As a busy architect specializing in supply chain technology, Rachel Rutkoski knew she wanted to further her education while still working at the job she loves. But finding a university that would allow her to get a degree with a flexible enough schedule was tough. The options were limited, but Rutkoski soon found a solution. 

“There are very few schools that allow that type of flexibility, and I knew Syracuse would allow me to have the best of both worlds – the academic world and business world,” she said. “Once I examined the Doctorate of Professional Studies program further and realized that I would be able to customize a dissertation to the topics I’m passionate about, supply chain and technology, my decision to attend was easy.”

Rutkoski graduated from Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies this spring with her doctorate in information management. In January, she defended her thesis, “How Disruptions in Indirect Procurement Impact an Organization’s Adoption of Technology: An Applied Research Thesis.” Her advisor was Professor John Jordan. 

In her professional life, Rutkoski has spent the past 20 years working at Accenture, a management consulting firm. She is based in Pennsylvania and works as a Technology Solution Architect in Accenture’s Operations Procurement and Supply Chain Towers. 

“Our group works on procurement and supply chain transformation projects, and we help enable the services by selecting the right technology solutions,” she said. “In addition to building technology solutions for our clients, I’m responsible for managing our relationships with our technology ecosystem partners. We work very closely with key technology partners globally, and I find it exciting to learn what new technology is being developed and the benefits it can bring.”

Rutkoski recently worked on a project for a global client who wanted to make purchasing easier within their organization by using established vendors and developing a technology strategy. 

With that goal in mind, Rutkoski and her team created a web portal that helped the client’s users know who to buy from and what the corporate policy was on buying an item. The newly established process allowed the client to monitor supplier risk, including geopolitical and financial risks of their supply base.  

“One of my favorite things about my job is that it is never the same thing twice,” Rutkoski said. “Each client presents a different business challenge that you are trying to solve, and I like being able to combine the business aspects with creative problem solving.”

Rutkoski was an undergraduate at Penn State University in the late 90s when she found the career track she loved. Originally a general business major, she took a mini semester of supply chain management and the rest was history. 

“I instantly fell in love with it and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. “The professors taught with such passion and used real-life business examples to bring ideas to life instead of teaching out of a textbook.”

Outside of work, Rutkoski enjoys spending time outdoors and taking advantage of the hiking and biking trails around Pittsburgh, Pa. She also loves training for half marathons and marathons, an exercise that helps keep her mind centered.

If she could offer advice to other iSchool students, she would encourage them to build relationships with professors and fellow students. 

“Your network at Syracuse is your first professional network, and that network has the power to take you far,” Rutkoski said. “When I think back on my career and all of the critical career and school moves I’ve made, they were all possible because of my professional network.”