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The Master of Supply Chain Management community brings together experiences and insights from around the globe. With a wealth of experience and insights at their fingertips, our community members regularly advise and support each other. Discover how the achievements of our outstanding alumni have contributed to Foster MSCM’s standing as a top-tier program for those pursuing a career in supply chain management.

Nathalia Garcia

Nathalia GarciaMSCM Class of 2018
Azure Dedicated (AzD) Sr. Supply Chain Manager, Microsoft

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Aron Ghosh

Aron GhoshMSCM Class of 2022
Senior Product Manager,

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Justin Gillebo

Justin GilleboMSCM Class of 2019
Director of Supply Chain Planning, Origis Energy

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Curtis Mowdy

Curtis MowdyMSCM Class of 2018
Senior Global Material Manager, Plexus Corp

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Vincent Tian

Vincent TianMSCM Class of 2022
Production Planner/Buyer,
Kerry Inc.

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Zhihua Wang

Zhihua WangMSCM Class of 2020
Assistant Manager, Post Order Operations, Adidas

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Azure Dedicated (AzD) Sr. Supply Chain Manager, Microsoft
MSCM Class of 2018

Why did you choose a Master’s in Supply Chain over an MBA?

Supply Chain is a critical operations element for any major company to succeed and remain competitive in the current global market, it is challenging, you can learn something new every day and you can make significant contributions to a business by improving or creating new processes to be more efficient while reducing cost. In my quest to continue learning more about the supply chain after receiving my Professional Certification in Supply Chain from the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), I discovered the MSCM at Foster, where I could specialize in this field that I am passionate about, and I never really thought about getting an MBA.

What role did the Foster faculty play in your time as a student?

They were vital! I went back to school many years after I graduated from college overseas and coming back to school was somewhat intimidating. The constant and open communication we had with faculty, the time they invested in answering any questions, the additional guidance they provided when needed, and the support and knowledge they catered, made my experience unforgettable. Besides being very supportive they were always assuring the right balance between a full-time job and going to school at night. There were times that were stressful, but we always found support and time to have fun!

How did your classmates (and other Foster students) enhance your time at Foster?

I am fortunate and happy to say that I still talk and hang out with some of my classmates at the time, now they are my friends. Out cohort was very diverse from a cultural perspective as well as different industries and experiences. That blend of backgrounds enriched my experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and share my time with them.

What do you see as the advantages of Foster?

When I thought about pursuing a master’s degree in supply chain management, I was looking for a program that offered in-person learning. The MSCM curriculum not only touched every aspect of the supply chain industry, which would provide me with the tools and knowledge I was looking to learn, but also offered a traditional learning setting with a flexible schedule that allowed me to keep my full-time job while attending school.

Senior Product Manager, Amazon
MSCM Class of 2022

Why did you choose the MSCM program?

I worked as a Sales and Marketing Manager for an energy equipment manufacturing company, where I learned how an agile supply chain can support the topline (by ensuring perfect orders and fulfilling customer promises on time and in full) as well as the bottom line (by improving the first time right and reducing carbon credits). In my last role, I saw first-hand how supply chain resilience in the service sector such as insurance can transform the online customer experience during unprecedented times like the pandemic. By adopting continuous improvement in the data logistics and contract manufacturing process, my team of 45 Financial Advisors and Operations Executives designed first-in-the-industry products with customer benefits at the core. This reinforced my curiosity for supply chain excellence in global e-commerce and became my prime driver for a specialized masters in the field.

What skills, personal qualities or abilities are important for succeeding in the program?

If students are always curious to find and try new opportunities, take ownership of their team’s success and offer help to each other, then the program will feel a lot easier. I had the privilege of working with the coolest and sharpest personalities in MSCM. They understood their roles and owned their results. I was in two teams throughout the program and there was no friction in transitioning between them. It felt more like a transition than a switch. Each team member brought something unique to the table that we respected and celebrated. This ensured that everyone participated in the prioritization analysis (urgent v/s important). We also made sure that all of us shared our job-hunt and interview experiences for collaborative growth. I would say putting in that extra 1% in each class assignment, presentation and project definitely pays off at the end.

What is one thing you wish you knew when entering the program?

I wish I knew that these 12 months would fly so fast! I would have liked to participate in more cultural events at UW.

