West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) alumnus Jason Lima ’17 (A.S., Business Administration) is Chicago-bound. Step by step, he has put the pieces in place that landed him a position as a customer logistics analyst for Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Lima will head straight to work this month after graduating from Rider University’s Global Supply Chain Management (SCM) program with his Bachelor of Business Administration in May.
Rider’s co-op program requires SCM students to work at a private firm during their senior year. Last summer, Lima began working for J&J in Skillman in retail customer logistics, where his duties included maintaining daily inventory levels and issuing weekly reports to upper management. He also earned LEAN yellow belt certification for identifying time saving measures for the company.
In January he moved to J&J’s Princeton office, where he worked with NeoStrata Project Management. “I was responsible for analyzing current processes and implementing tools to improve efficiency,” Lima said. “I also organized and led the first NeoStrata Microsoft Office training session for other co-op students and established a template to reproduce future sessions.”
All of that hard work got attention at hiring time. “Of the 43 students participating in the program, J&J hired five of us full-time,” he said.
Looking back on the past four years, Lima observes that it’s been a fulfilling journey, one that started at MCCC.
Even back then, he was showing good business sense. “I was not sure what I wanted to study and Mercer offered me the chance to figure it out conveniently and affordably,” said Lima, a graduate of Nottingham High School.
During his first semester, Lima took an Honors Global Environment of Business course with Professor Laura Sosa and he knew he had found his direction. “That one course went a long way to solidifying my decision to study business,” he recalled.
Lima remembers the insights he gained through that course. “We researched the culture, government, finances and risks associated with doing business in different countries,” he said, noting that the class used a sophisticated database known as GlobalEDGE and did group projects that gave him a taste of how business teams collaborate.
On a trip to Dow Jones & Company in Lower Manhattan, he and his classmates sat down with company executives. “We learned about their corporate culture, heard about the company's latest global initiatives, and even got information about what they look for when they hire. It was a great experience," Lima recalled.
Despite a demanding schedule that included taking a full course load while working, Lima quickly got involved in extracurricular activities. He served as vice president of MCCC’s Global Business Club and as treasurer for Mercer’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. He was a student ambassador for the Honors Program, giving tours and talking with prospective students.
In 2016, Lima was one of two MCCC students selected for the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship. (The scholarships are awarded to members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at two-year colleges.) He also earned two scholarships through the MCCC Foundation.
“I started pursuing all available opportunities at Mercer. I learned communications skills and technical skills that made me able to compete and succeed. I developed a group of friends with the same mind set,” Lima said. “When I transferred to Rider, I was on par or even a little beyond some students who had started out there.”
He continued his activities at Rider, becoming a member of the Supply Chain Club and the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society.
He says he was able to pull from his diverse background when he interviewed with J&J for the co-op position. “I had lots of examples to draw upon that indicated I had a deeper understanding of business. I had an edge over students who don’t get involved in activities.”
His background proved even more important when he interviewed for his full-time job. “Without the co-op job, I wouldn’t have had the skill set or even a way to apply for the J&J position,” he noted.
Lima also expects that the leadership and communications skills he has developed will be key in his new post. “I will be working with staff at Walgreen’s stores and delivery drivers who are twice my age. Customer service is always an important skill, especially in my area, where there is a lot of money on the line.
As one who bolstered his resume significantly outside the classroom, Lima shares this bit of advice with current business students. “If you think just going to class and getting good grades is enough, you are wrong. You need exposure to people in business and experiences in the business world. One thing leads to the next.”
He adds, “There are no excuses for not getting involved. Students who say they don’t have the time can find the time. Just go for it. In the process, you will boost your self-confidence and gain skills you will need in the competitive business environment.”