Or: Why I’m an Operations and Supply Chain Major

The email below is a long-winded answer to someone’s question as to what interests me about supply chain. The actual email sent was a tenth of the word vomit below, because the business world appreciates efficiency, but this first draft of the email was too true to myself to delete. So here it is, in all its unedited glory, for preservation’s sake.

I hope this email finds you well after last we spoke in November — I’m so sorry for the late response (China’s vendetta on Gmail is no joke–even with VPN it’s impossible to connect), but you asked me really good questions about why I’m in supply chain, and I want to make sure I answer fully.

Several times after returning to the States and seeing your email, I tried replying but it kept feeling like I was answering a college essay prompt and just not natural. It actually made me doubt at times whether I had any reason at all for choosing supply chain.

But this last week I started school again at UW, and being in class reminded me how much fun I had the first time I took a class in supply chain and operations. I struggled with my decision to study business a lot my first years in college, since the choice was heavily influenced by my parents, but last year I finally started being on board with my degree.

A lot of that had to do with me studying supply chain. Unlike finance or marketing or accounting, supply chain just makes sense to me. Not only does learning the material come easily, but it’s fun, like solving a puzzle or playing a game.

What’s more, I’m fascinated by supply chain applications in the real world. I can see the goods moving around and the interactions with the customers generating both monetary value and customer satisfaction; it’s not something I can fabric with words or numbers. I really believe operations is what makes a business relevant, and supply chain is the backbone that makes a business effective.

While in China, I saw many examples where supply chain and operations weren’t effective, or didn’t have due attention paid to optimizing resources and processes. On the other hand, logistics in China are extremely expedient (compared to the US), and I really want to know why that is or how other businesses could adopt similarly fast logistics.

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