What did you do in your free time as a student?

I prioritized building my social network and learning technical skills such as Product Management and SQL through LinkedIn Learning provided by UW. Parallelly, I enjoyed the college-life experiences such as working with the Daily UW and Housing & Food Services, volunteering at UW Pantry, managing FIUTS events as well as connecting with peers through UW TBA Conferences. During the holidays, I liked to hike and travel.

Director of Supply Chain Planning, Origis Energy
MSCM Class of 2019

What made you choose the MSCM program for your next step?

I was working at Starbucks as a Supply Chain Planner at the time and really felt like I’ve gained some experience in the field of supply chain, but I wanted to expand my horizons to include operational strategy in my skillset. I wanted to be able to contribute to the decision-making part of the business That was when I said to myself, “I want to have that backbone and understanding of supply chain that would allow me to add value and provide strategic direction to a company.” So, I applied to the Foster MSCM program.

What made you choose Foster?

The thing that lured me to Foster was the “learn it on Saturday, apply it on Monday” strategy. I chose Foster because of the program curriculum and the wide breadth of supply chain knowledge I would get as a result of being in the program. Looking back, I understand even more why my decision to come to Foster was so great. At Foster, I didn’t just develop a world-class program and world-class education, but we became a family. I’m still in contact with the people in my program. We got to travel to Germany together and experience some amazing supply chains across the globe, and we still go to football games together. We still interact and find time to connect with one another. Foster gave me not just the opportunity to develop a supply chain career but also to become part of the Foster family, which is a network of supply chain professionals, professors and researchers that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Which class(es) was your favorite?

I thoroughly enjoyed taking the forecasting class. I had the opportunity to take a class that got into the nuts and bolts of how you build a supply chain. How do you think about the end-to-end management of a supply chain? How do you look at what a customer is going to need and then be able to work backwards all the way through the supply chain to develop a world class plan? How do we look at things such as seasonality and variability within the forecast to be able to meet our customers’ needs? Companies are constantly facing the challenge of getting the products to the right place at the right time for as low of a cost as possible. The forecasting class gave me the ability to consider the right variables that would allow me to make strategic decisions for our supply chain.

Do you have a favorite Foster experience during your time as an MSCM student?

One of my favorite Foster memories is traveling to Germany and getting to visit the Audi manufacturing factory in Bavaria. We had the opportunity to tour the facility, inspect the manufacturing site, understand the customer experience, and we even got to go behind the scenes with executive leaders. We went to the factory floor, where we spoke with the workers in the factory line to learn about the management of the factory and how they apply lean management principles. The experience was transformative and allowed me to better understand how supply chain principles were being applied by executives in a real-life scenario.

Did you find Foster to be an inviting and welcoming program?

As a first-generation college student, I was apprehensive about what it would take to be successful in a graduate setting. I found that not only did the professors take an interest in my personal life, were willing to work with me and support me as assignments and deadlines came up, but they pushed me to do more than I thought was possible. They let me bring my full self to the program and helped me gain a better understanding of the nuances of everyday life.

Senior Global Material Manager, Plexus Corp
MSCM Class of 2018

How would you describe your time as a simultaneous professional and student?

I was fortunate enough that my employer was flexible and was able to work around my school schedule. What made the MSCM program great was the classes during the week were evening classes and the every-other-Saturday classes were a bonus. Once graduation time came closer, I was starting to get invitations to apply to various teams within my previous organization. Soon after starting my new position, I was able to employ my Green Belt certification for creating capacity plans for our critical suppliers.

How has the Foster MSCM program prepared you for your current role?

The MSCM program prepared me for the current role in multiple ways. I would say the one I use daily would be the spreadsheet modeling course. I am in Excel daily and creating customer specific reports from scratch to help forecast inventory positions based off forecast supply and demand pictures. Secondly, the Lean/Six Sigma course came in handy instantly in my new role after graduation. To have the ability to make an instant impact in a new role helped me with my confidence in the new position. Even though Strategic Sourcing was not my most favorite course, I understood its value as a professional. Now, I employ my learnings from that class on a weekly basis in conversations with both our customers and suppliers. In today’s environment more than ever, the ability to build relationships throughout the supply chains is critical to the success of your programs.

What aspect of the Foster culture best serves your career?

