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By Lan Nguyen —Many of us can remember playing the popular app, Tiny Towers. With more than 10 million downloads, its users would create their own buildings by adding a variety of floors (e.g. living spaces, restaurants, retail stores, etc.). In addition, the users would integrate Tiny Tower citizens by assigning them jobs within the complex. If the users wanted to,  they could maximize the citizen’s happiness and efficiency by catering to the citizen’s preferences. For example, a citizen might have 8 out of 9 points for creativity. The users could utilize her best assets by hiring her as a pastry chef, artist, or teacher.

 

Searching for the Perfect Fit

This simple, pixelated game is what inspired me to find a job that incorporated hands-on organization, multi-tasking, and constant communication. However, even after my first semester in college, I still could not find something that completely captivated me. It was frustrating. Most of my peers already knew what they wanted to for the next ten years of their lives. He was going to become a psychologist. She wanted to do computer programming. They were set on getting into medical school. What about me? What do I want to be? What am I going to be?

 

Cameron School of Business

In the fall of 2015, I decided to pursue a business degree. The classes came more naturally to me compared to Biology or History. The concepts were interesting, and I enjoyed being able to apply what I had learned to the real-world. Furthermore, I had excelled in my previous micro- and macroeconomics courses. I still did not know what I wanted to concentrate in. However, it was comforting at least knowing a general direction.

For that same semester, I had enrolled into an Operations Management course. It was a part of the Cameron School of Business core. I honestly did not know what to expect. What is operations management? How are the lectures? What is the professor like?  Fortunately, the class has positively impacted my life in more ways than one.

 

Discovering Operations Managment

As the course began, my professor, Dr. Elham Mousavidin, peaked all of our interests with her teaching style. She would couple the concepts with real-life examples. This approach gave the theories more meaning. It didn’t feel like we were memorizing the textbook. The ideas we were being taught could be applied to actual companies. For example, businesses need to balance efficiency and customer satisfaction. Coca-Cola Corporation accomplishes this by maximizing its ability to transport its products while being ecologically self-conscious.

In addition, Dr. Mousavidin engaged her students by assigning a group project. We needed to research and present a topic within Operations Management. This not only accentuated what we had learned, but it also encouraged us to find our own answers. Also, more notably, I had found something to be passionate about. Supply Chain embodied everything that I was interested in: scheduling, organizing different parts of a process, calculating external factors, heightening customers’ satisfaction, and being creatively efficient.

Operations Management looked like a great prospective career for me. However, did its job market have a lot of growth? What is the average compensation? According to Fortune, “logistics business will be looking to fill about 1.4 million jobs, or roughly 270,000 per year, by 2018.” Meanwhile, the 2014 median pay for logisticians was $73,870 per year or $35.51 per hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This was great news! Unfortunately, the University of St. Thomas currently does not have a supply chain degree. Nevertheless, I decided to utilize the assets that were currently available to me.

 

BBA in Finance

Now, a semester after discovering Operations Management, I have decided to pursue a BBA in Finance. I have also continued to enhance my skills through different means. For instance, I practice my ability to multi-task by maintaining a 3.8 GPA as a full-time student, working part time, organizing events as a Fundraising Coordinator, and being inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma. I have also researched a variety of Supply Chain degree alternatives. I could pursue an operations management internship, get a Project Manager Certification, or join a supply chain professional’s organization (e.g. APICS). The possibilities are endless. All I have to do is learn, plan, and execute.

Lan Nguyen

University of St. Thomas, Cameron school of Business, BBA Finance – candidate

 

References:

https://fortune.com/2014/05/01/wanted-1-4-million-new-supply-chain-workers-by-2018/

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/logisticians.htm

 

 

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