Leichner graduated this May with his BBA in business analytics and operations management and is continuing his education at USD to earn an MBA. During his time at USD, Leichner was a four-year member of the USD swim team and worked as a research assistant for Beacom School of Business professors Carole South-Winter, Ph.D., associate professor of health services management, and Sebastian Wai, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics.
Jake Leichner headshot
This summer, Leichner is working at Avera Health in Sioux Falls as a supply chain intern where he spends time in the corporate offices and operating rooms juggling different responsibilities. He is learning from a leading health care provider in the region, receiving hands-on education and training on how the supply chain affects hospital staff and patients regionally. 

“Having this internship at Avera has really opened my eyes to what I want my future job to be, and I would not have been able to be successful without my undergrad at USD, which truly prepared me with the crucial hard skills needed to understand the supply chain,” Leichner said.

USD provided Leichner the leadership skills that he uses every day at his internship. He uses hard statistical foundations like working in Excel and analyzing thousands of data lines, which he learned and mastered while pursuing his degree.

“USD helped me to understand how to lead a project for a department and feel confident in completing it and presenting it to my supervisors, which is a big confidence booster for me,” Leichner said. “I am using real-world data from Avera and completing reports for different departments and cleaning up data. Knowing how to do that has been very beneficial.”

Leichner's day-to-day involves a mix of surveying inventory stock in operating rooms and following up with suppliers providing supplies to Avera.

“My favorite part of this experience has been that every day is different,” Leichner said. “One day I am analyzing Excel sheet data with a meeting or two sprinkled in, the next I might go into different operating rooms and take inventory. That has been cool and a unique part of my role because I have been able to watch surgeries through the windows.” 

Leichner’s favorite part of his internship, working in supply chain management, is that it's a form of problem-solving.

“I really just enjoy figuring out how the pieces of puzzle connect together and how to get point A to point B in a certain amount of time to increase efficiency,” Leichner said. "How quickly can I get something from a supplier that Avera needs in time for an upcoming surgery is important.”

Supply chain management is a crucial field to the region and nation which has been evident since the pandemic, Leichner said.

“The lockdowns led to supply chain issues across the board; companies can’t get the product they need fast enough,” Leichner said. “Supply chain management is huge for health care within South Dakota, and because there are so many items that are needed due to a lot of them being on backorder, it really impacts health care because we can’t get the exact items the physicians want, so we have to find substitutes.”

While Leichner has enjoyed his time at Avera, he is still deciding what field interests him for a future career.

“Staying in health care is definitely a possibility. It's an exciting field,” Leichner said. “I am also looking at the construction industry and the technology industry, which have been booming.”

After graduating with his MBA, whether Leichner is working in supply chain management in health care or not, he knows his well-rounded business background from USD will prepare him for any role in the field.

“When it comes to exactly what I want to do when I graduate, supply chain is a high contender, but I still want to keep my options open and be understanding of both the front end and back end of the business industry, whether it's growing in marketing or continuing with supply chain management, I can use the skills I developed during my time as a student at Beacom to help me," Leichner said.