Two decades into his supply chain career, Jesus Gomez felt as if his hopes of reaching the C-suite had stalled.
After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University (MSU), he had worked his way up the management chain, including roles as a senior buyer, commodity manager and purchasing manager.
“From raw materials to the end product, that’s what I manage,” said Gomez, a global strategic supply chain manager with Flex, a provider of design, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics services.
Gomez has spent about 10 years with Flex, which has 200,000 employees in 30 nations and reported revenue of $23.9 billion for fiscal year 2017.
“I want to become a senior director and then go into [the vice president role],” he said. “I was seeing some other people around me who were getting promoted and so forth, and they all had MBAs.”
He decided that returning to school would help unclog the career-growth bottleneck. Gomez considered enrolling in an MBA program in his current hometown of Austin, Texas, but was concerned about committing to frequent weekend visits to campus.
That’s when serendipity and familiarity came into play.
Gomez read an article about Flex winning a supply chain award. It was written by a professor from Michigan State, his alma mater. He emailed the professor, which led to a conference call. And that, in short order, led to him enrolling in MSU’s Master of Science in Supply Chain Management program.
“Usually, most of your CEOs got MBAs,” Gomez said. “But now a lot of the supply chain folks are moving up the ladder versus your finance guys or your marketing guys. … And in my company, supply chain is one of the key drivers.”
Top-Ranked Supply Chain Program
As an alumnus, Gomez was well aware of MSU’S reputation for excellence – its undergraduate and graduate programs in supply chain management were ranked No. 1 in the nation for 2018 by U.S. News & World Report.
At the graduate level, the blended program format offers anytime, anywhere access to online coursework. Students also make four visits to the MSU campus for three-day weekend sessions, working on interactive case study exercises and simulation assignments with peers.
“It’s awesome to meet the other students and then finally get to meet the professors face-to-face,” said Gomez, who graduated in December 2016 with his MS in Supply Chain Management. “And then you get insights from everybody.”
Even though he’s a seasoned industry professional, Gomez said the curriculum helped him with connect the dots in terms of “what we need to do to make the supply chain more efficient and effective.”
With live lectures, videos and study guides, the program is structured in a way that suited his work schedule, which includes travel.
“It’s an intense program, but it’s manageable,” Gomez said.
“And, for me, it’s been awesome.”
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