Eric Li, MSCM '19
Eric Li wasn't sure if or how his passion for food would inform his career path. Nor did he expect that it would lead him to earn a master of supply chain management. Now that he's a packaging shift manager at an international brewery in Los Angeles, he's happy to see how it has all come together.
As he was finishing his undergraduate degree in biological engineering with an emphasis in food processing, Eric realized that he wanted to pair his technical engineering competency with a better understanding of the "big picture". How were food products manufactured and sold on a large scale? How were the engineering components of food processing related to logistics, marketing, sales, and the consumer impact down the road?
These questions led him to consider deepening his understanding of the supply chain from end-to-end, through a master of supply chain management.
When considering different programs, one of the things that stood out most to Eric about Michigan Ross was its focus on action-based learning. The program's Supply Chain Consulting Studio course, a capstone course students complete the final term of their program, creates opportunities to apply classroom learning to real business scenarios. Students are paired with a sponsor company and tasked with devising creative solutions to actual challenges facing the organization. Time is spent on-site collecting information and final presentations are delivered to company leaders.
I've always been someone who learns by doing — I liked that with the Supply Chain Consulting Studio, I'd be using my classroom learning to make an impact on an actual company.
Eric says the MSCM program also gave him the opportunity to actively learn alongside — and learn from — students in other graduate programs at Michigan Ross, including those in the Full-Time MBA program. While Eric says the MBA elective courses he took could be intimidating at first, he was able to build the confidence and connections that led him to compete on a team with Ross MBAs in a Patagonia case competition at UC Berkeley.
Eric sees that the network of peers he built while in the MSCM program will have a lasting impact. As he shares, "Something unique about the MSCM program is that it's very diverse, and the connections that I made throughout the program have been enduring. I'm still in touch with a lot of people — I was actually just at a wedding for one of my classmates in India."
As he looked ahead to life after Ross, Eric combined his own preparation and outreach with recruitment opportunities available on campus, including the multiple career fairs that major companies (including his current employer) regularly attend. In addition to making in-person connections with hiring teams, Eric also made use of resources from the Ross Career Development Office. In particular, he was able to participate in training for case-style interviews, which, while typically used in the consulting industry, came to be key in his packaging management interview. Eric also leveraged the office's resume review sessions and peer coaches: "The peer coach I practiced with had a lot of great tips. Talking to someone who had been through the process really helped."
When thinking about advice he'd give to those considering a Master of Supply Chain Management from Michigan Ross, Eric's advice is simple: "Ross provides a fantastic platform to be successful through its resources and career opportunities. However, at the end of the day, the only thing you can truly control is how prepared you are when those opportunities arise."