Alumni Success Story: Daniel Golenbock, ZLOGb Alumni 2018 and Project Manager, Supply Chain Excellence at Clariant.
Flicking through your resume, anyone would be surprised to see that you speak Mandarin, French, Spanish and Japanese. How did you get such an international background?
During my last year of high school I was introduced to Japanese through a friend. I quickly found I had an affinity for it. By university, I wanted to broaden my horizons and decided to enroll in a Mandarin class, ultimately using the opportunity to study abroad. After graduating, I was relocated to China for work as I already had familiarity with the language and culture. As for French and Spanish, the university I attended was in Montreal and I did some volunteer work in Nicaragua where I made friends with whom I’ve kept in touch.
You managed to combine your professional career with the studies in supply chain management, taking first the 5 online courses and, afterwards, enrolling in the in-campus period at MIT in USA and ZLC in Spain. Did the MicroMasters methodology fit well into your schedule? Did the blended program give you the confidence to tackle new challenges at work?
The MicroMasters fit my work schedule very well. I had ample time evenings and weekends to listen to the lectures and do the assignments. It helped that each course was spread out over several weeks and there was a break between courses. I found the material interesting and the lessons helpful and concise. I looked forward to the classes knowing the material would help me towards my professional goals. I took every opportunity to apply what I learned at work. It also led me to study some of the topics, such as machine learning, in more depth. I continue to apply a lot of the quantitative topics in my current job.
Right before joining the program, you were working at Unilever as a Transportation Analyst. What was your biggest challenge working for one of the biggest consumer goods multinational company that owns more than 400 brands?
The biggest challenge I faced was to align transportation with other functions to implement strategic objectives. One lesson that Professor Caplice continually instilled in his online courses was to understand fundamental tradeoffs. Without contact and coordination between functional groups, it is very difficult to avoid making myopic decisions that inevitably lead to unintended consequences. One group’s solution is often another’s problem. Ultimately, we crafted solutions that increasingly considered tradeoffs between functions, for instance looking at truck load utilization versus cycle stock.
After graduating from the blended program, you were hired by the leading chemical company Clariant in Germany, what does your work entail?
At Clariant, my focus is on supply chain digitalization. This entails creating quantitative models and automated reports, applying machine learning methods, and creating interactive visualizations. An important aspect of my role is working with business units within the company to ensure the successful implementation of the systems we develop. I have been fortunate to work on a number of projects that span the vast domain of SCM. These have included among others inventory management, transportation, demand planning and end-to-end SCM performance management.
Any advice for those Micromaster students who are thinking about enrolling in the on-campus period at ZLC?
Take advantage of the opportunity to complete your training. Now that you understand the quantitative elements involved in your job, gain knowledge in the qualitative elements in a social setting where you can benefit from the input of your peers. Be ambitious and innovative when crafting your thesis proposal. Exchange knowledge with your classmates and professors. You may never have another chance to be surrounded by people who share your knowledge and enthusiasm for SCM. Take advantage of the career opportunities that are presented to you. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had both online and on campus. I would not be able to perform the tasks I am doing now or have the opportunities I have now without them.