Former Executive Director of the EMBA Program
Professor of Professional Practice
in Supply Chain Management
Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University
Throughout her career, Dr. Nancy Nix has continually crossed barriers into new territories – as both a supply chain practitioner (with the DuPont Company and Reliance Industries) and educator in the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, Texas. Nancy’s research on collaboration’s impact on the bottom line was published in The Wall Street Journal and other leading journals. She served on the Board of Directors of CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) for eight years and as chair in 2011-12.
Complete bio follows the Q&A
Q. Your undergraduate degree was in chemistry – how did you choose that? And since science was a rather unusual choice for young women, did you receive any particular encouragement or discouragement?
A. First, I loved math and science. I enjoyed the challenge and loved solving problems. Still today, I love puzzles and games – figuring out how things work and how they fit together – and it turns out these are important assets in the field of supply chain management. When I took high school chemistry, I was fascinated to understand how the tiniest of building blocks and the way they interacted with one another could explain so much about the complex systems around us today.
Q. When and how did you move from chemistry to supply chain management?
A. I went to work for DuPont as a co-op student from the University of Tennessee. I quit school, got married, had babies, and went back to college at the age of 27 with a 5 year old and a 2 year old. There I majored in chemistry (they had no engineering school, but turns out chemistry is what I really loved). When I graduated, I went back to work for DuPont in nylon manufacturing. From there, I moved to quality assurance and technical support roles, then to contracted distribution, customer service – logistics and customer facing roles. I then moved to a procurement role – managing our contracted distribution center network for all DuPont businesses. So I had a unique opportunity early on to see many of the building blocks of managing the supply chain. With each move, I learned a lot that I wished I had known in my previous roles… How much more effective our young supply chain talent can be if they have that big picture perspective when they begin their careers.
Q. What was behind your decision to enter the educational aspect of the profession?
A. I love to learn and have had the unique opportunity to learn from many different roles, including my experience working for Reliance Industries in India. Suddenly the world was both bigger (how much I didn’t understand became apparent) and smaller (I began to understand how interconnected the world is and how, though there are many differences critical to being effective in global roles, there are also many commonalities). I have gone back to school late in life three times. As a 27 year old mother of two I returned to complete my undergraduate degree. While I was still working for DuPont, I went back to complete my MBA in the Executive MBA program at Temple. This gave me a broader business perspective and helped fill gaps from my science background and business experience. Then, when I returned from India, I went to the University of Tennessee to complete my doctorate (at age 52). I was a committed life-long learner! I remember interviewing with Dr. Tom Mentzer – my dissertation, advisor, and friend who passed away several years ago – and said to him, if I do this, I will be over 50 by the time I graduate. His response was “If you don’t do this, you will still be over 50.” Good point.
Nancy is a 2014 AWESOME Advisor. To read more more about Nancy Nix, click here.