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4 Reasons To Study Supply Chain In California

Find out how studying a STEM-designated MBA in California helped this Nigerian student land a top supply chain management role with Amazon


Fri Apr 5 2024

There’s more to California than leafy palm trees, golden-sand beaches, and the Kardashians. 

It’s also a major supply chain hub. California is home to two of the US’s largest ports in LA and Long Beach and a key operations base for delivery companies such as UPS and Amazon.


It was a location that appealed to Nigerian-born Aniedi Effiong (pictured right), who had spent five years working in various telecommunication roles across Africa before feeling the need for a career change. 

In order to switch paths, Aniedi began to search for the right business program that could provide him with the necessary tools to upskill. 

So, when his brother suggested the STEM-designated MBA program at the University of California Riverside—which offers a specialization in Operations and Supply Chain Management—he leapt at the opportunity.  

“[Riverside] is one hour away from Los Angeles, which coming from Nigeria, it's like the City of Angels,” he jokes. “So, it was just a dream location.” 

Now an operations manager for the multi-billion-dollar tech conglomerate Amazon, his supply chain-focused MBA at Riverside has indeed proved to be a career blessing. 

But what are the four ways that studying in California helped him get there? 

1. Experience a campus catered for international students

Moving halfway around the world is no easy feat. Finding accommodation, organizing travel, and preparing to leave your home are all stressful endeavors. But when Aniedi stepped off his 11-hour flight from Nigeria to LAX, he was met with a more-than pleasant surprise. 

“An associate director of admissions actually came to the airport to pick me up,” he says. 

Having driven over an hour and a half to collect him and taxi him to his new room on-campus, the UCR faculty and staff immediately made clear their dedication to making each student feel at home. 

It’s an ethos that is maintained within the MBA program, where about half of the cohort are international. While at UCR, students can receive counselling from student advisors on everything from adjusting to US culture to improving their English.

“[UCR] was a family for me,” Aniedi says. 

Plus, the school also provides over 450 clubs for students to get involved with, from hiking, to art, to organizations for underrepresented groups. These provide a great way to build friendships.

2. Learn from state-of-the-art experiential teaching

During the program, one aspect that really impressed Aniedi was the high quality of the UCR teaching staff, which consists of renowned business professors from fields such as finance and management. 

Since students don’t specialize until their second year, attending a diverse range of classes helps broaden their career outlook.  

“Just hearing my professors talk exposed me to different areas of business,” Aniedi says.

High quality teaching is compounded upon by practical core courses, such as a professional development workshop requiring students to learn key skills that include networking, interviewing, and salary negotiation. 

They are then able to put this into practice by participating in a summer internship of their choosing, helping to prepare them for a chosen career path.

Aniedi was offered the opportunity to work with one of his professors in program management for the World Food Organization. Unfortunately, the opportunity fell through due to Covid travel restrictions, however, with travel now open again, students can intern with top companies such as IBM and Deloitte. 

3. Explore different areas of supply chain

While to some, supply chain may seem like a niche area, the field encompasses a wide range of skillsets. 

Once studying the supply chain specialization, students have the opportunity to pick from a wide selection of courses, which include Business Analytics for Management and Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

One optional course that Aniedi found particularly useful was Spreadsheet Modelling for Decision Making.

“Even today, I think of a problem and the first thing that comes to my head is how can I model this in Excel,” he says.

Equally, there are also plenty of opportunities to incorporate more innovative sustainability practices, such as ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles, into supply chain. 

According to the supply chain technology company Sedex, ESG practices are becoming increasingly popular in the industry in 2024—however, there is room for further innovation with regards to using data and analytics to improve companies’ environmental impact. 

“It’s a field where there's a demand for talent,” Aniedi adds. 

4. Access top job opportunities 

Undoubtedly, one of the top benefits of studying supply chain in California is the wealth of industries that use it as a major distribution hub. 

UCR endeavors to expose students to these nearby companies by hosting key industry speakers and organizing networking events, as well as offering students one-on-one career coaching through the Student Success Center.

Aniedi attributes the interview practice he was able to undergo while in the program to landing his Amazon Pathways role straight after graduation.

“The skills I gained my first year were sufficient that I was able to get a job just as I was finishing my internship,” he says. 

After moving to Dallas, Texas, for his role, he was quickly promoted to a senior manager position, where he now uses several key skills that he learned during his MBA in his day-to-day—including supply management, capacity planning, and people management.

“It's multifaceted,” he says. “You use people skills, organizational behavior, your understanding of yourself, and emotional intelligence.”

Other popular companies that supply chain specialization graduates go on to work with include Walt Disney, KPMG, and eBay. 

Reflecting on his decision to apply to UCR, Aniedi feels that for anyone considering a role in supply chain, California is a great place to launch their career. 

“UCR, especially, is the in the heart of the Inland Empire, so you're in a prime location for keeping your options open.”

Student Reviews

University of California, Riverside




On Campus

The campus and student life

UCR was unlike any campus I have vistes, the have a rich diverse campus culture that is welcoming and rewarding if you get involved. The faculty staff is super helpful. The school events were always a blast. Parking and dorming are something they could definitely work on.