Five Questions with Joe Walden

In our Five Questions series, faculty of the University of Kansas School of Business share their insights, experiences and advice for students.

Joe Walden

Joe Walden is a lecturer in the supply chain management and decision sciences areas.

1. What got you interested in your field, and what has been the most rewarding part of being involved in it?

I got involved in supply chain and logistics while in the Army, first to get a good assignment, and then, I stayed with it because it was enjoyable and exciting. The most rewarding part of supply chain management is that it is the only career field outside of medicine where you can positively impact the lives of people every day.

2. What is your favorite part about being a Jayhawk?

Being a member of the faculty is a very rewarding job, but my favorite part of being a Jayhawk is that I am an alumnus. When I got my M.S. in engineering management in 2012, I was blessed with the experience of graduating with both of my daughters as they received their B.A.s — not everyone gets to graduate with their daughters.

3. What would see yourself doing if you weren’t a professor?

Most likely I would be working in the supply chain field as a consultant.

4. If you could require students to read one thing before graduation (outside of your class reading), what would it be and why?

Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” This book is required reading in many Asian business schools because of the approach to strategy. Sun Tzu can be easily adapted to any discipline in business, and with continued globalization of supply chains and business, we need to understand the thinking process of our trading partners and suppliers.

5. What advice would you give your college self?

The biggest lesson that I learned when I went back to grad school that I wish I had known as an undergrad was go to class, pay attention, get to know the professors, do the homework and absorb as much knowledge as possible; and if something doesn’t make sense, ask questions. This is a matter of discipline — at today’s prices for education you cannot afford to skip class or blow off assignments.


Walden earned his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University. He holds master’s degrees from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth and the University of Kansas, and an MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology.

By Anna Pankiewicz