I love the “Foster. The Future.” tagline. I am one to always give back in my community. Any time anyone from Foster reaches out, I am often quick to respond. I want to help those interested in the University of Washington learn the benefits they will gain from their education and time at the University of Washington. From career fairs to mock interviews, I am willing to give back to my alma mater, which helped me open doors left and right. Mentoring others is one of the key leadership traits I try and maintain in every role. I recently have helped mentor a coworker who was a recent graduate from a university in Mexico. I taught and trained him to be successful in directly presenting data weekly to an extremely tough customer. He thanks me whenever he has the chance for spending my time and energy in to getting him to where he is now. With his hard work and my guidance, we’ve put him in a place to be promoted to manager within the next year.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer to students entering the program?

One piece of advice I’d give to students entering the program is to expect to meet with your team regularly on or off campus in order to complete group assignments outside of the standard classroom hours. In the real world, no one is an individual contributor anymore, everyone must work on a team of some sort. The MSCM program puts you in teams and assigned projects in each class that you must work with the team to complete. For me, this included presentations, homework assignments, essays, and exams.

Production Planner/Buyer, Kerry Inc.
MSCM Class of 2022

What do you see as the advantages of Seattle/Foster?

I think that Seattle is one of the friendliest cities in the U.S., particularly for STEM students, and Foster is the best business school in Washington State. I am personally a huge fan of hiking and skiing, so Seattle has enough mountains for me to pursue all the outdoor activities I enjoy. I especially enjoy the “God Mountain” (Mount Rainier), which I go to at least six times a year.

As for Foster School of Business, I believe that it’s a dream school for so many. I think diversity is also another advantage of Foster. It undoubtedly shaped my thinking and vision of business.

What did you do in your free time as a student?

I have to say that our campus is BEAUTIFUL! Whenever the sun would come out, you could find me with a beverage and my laptop on one of the benches at the Quad. I can still sit there all day long. I absolutely loved walking on campus, among those stunning buildings and fresh trees.

How do you envision the MSCM program helping you to find your next role?

Through professionalism and diversity that enables me to think “big picture”. The specific knowledge that I acquired in MSCM program made me confident in what I am doing and what I will be doing, which allows me to deal with any supply chain related issue with an optimistic attitude.

How are you leveraging your experience for future success?

I always dive deeper whenever I see a problem to be able to establish a root cause analysis and ensure that the certain problem won’t recur. Lean Six Sigma was the course that trained me to build a systematic method to encounter all kinds of problems. I highly encourage students to pay extra attention to that course. It will help your work whatever industry you are in.

Assistant Manager, Post Order Operations, Adidas
MSCM Class of 2020

What did you do before you joined the MSCM program?

I pursued an undergraduate degree at Sichuan University (Chengdu, China). I also spent a quarter in 2017 at UW as an exchange student studying global business and sustainability. It took just one quarter at UW to shape my perspective on academic and career choice particularly because of the MSCM program resources, supply chain industry insight, university culture, and sports atmosphere at UW and Seattle!

How did you prepare for the program?

I took extra supply chain courses during my undergrad at my university as well as online. Since I knew I wanted to continue in the field of operations and supply chain, I did several projects to gain as much practical experience as possible. As an international student, TOEFL and GMAT (GRE) were also big parts of the prep.

How has the MSCM program prepared you for your current role?

We had courses covering various perspectives of supply chain management such as mathematics, accounting, supply chain projects, big data, negotiation and also a capstone project. The combination of these courses played a huge role in my hands-on learning experience at UW as the projects exposed me to different aspects of the industry. Additionally, the alumni network is very powerful as we have so many professionals working in several industries (Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing, etc.). The opportunity to be in conversation with such leaders proved valuable as I received advice on career navigation and the job market. In fact, my first job after graduation was recommended by an alumnus.

What did you find to be the most surprising aspect of moving to the U.S.?

College sports atmosphere is crazy here! I’m a big fan of sports and follow many professional leagues but the enthusiasm for sports is on another level here. I still can’t imagine how 70,000+ people from all around come to watch the Huskies football game. This is also part of the reason why I joined Adidas. I wanted to combine my passion for sports and expertise in supply chain. My current role ticks the boxes for me. I grow professionally while exploring my interests in sports.