, instructor in Spanish, called Sustainability 200. The course, to be offered in spring 2017, will have a holistic focus on sustainable business.
While Min admits to not knowing what he wanted to do at first, he certainly seized every opportunity and took risks. In turn, he built a remarkable career and is now is guiding students to follow in his footsteps.