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Predicting the Future

Supply-chain problems have been a global issue since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and Stephanie Ryskasen ’09/M.B.A. ’11 is one of the people who solves them. “At the end of the day that’s what we’re trying to do — get the product to the shelf,” said Ryskasen of her job in sales forecasting.

The road to her job at Ferrero — makers of Nutella and Tic Tac — has been personal and rewarding. A child
of Italian immigrants, she’d hoped to stay close, but not too close, to home for her college education. In coming to Seton Hall, Ryskasen found a place that “felt like it was home.”

After graduation, Ryskasen started a finance position at Ciao Bella, another food company, and took advantage of the flexibility afforded by the Stillman School of Business to pursue her master’s degree. She was able to transition to Ferrero, her “dream job,” which allowed her to work with products she enjoyed as a child. She also switched from finance to sales forecasting, after good experiences with the sales team (a “great time,” she says) at Ciao Bella.

The onset of the pandemic was a shock to every retailer’s sales plans and models. “The ability to forecast the future is always going to depend on the past,” said Ryskasen. COVID’s challenge for Ferrero was weathering the storm while being able to prepare for the future, with the addition of the pandemic’s unwanted variables. Ryskasen emphasized the importance of team collaboration in forecasting sales in both normal and abnormal times, but found that the future is only so predictable. “I think we have tools in place now that would help us manage through [future disruption].”

Ryskasen says she is living her dream with a passion that grew from her personal affinity and heritage into
a full-blown career. The most rewarding part of her job, she says, are the people she gets to work with and help grow professionally.

“For me, it’s always my team,” she says. As to her future, Ryskasen says that being open to different opportunities is important. “The reality of life and the reality of your career is really just continuous learning and growth.” | Franklin J. Shobe

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