11 questions with MSCM student Brandon Villarreal

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 Brandon Villarreal.

MSCM student Brandon Villarreal

MSCM student Brandon Villarreal

1) Where are you from?

I am originally from Odessa, TX, but moved to Honolulu, HI when I was 13 and graduated high school there.

2) Are you currently working? If so, what is your job title?

I am currently a Veteran Peer Mentor with Student Veteran Life here on campus. As a peer advisor, I mainly provide clerical support for the Student Veteran Life office and provide information about our services to fellow veterans. Also, I provide logistical support for special events such as the Calling Home Ceremony we hosted at the Intellectual House. I encourage all UW veterans to stop by our office in room 327 at the HUB or check out our website to see what support and services we provide.

Prior to this, I was a warehouse supervisor for Bakersfield Pipe & Supply’s Seattle branch and a logistics manager in the Army (2012-2016) before that.

3) How do you think your skills as a logistics manager in the Army translates to the MSCM program?

Managing a logistics platoon comprised of 45 personnel and 19 vehicles through multiple training exercise provided me a wealth of project management experience. There were elements of process improvement, standardization, and operations management which tie into our course curriculum. As a student in the MSCM program, I’m looking to develop the skills necessary to forecast accurately, procure quality products cost-effectively, and how to best present this information to superiors at work.

Brandon with his platoon right before his unit deactivated.

Brandon with his platoon right before his unit deactivated.

4) What attracted you to Foster and the MSCM program?

The MSCM program is what initially lead me into researching Foster. I was extremely impressed with the school’s reputation, national accolades, exceptional job placement, and alumni network. After personally visiting the school for a MSCM information session and sitting in on a class last year, I knew this is absolutely where I wanted to be.

5) What kind of connections have you made with your classmates/larger business community while in the program?

Some of the students in our program are currently working professionals with ties to the aerospace industry, national security, and the IT industry just to name a few. Some are even entrepreneurs who have already started their own businesses. There are plenty of connections to be made within our class alone. Also, our guest speakers include the senior supply chain manager of Boeing’s 737 project, a senior supply chain planner from Starbucks, the owners and founders of a local pet food startup, as well as an accomplished career-coach/author.

6) What do you think about the supply chain field in Seattle?

Seattle is an extremely exciting location to be a part of the supply chain field considering we have behemoths such as Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, Microsoft, Nordstrom, and PACCAR in the vicinity just to name a few. There’s not many other locations around the world that have so many sought after employers in such a close proximity. In my opinion, the job market here for our field is second to none.

7) What kind of impact would you like to have on the supply chain field?

Obviously I hope to have a very positive impact on the supply chain field. It is my goal that when future Foster MSCM students are studying textbooks regarding our field, they see my name under the list of examples for “things-to-do” rather than the “things-not-to-do.”

8) How do you balance school with other life priorities?

Balancing school and the rest of life has been manageable thanks to the work compatible hours the MSCM program provides. Having classes during evenings and Saturday is very ideal for most people with 9-5 type work schedules.

9) What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy working out at the IMA, running, fly-fishing on my paddle board, hanging out at the Student Veteran Life office, and of course watching the Husky football team fight their way to a national championship! Go Dawgs!

Brandon Villareal fishing with his brother

Brandon fishing with his little brother

10) What’s been your favorite part of the program so far?

Just getting to know and interact with students and faculty in the program has been my favorite part so far. It’s awesome being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals with similar goals and passion.

11) What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about applying to Foster’s MSCM program?

I recommend researching career positions you hope to earn coming out of the program as well as the work environment for companies you want to be a member of. Also, check out some TED Talks or maybe even an edX course related to supply chain to see if this is really what you want to do. Finally, studying for the GRE or GMAT as soon as possible can only help.

Learn more about Foster’s Master of Supply Chain Management program

Active duty service-members, reservist, and military veterans can find more information and military-specific resources through the Foster Veterans Association, University of Washington’s Office of Student Veteran Life, and by contacting Master of Supply Chain Management program staff.

This post is part of a series where we ask current students to answer 11 questions about their experience at Foster. Explore the 11 questions tag for more interviews.

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