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The principles of excellence in academics and athletics were instilled into Conner Huertas del Pino at a young age. The former youth national tennis champion from Lima, Peru, eventually became captain of the Auburn men’s tennis team, and completed his academic career with a 3.86 GPA.
Del Pino will graduate with a degree in Supply Chain Management and will represent the Harbert College of Business as its graduation marshal for the commencement exercises on Saturday, August 5.
“I grew up with the mindset of balancing these (academics and sports) to perform my best in both,” he said. “I think discipline is what ultimately led me to where I am. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline stays forever. We all have those days when we don’t feel like doing what we must do, but if you have discipline you will get everything done regardless of how tired you are or your time constraints.”
Time constraints were nothing new for del Pino, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament this spring in doubles play, while being named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and winning Auburn’s Male Scholar-Athlete Award for the year. When the team traveled, del Pino was sometimes limited to two or three class days. “Being team captain was a great responsibility and honor, but with hard work and dedication, I could keep balancing academics and sports like I have been doing since a young age.”
In addition to captaining the men’s tennis team, del Pino remained active in the Auburn Leadership Institute and the Auburn Supply Chain Management Association. “It is important to be accountable and responsible,” he said of his passion for leadership. “I believe in leading by example, which can be easily seen and transmitted.”
Del Pino, who has interned this summer at Alligare, Inc., said he was not familiar with supply chain management until “I read an article on it back home and it intrigued me. It really sparked my interest so I did some research and the whole concept of the supply chain fascinated me – the complexity of it was amazing and how most companies have supply chains that extend across the globe was something that I had never thought about before.”
He transferred from East Tennessee State to Auburn, where his academic major went from “undeclared” to “supply chain management.”
“Auburn’s Supply Chain Management program has well-equipped me with the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in the workplace,” he said. “It is a fun and challenging program where we have case study competitions, analytical projects, and a required internship. It gives you hands-on experience and perspective from real situations companies had experienced before. You aren’t just learning concepts and definitions, but approaching challenges the industry provides day-to-day.”
Why does del Pino recommend Auburn’s Supply Chain Management program to prospective students? “You don’t have to worry about finding a job,” he said. “The program had a 100 percent job placement rate in 2016 and we need to shorten the supply chain talent crisis with Auburn graduates.”
Though del Pino remains focused on a career in the supply chain industry, he still has an eye on his first love. “I would like to try playing tennis professionally because it is something I couldn’t do before coming to college and has been on my mind forever,” he said. “The goal is to play in the ATP World Tour, but for that I still need to put in a lot of hours of hard work.”