Business Students Observe Amazon’s Inner Workings During Facility Tour

Oct 28, 2019

by FSC Staff

Florida Southern alumnus and Amazon's Senior Manager of Operations Joseph Burton ’13 recently extended the walls of the classroom by leading a tour group of students and faculty from the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise through the company’s Orlando Robotics Fulfillment Facility, providing up-close views of many facets of its inner workings.

Burton, who graduated from the Barnett School with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, began working for Amazon in June 2014 as an area manager in Lakeland, becoming an operations manager in a Jacksonville facility two years later, and transferring to Orlando in August 2018.

“He was a fantastic tour guide, showing us what happens behind-the-scenes to fulfill an Amazon customer’s order,” said Dr. Jennifer Dapko, assistant professor of marketing in the Barnett School. “It was also nice seeing a former student doing so well!”

Many of the current students who took part in the Oct. 23 tour were from Dr. Dapko’s business analytics course, a new addition to the curriculum requirements for FSC’s business administration degree. The new business analytics course helps students understand how they can collect and use data to improve important business metrics, and gives them the tools to do so. The class serves as an example of the Barnett School’s drive to meet the needs of employers seeking relevant business skills from college graduates.

Several student organizations also sent representatives, including the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, the Accounting Student Association, and the Dean’s Advisory Council.

During the tour, students saw how Amazon handles inbound product from vendors and outbound shipments to customers. They observed a live case study of the company’s data collection processes, as well as how that data is used within the business to fulfill orders on time and ensure customer satisfaction.

"I found this tour enlightening! It was a wonderful opportunity to learn how analytics are used and interpreted in the workplace."

— Snow Malave, business analytics student

"I loved being able to apply the concepts I've learned in class to such a large, well-known company. Being able to witness everything firsthand was such a great experience."

— Sabrina Saco, business analytics student

Mike Tracy, executive-in-residence at the Barnett School, participated in the tour and was its primary organizer. He was joined by Dr. Dapko and by Dr. Krista Lewellyn, assistant professor of management and M.B.A. program director, and Celina Jozsi, instructor of accounting.

“It’s a rewarding experience to see our Business Mocs flourishing in their careers,” Tracy said. “Joe Burton is making a tremendous impact at Amazon, and he’s giving back to current students by showing them the possibilities inside one of the world’s leading brands.”

Joszi also praised the experience, saying that Burton’s tour “extended the walls of the classroom” by demonstrating and prompting discussions of business-related topics such as decision-making, process improvements, supply chain logistics, and performance metrics and analytics. “What a truly wonderful experience,” she added, “for students to see the relevance of classroom content across multiple classes.”

“The recent trip to Amazon’s facilities in Orlando by a group of Barnett School students and faculty was yet another example of our students benefiting from experiential learning,” said Dr. James W. Fenton, Jr., professor of management and dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. “It was also an example of the positive effects of networking with our alumni, who help manage and operate those particular, cutting-edge Amazon logistics and supply chain facilities. Overall, it was a win-win for all involved with this corporate visit.”

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