University of Tennessee

Alumni Spotlight: Robert Woolsey

February 8, 2016

After a successful internship at Home Depot, Robert Woolsey (MSBA ’12) landed a job with the home improvement giant after graduation. “I was a senior analyst in inventory solutions for about a year and a half,” Woolsey says. “Essentially, we were working on trying to bring some optimization to the import side of the organization – tweaking our safety stock logic, the way that we prioritized containers, and how we measured and managed forecast accuracy.”

In 2014, Woolsey became a manager in inventory analytics, allowing him freedom to pursue his interests and strengths. “It was very successful, and we got a lot of things done,” he says. “I developed an algorithm for how we should set inventory levels for our ‘job lot’ SKUs – items with really lumpy sales. We also changed the logic behind our stores’ safety stock targets and saw a significant boost to Home Depot’s in-stock percentage.”

Although he was happy in his role at Home Depot, Woolsey couldn’t resist the offer he received in late 2015 to become a senior manager of inventory analytics at HD Supply, one of the largest industrial distributors in North America. “They’re just starting a very transformational reboot of their entire supply chain, especially within their inventory function,” Woolsey says. “We’re completely changing the way the supply chain is managed, and everything is on the table. We’re overhauling the systems, reporting, and logic currently in place to create a best in class supply chain. It’s exciting—similar to working for a startup, but you’re a Fortune 500 company.”

Woolsey says the communication skills he learned during his time in the MSBA program at UT have proven invaluable in his career. “All our project-based work was done as if we were presenting it to a CEO,” he says. “We learned to distill it in a way that laypeople can understand. That distinguishes UT’s MSBA grads from people who are just good with numbers from those people who move up in a company.”

As his career progresses, Woolsey plans to meet every challenge head-on. “I’m trying to keep moving up the ladder and gaining more responsibility,” he says. “The higher you go, the more you can get done. I really like working on challenging problems, and there’s no shortage of them in supply chain.”