What are College Seniors Looking for as They Enter the Distribution Field? - Modern Distribution Management

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What are College Seniors Looking for as They Enter the Distribution Field?

A group of soon-to-be graduates from Texas A&Ms Industrial Distribution program opened up to attendees at PTDAs recent conference.
backside graduation hats during commencement success graduates o

Finding the best ways to bring young talent into a distributor’s workforce is often a top concern when MDM surveys our audience about leading workplace issues. At PTDA’s recent Industry Summit in Austin, Texas, attendees had the chance to do their own survey with a panel of seniors from Texas A&M’s Industrial Distribution program. 

The standing-room-only event, Build Your Workforce with Younger Employees, gave both the students and the seasoned distributors in attendance the opportunity to dispel some common myths about youth and working in the distribution sector.


Here are some of the key responses that came from the interactive Q&A session: 

Why join the industry?

  • Creative, sales, relationship-driven
  • Passion for the technology side; connecting with people on sales
  • People, engagement and connection with the industry before graduating
  • Dad is in the field, won’t be locked behind a desk
  • Engineering; relationships with good people

What are the most important benefits you’re looking for from your future employer? 

  • Paid vacation time
  • Access to post-grad, in-house education
  • A training program with the ability to improve public speaking

Is the size of the organization important to you?

  • Would like structured training no matter the size
  • Want to know there’s room for growth
  • Is the company willing to invest in me?

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

  • Want to be with the same company 
  • Want to be happy, provide for family
  • Want to make an impact, get new responsibilities, learn every day and learn new things

How interested are you in leaving Texas?

  • Gung-ho if there’s an opportunity there
  • Want to see outside the state — but be back by age 30
  • Like meeting new people, new experiences, very mobile right now
  • Happy to go next door to Louisiana or Oklahoma
  • It’s about the opportunity for me, but I want a chance to move back

What do you want to avoid in your work experience?

  • Projects that don’t contribute to the company’s end goal
  • Just filling time up
  • Would like a project that made a real impact, be challenged to level of ability

What do you mean by wanting a job that makes an impact?

  • Generating success for the business
  • Have a demonstrable deliverable such as saving the company money, coding a system used by the company
  • Being recognized when you’ve given a talk and do well
  • Directly contributing to someone else being able to do their job

Does upper mobility equal money?

  • It’s important to act as an owner and see where you want to go with it.
  • My goal is to be a leader in whatever company I’m at
  • Nobody wants to plateau

Overall, the panelists were looking for companies with a culture of excellence. “I want to be with a company that wants to be ahead of everyone else,” said one student. 

All having served in distribution internships, several acknowledged the distribution industry can be slow to adapt new technologies and are looking to work for a leader in that area. “I want a company that is up with the times, has technology systems already in place and [will be] onto the next big thing,” said one student.

A good sign, they all agreed, is a company that has many tenured employees. 

Have your own emerging leaders already working for your company? Share their successes with MDM through our new Future Leader Awards. Nominations are open now

To nominate one of your associates or colleagues for recognition as an MDM Future Leader, fill out this online form. Candidates for the MDM Future Leaders Award must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be under the age of 40 at the time of nomination. 
  • Be actively employed on the team of a distribution company (may be global, no geographic restrictions). 
  • Exhibit the character and drive of a future leader in the distribution industry, which includes a diverse set of skills, interests and capabilities. 
  • Be willing to participate in MDM interviews and video blogs to share their stories, accomplishments and specific areas of passion for the wholesale distribution industry. 
  • Before or upon selection, obtain the approval of management to participate in this award program. 

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