Wichita State tennis player changed direction to study supply chains


Harriet Hamilton expected to live in London by now, her college tennis career finished and her career in business beginning.

When the COVID-19 pandemic put global supply chains in the spotlight, Hamilton paid attention as the production and movement of items fluctuated. She watched the business world change and decided to study the new landscape, aided by an extra year of eligibility granted to all student-athletes by the NCAA due to the pandemic.

“The world was facing a global crisis and supply chains were affected so much,” she said. “Six months before starting my graduate degree, I really started researching. Of course, at this time, we were in an intense, COVID pandemic phase.”

Hamilton, from Turin, Italy, is the first member of her family to visit the United States. Her mother (Claudia) is Italian and her father (John) is Scottish.

She completed her degree in business administration and human resources at Jacksonville (Ala.) State in 2021. She transferred to Wichita State to continue playing tennis and work on her master’s degree in management science and supply chain management.

Soon after settling into her new home in Wichita, Hamilton seized an applied learning opportunity at Koch Industries.

“I knew I wanted to pursue something a little bit different than maybe an MBA or a sport management degree,” she said. “What interested me is that careers in supply chain are very diverse, and I see that working every day at Koch. You’re always doing something different. It’s not just basic processes or basic transition. You get work cross-functionally with different teams and different people.”

That’s what we’re here for – to set them up for a great opportunity and a great future. She’s clearly ahead of the curve.
Colin Foster, women's tennis coach,
Wichita State University

Even though the pandemic prevented her from visiting Wichita while changing plans, she made the choice helped by former Shocker Marta Belluco, who is also from Italy. Belluco earned a master’s degree in management science and supply chain management while playing tennis. Belluco gave coach Colin Foster and the Shockers tennis program strong reviews.

“She helped me a lot,” Hamilton said. “She really explained to me how there are so many good opportunities in Wichita.”

Hamilton is intrigued by the logistics and organization required to manage supply chains. She describes the field of study to friends by comparing it to checking on the progress of a package as it makes it way from warehouse to distribution center to delivery truck to front door.

“Being able to adapt quickly to changes is really important,” she said. “Time management is a big thing. If you’re prepared ahead, when changes come you can very much easily adapt. I try to use any time I have productively.”

Hamilton earned a spot on the WSU Athletic Director’s Roll both semesters in 2021-22. She also was named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete, reserved for student-athletes with a 3.5 grade-point average or better.

The work at Koch, classes and tennis creates a busy fall for Hamilton. Her time management and communication make it work.

“I’m really excited for her to have this opportunity at Koch,” Foster said. “She’s juggling working at Koch and being a full-time student-athlete and it’s super impressive and rewarding. That’s what we’re here for – to set them up for a great opportunity and a great future. She’s clearly ahead of the curve.”

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