Online MBA Student Leverages Global Trade and Supply Chain Concentration to Improve Patient Care

March 30, 2023
Supply Chain Blog Photo

David Pecylak, a current Online MBA student, is leveraging his newfound knowledge to source medical equipment for patients around the world.

David Pecylak

David Pecylak


David Pecylak has always had a passion for working with numbers. “Numbers just make sense to me,” he said. “They are more cut and dried than anything else.”

David’s penchant for the cut and dried propelled him into a career in supply chain management, but he learned quickly that the field was strewn with ambiguity and risk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he spent five days a week in a high-octane medical environment, where he worked to ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.

Now, as he pursues an Online MBA (OMBA) with a global trade and supply chain concentration at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, he is leveraging his newfound knowledge to source medical equipment for patients around the world.

Maximizing Impact

A Florida native, David earned an undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of South Florida before joining Refresco, a global bottling business, in a procurement finance role. He spent three years learning to analyze spend and volume with the knowledge that everything he did impacted the company’s balance sheet.

“There are not a whole lot of academic programs out there that specialize in supply chain management or procurement, so many people just fall into this line of work,” David said. “But then, when you get there, you realize how central it is to a company’s operations.”

Procurement is typically defined as sourcing the goods and materials a company needs, while supply chain management involves the full life span of sourcing, converting and distributing these goods and materials. In reality, there is tremendous overlap between the two fields. Both require a strategic mind to solve problems at the intersection of finance, operations, marketing and other functions.

In 2019, David moved to New York City to take on his next challenge. The son of two healthcare professionals, applying his skills as a strategic sourcing analyst at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital felt like a natural career progression. He immediately set to work negotiating prices and terms with suppliers for CT machines, MRI machines and other radiology equipment. Every day, he worked with hospital locations to determine equipment needs, vendors to negotiate RFPs, legal professionals to ensure valid contracts and medical staff to guarantee that a product fit their standard of care.

When the pandemic hit, the focus of his job shifted overnight. Procurement of routine medical equipment fell to the wayside as PPE took precedence. David was re-assigned to work with the hospital system’s supply chain team to source and distribute everything from respirators and pulse oximeters to gowns and masks in an environment that was constantly evolving.

“The benefit of being in New York, where we got the worst of the virus before everyone else, was that we also got PPE earlier as well,” David said. But that does not mean his task was easy. His team relied on a mix of government support, community donations and private vendors to ensure that frontline workers were fully equipped to treat the sea of COVID-19 patients flooding the city’s medical facilities. “It was an exciting, nerve-racking time,” he said.

By mid-2021, David had proven his skills and ability to remain cool-headed in seasons of stress. He accepted an offer to join the team as a supply chain specialist, which involved setting up a new inventory management system that would employ innovative technology to automate the hospital’s supply chain.

With the most hectic days of the pandemic behind him, David turned his attention toward professional growth. He had always considered pursuing a graduate degree, but he was torn between enrolling in a general MBA program and a specialty master’s program. When he stumbled upon Baylor’s OMBA program with a concentration in global trade and supply chain management, he knew he had discovered the best of both worlds.

Immediate Application

David began his MBA studies in the fall of 2021, only months before he accepted a new position as an associate sourcing manager for Stryker, a leading medical technology company. While the company sells everything from hospital beds and stretchers to stents and coils, David is responsible for sourcing instruments, implants and raw materials used in hip and knee replacements.

He is no longer working in crisis mode, but the supply chain snarls created by the pandemic still wreak havoc. For many companies that supply medical equipment, the cancellation or delay of elective procedures during the height of the pandemic slowed their rate of production. They are firing on all cylinders once again, but it still takes a year or more to source raw materials like stainless steel and cobalt chrome.

Fortunately, David can already point to specific OMBA classes that have equipped him to navigate the challenges of the role with more finesse. “My negotiations class has been especially helpful in providing formal techniques to use in tense situations,” he said.

David frequently interacts with suppliers who are pushing for a longer lead time on materials than his company can abide. Instead of approaching the situation with a combative stance, he has learned new strategies to find a middle ground.

“Sometimes that means helping a supplier find a different source for a material, or investigating whether or not it is feasible to increase hiring in certain circumstances,” he said. “If you look hard enough, there is always a way to collaborate to improve the situation. At the end of the day, we share the goal of improving patients’ lives by helping them walk again.”

David also points to a trade compliance class that has informed the way he views regulation, customs and shipment terms—all highly salient concepts in his line of work. “The class is taught by a former attorney in trade compliance,” he said. “One of the greatest benefits of this program is the opportunity to learn from people with real-world experience and apply that knowledge immediately in my own work."

Down the road, David aspires to lead and mentor people in a managerial capacity. There is no doubt in his mind that what he is learning now in the OMBA program will impart the experience he needs to reach the next level. “Having a broader knowledge base in every area of business is already paying off,” he said. “This program allows you to drive your own destiny and make the impact you want to make.”

What's Next

Are you ready to leave your own mark on the world? Learn more about Baylor’s Online MBA program with a concentration in global trade supply chain management by clicking here. To speak directly with an admissions advisor, fill out the form below.

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