Spotlight on new faculty — an interview with Kurt Masten

Interview by Madinah Muhammad

Fairleigh Dickinson University welcomes Kurt Masten, as a new assistant professor of supply chain management for the Department of Information System and Decision Sciences in Silberman College of Business. Masten holds a Ph.D. in decision sciences from Drexel University and teaches on the Florham Campus.

FDU:  What brings you to FDU?

KM:  I was attracted to FDU because I recognized that it was a collegial and friendly atmosphere that embraced group effort. It was also a considerable plus to know that Silberman College is AACSB Accredited.

FDU:  Tell us about your new position….

KM: I teach operations management for undergraduates and for graduates I help with the Master of Science in supply chain management (MS-SCM) degree program.

While teaching I like to use my experience from working as an industrial engineer and apply it in the classroom. For example, in my operations management class I leverage the tools I used as a Six Sigma Black Belt, which helps to emphasize what is actually used in the workplace.

FDU:  How did you become interested in this field?

KM:  I decided that I would pursue industrial engineering as a senior in high school. At that time I knew I wanted to be an engineer and I learned that industrial was the closest to management. After receiving my undergraduate degree in industrial engineering, I worked as an engineer for about ten years where I was exposed to all the components of a company including suppliers, customers, management, order entry and marketing. It easily became a natural progression when I went back for my doctorate, that I would pursue decision sciences.

FDU:  What is something you would like to contribute to FDU?

KM:  I would like to continue my contribution to the new Masters of Science in supply chain management degree program. This program is recognized as a STEM program by the Department of Homeland Security, which strengthens the optional practical training program for international students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Also, the program just produced its first graduates not too long ago. I was fortunate enough to teach and see the first graduating class of the MS-SCM program and I look forward to helping it develop into a larger program.

FDU:  What is one piece of advice you can give to new students in your class?

KM:  You are not expected to be the master of everything and to know everything. I notice that a lot of new students do not want to look weak in anything, so they try to be everything to everyone. It is okay to ask for help when you do not know how to do something; it is better to learn from the start, than to prove that you do not know something later down the line.


FDU:  What do you hope that your students will take away from your class?

KM: Hopefully they will learn that it is better to learn how to use a few tools well, than to barely know how to use a lot of tools. That may be hard to do in the courses I teach because we use a lot of tools, but there are a few of them that we consistently use because they are very helpful. I also hope that students learn the basic concepts that can be applied in any industry.