We asked current Foster students to tell us why they chose Foster, explain how they balance life with school, and to share advice with potential applicants. Meet Master of Supply Chain Management student Claudia Gutierrez.
1) Where are you from?
I was born in Peru, and we moved to Canada when I was nine months old. When I was seven years old we moved to the US and I lived up and down the East coast. Five years ago I got tired of the East coast and made my way to Seattle from Northern Virginia.
2) Are you currently working? If so, what is your job title?
I am currently employed at Newell Brands as an e-Commerce Supply Chain Manager.
3) What attracted you to Foster and the MSCM program?
I’ve been thinking about going back to school for at least four years now and I did a lot of research on graduate programs in and around the Northwest. Foster is a consistently high-ranking school and I’ve heard a lot praise and good feedback from locals and friends who have attended the UW. I was struggling to determine what I wanted to focus on in my graduate studies, and about a year ago I started working in the supply chain field and fell in love with the industry. Foster had just kicked off the MSCM program, and I knew I had found my niche. A huge plus for me is that I live about two miles away from the school and going to a physical classroom setting holds me accountable to actually getting work done.
4) What skills and/or knowledge are you looking to develop?
I’m looking to develop my analytical skills and learn how to be more strategic in how I apply my knowledge. Working in the industry teaches you a lot, but you’re often muscling through problems and having to learn by making mistakes. I think the formal training we are receiving can help me be more efficient at gathering information and implementing solutions in the real world.
5) What kind of connections have you made with your classmates/larger business community while in the program?
I am extremely fortunate to be studying with a very diverse and intelligent group of people and it makes the connections invaluable. We have folks who have started and run their own businesses, who are coming from different industries looking for a career change, and folks who have worked in this industry for a while and are looking for more. Their experiences shape the way they look at problems and present solutions, and it expands the way I think about challenges that I face at work and elsewhere. Already through this program we’ve had several guest speakers from businesses in the Seattle area, and this has presented us with great opportunities to network and ask successful professionals with years of experience for advice.
6) What do you think about the supply chain field in Seattle?
I think it has a huge potential for growth that is hardly being tapped. I was listening to a webinar hosted by DHL that was talking about hiring and retaining supply chain professionals and they stated that entry level opportunities in the supply chain field were experiencing a 26% growth between 2010 and 2020; that number became 52% at the mid- to senior-manager level. That translates to about six job openings for every supply chain graduate. With companies like Amazon, Boeing, and PACCAR in Seattle, we have a need for a new wave of SC professionals who can help shape the future of logistics, transportation, and operations.
7) What kind of impact would you like to have on the supply chain field?
I want to become an industry expert. I am of the belief that it’s not just about what you know, but also who you know, and the more people you know, the more collective knowledge you have at your fingertips. I don’t know that I will create any revolutionary, cost saving processes in the future, but I’d like to meet and work with the people who will. I also really enjoy developing people and teaching them new skills, so maybe I’ll go into consulting or process implementation and improvement for logistics companies.
8) How do you balance school with other life priorities?
Hahahaha. That’s funny. Um, I have three calendars: a UW planner that I can quick reference, a calendar on my Surface, and one on my wall. I write almost all of my weekly activities down on all three of them and plan life out as far in advance as I can.
9) What do you like to do for fun?
Try new activities and explore parts of the city I may not have been to yet. I’m in a trapeze and aerial arts class at SANCA down in SODO and I really want to enroll in a trampoline class as well. I have a lot of friends in the sailing community so I like to go on evening and weekend trips with them when I have the chance. I’ve also recently gotten back into pinball, so I like visiting arcades/bars with a back pack full of quarters.
10) What’s been your favorite part of the program so far?
I think it’s been the people I’ve had a chance to meet and engage with. My classmates are fun, smart, and motivated people and they keep me motivated too.
11) What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying to Foster’s MSCM program?
Be prepared to work hard and stay focused on the end goal; in just one year you’ll have that master’s degree. Get organized and expect to have amazing time management skills at the end of this program. And finally, what are you waiting for? Today’s supply chains need forward thinking individuals who have a solid understanding of the industry as well as the analytical skills to quantify problems that arise; this program will help lay that foundation for your future.
Learn more about Foster’s Master of Supply Chain Management program
This post is part of a series where we ask current students to answer 11 questions about their experience at Foster. Stay tuned for more interviews in the coming weeks!