Candan Erenguc

Young Alumni Spotlight: Candan Erenguc

A. Candan Erenguc (BSBA ’00, MS-ISOM ’00) was recently appointed Chief Operating Officer at Anthropologie. With more than 20 years of experience holding various positions in operations and management, including Chief Supply Chain Officer at Away, Chief Revenue Officer at The Void and Senior Vice President – Operations Excellence at Lululemon, she is among Warrington’s outstanding graduates. In fact, in 2018, she was among the University of Florida’s Outstanding Young Alumni.

We spoke with Candan about her time at Warrington and in the Information Systems and Operations Management Department and how her experience prepared her for a successful career in operations.

Q: What is your favorite memory from your time in the Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) Department?

A: I had two really great friends that I met during my time in the department – Andrea Ackman and Heather Dixon (née Fass). They both graduated the same year I did. I enjoyed school, but my favorite memories are of our shenanigans.   

Those enduring relationships really important to me. In fact, my family and Heather’s family all had dinner together this December in Detroit. Heather is a leader in the technology organization at Ford Motor Company.

Q: What courses did you find the most beneficial for your career?

A: The course that I reference the most is Asoo Vakharia’s Logistics and Transportation Systems class. It was particularly impactful because when I graduated, I went into manufacturing. I did things like production management, capacity allocation and supply planning in a very complex environment every day for a number of years. I didn’t leave school and go into Logistics or transportation.

When you leave school, you continue your learning journey, and you build upon some of what you learned in school. What I found interesting is that subject matter areas that I didn’t leave school and practice every day were still embedded enough to where they came in handy later in my career when I was managing teams in the logistics and transportation systems space. I hadn’t trained as a practitioner in that domain so the knowledge Dr. Vakharia gave me was a critical foundation for me to build upon – I still use it. I still reference transportation models he taught me.

Q: If you were an ISOM graduate student again, what would be the one thing you’d do different?

A: I did three internships in my time at UF, both in my undergraduate and graduate years. My first internship was with Deloitte consulting, my second internship was with Ernst & Young consulting and my third internship with Ford Motor Company.

If I could go back and change anything, I think that I would have tried to do an industry internship earlier, whether it was in a manufacturing facility or a distribution center. You learn so much from those experiences and then you’re able to go into consulting knowing more and having practical experience under your belt.

I wanted to go into consulting, and that had been my post-graduation plan, but after doing my internship with Ford Motor Company, I decided that I wanted to work in industry prior to going into consulting.

When I graduated, I went to work for Ford Motor Company, and then I went into consulting for 10 years. It was doing an internship at Ford that led me to my path of industry first, then consulting.

Q: What advice would you give students now to prepare for a successful career in the future?

A: Career success is definitely related to how good you are at what you do. And naturally, you’re more likely to be good at what you’re doing if you like doing it.

It’s crucial to consider the subject that you’re most passionate about and learn as much as you can about that. But you also have to figure out what type of environment and what type of company you’d like to work in.

For example, if you’re analytically inclined, figure out the way that you want to apply that skillset. Product analytics versus customer analytics versus operational analytics, those are all very different things, and they sit in different places within a company.

To put it simply… Step 1, figure out what you like to do, step 2, get very good at doing it, step 3, figure out where you want to do it.

Q: Any fun facts you’d like to share about yourself?

A: I am a mom of 4 – I have 2 biological kids and 2 stepsons. I’m also a wife to a very cool dude who is a graduate of the UF Executive MBA program. There are a lot of people who I care for outside of work. For me, that’s fun.

Two of my kids are twins, and my sisters are twins. I think when you’re an operations person, you look for opportunities to leverage of economies of scale and twins are a way to do that!