Logistics & College
April 24, 2006 11:11 PM   Subscribe

How can I best get experience in logistics in a college setting?

I've been told that I'd be pretty good in logistics. I have strong skills in data management, I'm very productive, I do things quickly, and I'm highly resourceful.

I don't actually have any logistical experience though - maybe organizing a treasure hunt or two in high school, coordinating bus rides, and that's about it. I'm re-entering college soon and would like to use this time to gain experience, so what's the best way to gain logistical experience (especially related to people and events) in a college setting?

So far I can only think of organizing events, but what else can I dive in to?
posted by divabat to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go get a job at a local FedEx/UPS shipping center? Seriously -- probably the best logistics experience available on a part-time basis.

Does your college have traveling athletics teams (e.g. a football team)? They'll have team assistants to move team personnel and gear.

Does your college have a campus newspaper? What kinds of circulation model do they use? They'll need coordination between the newsroom, the printing houses and the end destinations.

Does your college have an events group -- on-campus concerts, guest speakers and the like? That's event coordination right there.

Try to think of the problem not in terms of "logistics experience," so much as "what jobs are available that require a mind for logistics, and do those jobs interest me?"
posted by frogan at 11:49 PM on April 24, 2006

Go talk to the athletics director at your school. I ran track and cross country at my university, and then proceeded to help organise track meets during the summer. It's thankless work, but great experience if you want it. Most of the time events such as meets, tournaments etc. are looking for bodies to help out.

Start with a small task for an event, do it well, get known by a few coaches etc. and tell them you want to do more. I went from driving athletes to and from the airport the first year to managing the entire meet budget the next. Organised, efficient and effective people who are willing to work for little more than experience are gold. It won't be hard to find things to do.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:51 AM on April 25, 2006

See if your school does summer programs, or plans visits for prospective students or something. I helped run (and subsequently ran) a summer camp for Comp Sci interested high school students at my University. The ins and outs getting everything ready for two weeks of instruction, room and board, and entertainment for 100 high school students was an eye opener for me. Not to mention keeping an eye on them all once they arrived.
posted by weston at 1:46 AM on April 25, 2006

Building on the good suggestions so far, a more abstract approach would be to pursue your interests with a mind to involving yourself in group activates. Either by finding an existing club/organization and volunteering to help out, or by starting a club for something you are interested in (e.g. film screenings/chess/origami/whatever). A more specific suggestion would be to join the student body organization, which will almost always need things doing.

Alternatively, great pranks are often all about logistics.
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:52 AM on April 25, 2006

Frogan's suggestion of "Does your college have an events group -- on-campus concerts, guest speakers and the like? That's event coordination right there." is exactly what I would say.

I am about to graduate from a school where I spent close to 30 hours a week doing just that - on-campus speakers, lecturers, comedians, etc. - with a committee of dedicated students. Our staff advisor also helped a lot, too. Basically, you want something where you can work a lot with people, coordinating the various group dynamics, scheduling conflicts, facilities reservations, contract negotiations, setup/teardowns, etc. that prove you are excellent at being productive in stressful situations. That's what I define "logistics" as, anyway.
posted by yellowbkpk at 6:17 AM on April 25, 2006

I am not sure what the American equivalent is...but you may like to look into obtaining a CITT (Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation; http://www.citt.ca/about/index.html) or a P.MM (Professional Materials Manager) accreditation.

…In the US, perhaps a CPM is the way to go (CPP for us Canadians, I believe) (http://www.ism.ws/Certification/index.cfm).

Work towards these accreditations can all begin at the college or university level.

These all involve supply management, in which logistics is fundamental.

Hope this helps
posted by strangelove at 1:17 PM on April 25, 2006

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