Alumni Success Story: Chris McDuling, ZLOG 2011 and Global Supply Chain & Sourcing Manager at Trouw Nutrition. See profile on Linkedin
Reading your resume, we realize that studying the MIT Zaragoza Master in Supply Chain (ZLOG) was just a starting point to further your professional career internationally. How did you become interested in joining the ZLOG program? When did you first become aware of Zaragoza Logistics Center and their collaboration with MIT?
The ZLOG program certainly launched my career to international level, which was exactly my goal. I was interested in an international masters program in supply chain management, and discovered the MIT-SCALE network, specifically the ZLOG program. After extensive research and comparisons, the question was: “What could be better than combining a world class supply chain education while living in Spain?” That’s a rhetorical question. Nothing could be better.
So far, you’ve been working in South Africa, Belgium, Australia and Germany for powerful companies such as Volvo, Cummins, Boeing and Clariant. How has the ZLOG master program influenced your career path? What are the most significant aspects of the master that you have applied at work to succeed?
The ZLOG program made me aware of the key drivers and trade-offs in supply chains, and how to look beyond the surface when looking at a given situation. While the business environment and competitive drivers are different in each industry, the fundamental principles of supply chain management are still relevant, just leveraged differently. Being able to use a combination of proven basic principles and analytical skill has helped me to succeed in several industries. The ZLOG network has also been instrumental on more than one occasion, even reaching as far as Australia to connect me to hiring managers that ultimately turned into the next step in my career.
You never stand still, don´t you? In the middle of the current pandemic, you decide to make a move and take an exciting opportunity with Trouw Nutrition: new role, new company, new country and new sector. Since May, you have been the Global Supply Chain Manager of the global leader in animal nutrition. How do these new responsibilities compare with those of previous jobs? Are they more demanding or simply different?
Never standing still is the story of my life. As a family we decided to make the move before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Starting a new role in a new company, new country, and new industry while working from home and meeting colleagues on video calls was very unusual. 2020 certainly has been a very challenging year, and I sincerely hope that everyone reading this is doing well under the circumstances.
Trouw Nutrition, as part of Nutreco, has the mission of feeding the future. Overcoming the challenge of rising global demand for food, while using less of our natural resources and adapting to changing consumer preferences is an ideal challenge for any supply chain professional looking to use their skills while making a difference. For me it is more demanding than previous roles in a positive sense, as there are many opportunities to make a real difference.
What are the plans for Trouw Nutrition for the coming years? Would you like to nurture your new team with ZLOGgers?
Absolutely! Having spent nine years in industry after graduating, it is very clear that ZLOGers bring a deeper understanding of supply chain management than most other graduates. Their passion for improving supply chains combined with a mastery of the subject matter makes them highly valuable. As we at Trouw Nutrition continue to build supply chains that Feed the Future, we could certainly use ZLOGers to help us.
Think back ten years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your Master program?
The ZLOG program has been one of the best decisions of my life, certainly in my career. During the ten months in Zaragoza I made lifelong friends, learned a great deal from the faculty and my classmates, and worked hard to make the most of a wonderful opportunity. Honestly speaking there is nothing I wish I knew about the program beforehand. The admissions process was very informative, and throughout the program the staff, faculty, and fellow students provided all the help I needed whether it was related to coursework, life in Spain, or putting me in touch with companies looking to recruit. Thank you to all the faculty and staff, you make the ZLOG program an unforgettable experience!