Name: Jack Chiu
Company Location: Portland, Oregon
Current Job Title: Project Manager
MIM Graduation Date: December 2009
MIM: How did you find your job and what was the job search process like?
JC: The job posting was communicated by the COO of LGInternational (LGI) to SBA Graduate program. With the recommendation from Cliff Allen [MIM Academic Director], the interview process was shorter than I expected. At the time, I was also in the process of applying for a New Graduate program at Vestas but the selecting process took several months. The job offer from LGI came quickly and I started working a week before my hooding ceremony.
MIM: Please tell us a little bit about your interview process.
JC: The interview process was fast. The initial interview took about 45 minutes. The second interview occurred a week later and lasted about five hours: two hours before lunch, lunch with one executive, and two hours after lunch. One thing that stood out was that the executives were looking for a good “FIT.” While experience and skill set were important to the executives, they really focused on my attitude and personality. I think the combination of my work experience in the technology field and my [Mandarin] language skill also stood out.
MIM: Is your current job in line with your previous work/professional experience or is this a career change?
JC: It is a career change. My previous job was pretty much one-dimensional but my new job covers many aspects of what I learned in the MIM program in global supply chain management. The combination of my experience in the technology field (eight years in semiconductor manufacturing), my Air Force training in the medical field (four years in the clinical lab in Microbiology), plus the fluency in Mandarin turned out to be a good fit for LGI. LGI is a small but global company with locations in Portland, Wuxi (China), and Penang (Malaysia). LGI’s key product lines are used in the bio-med and high tech industry. MIM courses allowed me to tie everything together.
MIM: How do you think the MIM program helps you in your current position?
JC: The program helped me to think critically and analyze the problems and opportunities systematically. The instructors helped me to see the “big picture” and come up with a solution that benefits the company as a whole, not just the department you are in charge of. The case studies in many of the MIM courses are real world issues that prepared me for the challenges at my current job.
MIM: What is your job like on a daily basis, generally speaking?
JC: I have three main responsibilities. 1) Directly responsible for two key accounts and manage new products and Vendor Managed Inventory Program. One of the accounts is a local company in Beaverton so I have very close contact with its Director of Global Sourcing. After taking over the account, I was able to grow the account from $250K annual sales to $400K. Currently I am working on a project with the customer to transitioning some components from Mexico to China. 2) Global Sourcing for finished goods. After our Solution Manage Team determined it’s cheaper to buy than to make, I am responsible for working with our Wuxi team to select a supplier, set pricing, produce tooling and submit first article for approval. Once the engineering work is done, I am responsible for issuing purchase orders and occasionally negotiate for a cost down once the product is way into the production cycle. 3) Another one of my responsibility consists of managing projects relating to “unique” products in the label and nameplate industry. One example would be to work on process improvement on a Film Insert Molding component for a commercial treadmill used in health clubs. Another example would be to create a touch screen protective film for the aerospace industry.
MIM: What is a typical day for you like at work?
JC: On a typical day I spend most of my mornings working on customer related tasks and I use my afternoons to work on supplier related tasks. A good portion of my time is spent talking to the customers and understand their requirements. Once I have a good idea on what’s needed, I spend more time on researching label materials for different applications and talking to my team members on artwork proof and production planning. On average I spend about 4-5 hours in meetings each week, which isn’t too bad. I also spend time meeting suppliers and learn about the new products and services they provide. Due to time difference, I stay late at work to make phone calls to our Wuxi team and discuss on-going sourcing projects and quality/delivery issues. Lately I’ve found that with the smart phone and iPad, I’m constantly checking e-mails, even when it’s 10:00pm at night (1:00pm in China).
MIM: What do you really love most about your job, position or company?
JC: I’m never bored. Our company serves many unique markets in high tech, electronics, and medical, so we have a diverse product line and therefore, a lot of issues can occur. Working in a small company means you have to wear many hats. I can be solving a production issue one morning and then having lunch with a supplier that afternoon and learning about a new material. I also get to visit customers and work with their design engineers to come up with solutions. Occasionally I travel to China and help out with the operations offshore.
MIM: What do you hope for your future career plans?
JC: I would like to stay in the area of operation management and supply chain management. I hope to move toward managing an entire unit in China and help with the business growth in the China market.
MIM: What do you think is your most valuable take-away from the MIM program?
JC: The most valuable take-way from MIM is how I learned to adapt to new environments and be flexible. The three-week Asia trip was a good example of that. This helped me to take advantage of the new opportunities that are out there.
MIM: What is your favorite memory of the MIM program?
JC: Seriously, too many to mention. The team building excursion before the program started was one of my favorite but I can’t name them all.
MIM: Do you have any advice for current and future MIM students?
JC: Make every moment a learning opportunity and have fun doing it. Pick the brains of the professors as much as possible. Show up during their office hours. I guarantee you will get their 100% attention 99% of the time.