Combines Co-op and Carbon Challenge at The Coca-Cola Company
Scheller College undergraduate student Aiman Shahab is navigating her first semester as a co-op supporting global sourcing and supply chain optimization for The Coca-Cola Company. Aiman's department, Supplier Services, has historically had Georgia Tech Industrial Engineer (IE) co-ops, but Aiman recognizes the value of bringing a background in Business to an IE-centric role. Above all, Aiman recognizes that this co-op offers the opportunity to practice exactly what Scheller College teaches in the classroom: how to lead strategically by harnessing the power of data and technology.
On a daily basis, Aiman's work at The Coca-Cola Company looks different than her Scheller College class work: she relies on tools such as SQL and Tableau to process and analyze massive data sets, and her position requires a deep understanding of the overlap between Company processes and data management systems. Complexities aside, Aiman describes her function as simply "to transform raw data and extract the meaningful information needed to create and enact a strategy."
Aiman's current projects focus on supplier diversity, a program designed to diversify the Company's vendors, and contract compliance, a data-driven approach to supplier relationship management. She references contract terms to identify trends and discrepancies that point towards opportunities; she then partners with leadership to develop negotiation strategies. Regarding data's ability to build compelling stories, Aiman says, "The heavier the detail, the better. People have a hard time disputing numbers."
"We continue to tap into the talent at Georgia Tech and the Scheller College of Business," says Tomas Ambrosetti (IE 1991), Global Director Procurement Enablement and Strategy. "Co-op students, like Aiman, are well-prepared and put their classroom learnings to good use tackling real-world business issues. The students' ability to analyze data and provide key business learnings and insights are critical to their future success."
In just three months on the job, Aiman has uncovered high-value opportunities for the Company; however, she had her doubts when she began this co-op: "I was apprehensive to accept a position geared towards IE because my natural inclination is to focus on the big picture strategy over the technical details. I quickly learned that data is integral to creating and executing any strategy and my interest and understanding of analytics has skyrocketed. I love that I am able to combine two fields - business and industrial engineering- in my work."
Aiman has also found another way to apply her newfound passion for combining data and strategy: participating in Scheller's Carbon Reduction Challenge (CRC), an initiative Dr. Kim Cobb designed for co-ops and interns to self-research opportunities to reduce carbon emissions at their company while reducing costs. She recommends the CRC to any students looking to positively impact their workplace. "This challenge is an incredible way for students to engage with their companies beyond the job description on paper," notes Aiman. "I've connected with great people at both The Coca-Cola Company and Georgia Tech, formed a passion for sustainability, and grew increased my appreciation for The Coca-Cola Company as a company committed to minimizing its impact on the environment."
As a result of her independent data-driven research, Aiman pinpointed three goals: promote widespread understanding of onsite recycling containers, minimize consumption of non-renewable resources, and reduce office energy usage. "Small efforts can make a significant impact," Aiman says, noting that "educating employees, choosing fountain drinks over plastic bottles, and removing unused drink coolers are minute details that drive savings up and carbon footprint down."