Faculty Spotlight: Sean Willems

March 10, 2016

Sean Willems joined the Haslam faculty in 2015 as the Haslam Chair in Supply Chain Analytics. Before he landed at UT, Willems served as an associate professor of operations and technology management at Boston University. While he was there, he started his own software company, Optiant, a provider of multi-echelon inventory optimization tools.

Because of his entrepreneurial experience, Willems brings a wealth of knowledge to his position at UT. He currently teaches the capstone course for MSBA students, a hands-on learning experience that allows participants to tackle real business analytics problems. “It’s an amazing program, and very much a jewel for the students,” Willems says. “It lets them apply what they learned in class and really put those theories in practice.”

While lending his oversight to students, Willems thoroughly enjoys the process. “It’s an incredibly fun job for me,” he says. “I get to see all the projects and work with all the students, yet they have other infrastructure in the form of faculty members who are doing a lot of the heavy lifting with the actual content. We fully resource this program to its maximum extent.”

Willems earned a bachelor’s in decision sciences from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a master’s in operations research and a doctorate in operations management from MIT. His research interests include developing tactical decision support tools to optimize supply chain decisions. Willems was excited to join the faculty at the Haslam College of Business, with its strong supply chain and business analytics programs.

“I feel very fortunate and excited to be here,” he says. “There’s just an incredible opportunity here because there’s so much infrastructure that we’ve built around supply chain, which is the area where I really work in, so it’s a great fit.”