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Alumni

Poole Graduation Spotlight: Nikki Hensley

With a passion for sustainability and the environment, Nikki Hensley wanted to pursue a more technical education than what she might find in traditional environmental science programs. “My passion is to help corporations and businesses improve sustainable product offerings,” Hensley says. “I want to help them improve their immense impact by starting from the beginning of the entire supply chain.”

Hensley found that the Jenkins MBA program at Poole College of Management provided the proper preparation she desired for her career path. “NC State has been the perfect choice for me in every way,” Hensley says. “It has so many different offerings, plus a vast network that can help get me anywhere I hope to go.”

With a concentration in supply chain management, Jenkins MBA has allowed Hensley to develop her skills and build upon the foundation she laid as an undergraduate. “My bachelor’s degree in sustainable materials and technology allowed me to really grasp the manufacturing process. Jenkins built upon that,” Hensley says. “Learning more about supply chains and business has given me the acumen to develop strategies that can be useful to companies. With this depth of knowledge, I feel confident that I can make the large impact that I’ve always hoped to.”

But throughout her studies, Hensley has already made an impact. She’s had various opportunities to apply what she is learning outside the classroom. “I had the opportunity to work on projects I really cared about as an order-to-delivery intern for Caterpillar,” Hensley says. “In just three months, I was able to produce several tools that will save many tons of CO2 and save millions of dollars. I was able to see my goals come to life in a corporation.”

Hensley has also served as an associate for the college’s Business Sustainability Collaborative, the president of the graduate chapter of Net Impact Club and vice president of the Supply Chain Club. 

“These have been great opportunities to give back to other students,” Hensley says. “As a business sustainability associate, I worked on several projects under the amazing direction of Jessica Thomas. Most notably, I was the student leader of the B Corp Clinic which connects students to aspiring B Corporations to help them improve their environmental and social impact. I worked with many companies and students who trusted me to lead them through the process.

And Hensley’s time at NC State isn’t over yet. After graduating with her MBA in May, she will pursue her Ph.D. with a focus on sustainability and data analytics for the biobased economy. Specifically, she will analyze what consumers seek in sustainable products. “I’m looking forward to using the skills I’ve learned in my research during my time at Jenkins to help companies in the paper industry produce sustainable products that meet consumer needs.”

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