Need a Major That Will Land You a Job? Look at OSCM
How does rice get from the field to a branded package on the shelves of your local grocery store?
During her summer internship at Lundberg Family Farms, Chico State Operations and Supply Chain (OSCM) major Lupita Aramburo is learning how the organic rice producer coordinates all facets of this hyper-connected business to achieve this—from harvesting to processing, to distribution and finally, retail and merchandising. It’s a complex process that involves communication between multiple departments and outside contractors, deep analysis of data, forecasting sales, and more.
In short: it all boils down to operations and supply chain management.
A buzzword in the business world, this global industry is expected to grow from $16 billion to nearly $60 billion by 2030. Every industry—from agriculture and retail to manufacturing and healthcare—must create efficient and sustainable supply chains to scale up and survive in omnichannel marketplaces. And like any growing industry, job prospects are strong. But, what exactly is the supply chain and how do you get into the field?
Chico State College of Business professor Fariba Aminalroayae explains: “The supply chain is a set of interconnected activities that involve the production, distribution, inventory, and delivery of goods and services across the globe.”
Aminalroayae has been teaching OSCM courses at Chico State since 2017 and calls the major the University’s best-kept secret.
“If you are a student with strong decision-making and problem-solving skills, can both analyze data and work with a diverse group of people, then OSCM is an excellent major as well as a valuable minor to supplement other business degrees,” said Aminalroayae.
The career opportunities are also incredibly diverse because the supply chain applies to almost every facet of the consumer journey—how a product is made and distributed is becoming increasingly important to people buying goods and services. Almost all OSCM students are hired at or right after their graduation, with companies such as Apple, Chevron, Cisco, Dell, Intel, and Micron bringing in graduating Wildcats.
For Aramburo, the chance to advance her career led her to return to Chico State as a full-time student after eight years with Smuckers Natural Foods. She is set to graduate in December with bachelor’s degrees in OSCM and organizational communications. A returning student who first came to Chico State in 2008, she’s a natural leader among her peers and has served as the president of the OSCM Club on campus.
In addition to conducting multiple workshops in the field, the club offers students a place to network with one another and connect with companies that are looking for future employees. It’s not uncommon for students in the club, which is open to all majors, to gather in the lounge in Trinity Hall to study, grab a snack, simply relax, or discuss current projects. Last year, club members worked with a renowned local caterer, Bacio Catering, to analyze their operations so they could reduce food waste. The club is planning to do that same thing this year with Éstom Jámani Dining.
Another perk of the OSCM Club, which is guided by Aminalroayae, is the annual formal networking dinner each October when local companies come and interact with students. Last year, four students left the dinner having secured internships.
“One of the big advantages of being in this major is that we really get the chance to know each of the students and can help set them up on a career path that is right for them,” said Aminalroayae. “We try to help students get into the industry they want with the right training.”
These training offerings include the opportunity to learn SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) skills. Chico State, which has had a relationship with SAP since 1997, is one of five Global Hosting Centers for SAP software. Students get to learn directly from SAP professionals and can earn their SAP certificate, which is offered once a year. Many employers hire Chico State students because of their SAP skills according to Aminalroayae.
Considered an option within the Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems, OSCM is 24 units of curriculum within the 72-unit major. Classes cover everything from labor laws to organizational design. Students who are interested in learning more should connect with an undergraduate advisor.
Meanwhile, as Aramburo wraps up her summer internship and her degree, she is honing her data analytics skills and preparing for the future.
“I’m both excited for the future and feel like I’m ready for this career, but at the same time a little sad to be leaving because [OSCM] has been such a good experience for me.”