Three former students of EAE Business School’s Master in Supply Chain Management in Madrid have achieved the SCPro Level One certification of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), based in the United States. We had the chance to talk to Héctor Sicilia, Alberto Marina and Alberto Rodríguez Oliveira to find out about their preparations, their experiences taking the examination and how it can help them professionally. “I advise EAE students to study to get the certification”, they agreed.
The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals is the world's leading professional association for logistics and operations. Thanks to an agreement achieved with this, students could take the exam in the school facilities. It was the second group of students in the exam and get the certification, as were the first to do Anahí Arna y Vernon Gewa.
How does it feel to have got the certification?
H. Sicilia: It is a huge source of satisfaction after the great efforts it took to achieve it.
A. Marina: The feeling of a job well done. Getting the certification was one of the challenges I set myself this year and the last one I had to achieve.
A. Rodríguez: After 4 hours of examination and 160 questions, it feels very satisfying to have gained the certification. The test itself requires a great deal of concentration. Despite having prepared, you always feel that something could go wrong. We had to read a lot of documentation and prepare each of the 8 learning blocks that it consists of. So having finally made it feels very satisfying.
Why was it so important to you to get the certification?
H. Sicilia: It was important for me because it is a validation of my knowledge of Supply Chain Management.
A. Marina: I don’t think that the certification in itself is important. All it does is accredit that you have a certain level of knowledge in SCM. The important thing is what you learn in order to gain it.
A. Rodríguez: The CSCMP is an association of Supply Chain professionals with over 50 years’ history of activity and a presence in 50 countries. There may be other professional associations that offer Supply Chain certifications, but SCPro is the only one that encompasses all of the functional areas of Supply Chain Management, while the others just focus on specific modules. I think that is not only what makes it so important, but also why it is so complex and requires so many hours of preparation.
What encouraged you to take on this challenge?
H. Sicilia: Self-improvement and the desire to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the increasingly broad and complex field of SCM. Getting this certification is a real challenge in terms of time, effort and perseverance, but also a personal and professional motivation that I encourage anybody who may be interested to try.
A. Marina: At 47 years old and after 20 years in the same company, you suddenly find yourself unemployed and there are big question marks hanging over your future. Then, the opportunity to update and specialize your knowledge comes up. The certification is a way of measuring the extent to which you are prepared. It is not only a way of getting into a profession that I am passionate about, but also to prove to myself that it is possible to study in English, which had always been my Achilles’ heel.
A. Rodríguez: What drove me is that being accredited by the CSCMP at an international level not only enables you to standardize terms, processes and models, but it also lets you verify your professional competences within a global framework. In addition, both the SCPro certification and the CSCMP enable you to build relationships with professional from all over the world, giving you networking opportunities and access to new trends.
How has your Master at EAE helped you to prepare for the certification?
H. Sicilia: EAE’s Master in Supply Chain Management has more or less the same structure and so it gives you the foundation you need to understand the issues. As well as the tuition, the Master gave us the opportunity to have a face-to-face class in each module (eight in total) so that we could familiarize ourselves with the content, structure and methodology to tackle the examination successfully.
A. Marina: The Master helps you get the certification by providing academic support and guidance. The certification lecturers are really committed and they give you constant support to the extent that they are practically available 24 hours a day. The EAE Master is a good starting point, a first contact in order to get the certification.
A. Rodríguez: A large proportion of the content that we had to analyse in order to prepare for the certification, we had already covered over the course of the Master, which really gives you a head start when it comes to preparing for the certification. Moreover, EAE Business School took an active role in terms of facilitating contact between us and the CSCMP Roundtable Spain, both in terms of the programme director’s office and the coordination team, which gave active support for organizing examination preparation activities, letting us use classrooms and coordinating each of the sessions that we did.
What is the key to tackling the examination successfully as a student?
H. Sicilia: Attending the input sessions, reading all of the material and studying on a daily basis so that, in the last stage of the preparation process, you can do loads of mock examinations, in order to gain speed in terms of reading and understanding, so that you can answer more quickly.
A. Marina: Consistency. Planning where you want to get to and when, setting dates for each stage. This does not mean that you cannot vary your plan. In fact, just the opposite, it is a way of measuring your progress and adjusting your objectives. But always being constant, spending the scheduled amount of time of each stage.
A. Rodríguez: The key is preparing for the certification examination. We went to eight sessions and a few extra activities in order to gain insight into the examination. The team of professionals at CSCMP Roundtable Spain, made up of Hernán Vazquez, Fernando Gómez Calmaestra and Andrés Cortijos, ran these sessions and they were crucial for getting the certification, as well as becoming great motivators throughout the process. It is also important to review all of the material, prepare each module and identify your week points in order to reinforce them.
Would you advise other students at the School to try to get certification?
H. Sicilia: Yes, for sure. Anyone who has drive and a desire to improve themselves will be really motivated to get the certification.
A. Marina: I would recommend that they study to get it because, as I mentioned, the important thing is what you learn. In the case of this certification, you learn some extremely interesting things, not to mention the technical vocabulary involved in SCM in English.
A. Rodríguez: Without a doubt. It is an international certification accredited by one of the leading associations of Supply Chain professionals, and it is recognized at a global level. It should also be highlighted that, if you prepare to get the certification while you are taking the Master, you get access to the preparation sessions that are run, giving you support from the professionals of the Roundtable and the School’s faculty.
Sicilia, you are an Import-Export Salesman at Hamburg Süd. How can this certification help you professionally and how will logistics evolve in the future within your sector?
Professionally, I think it has equipped me with the tools I need to take on new and more complex positions, at both an internal and external level. Personally I believe that the world of logistics, and not only in this sector, is very soon going to undergo huge changes together with communication costs moving towards zero, the "internet of things" and 3D printing. In order to understand and move forward with these changes, our best strategy is always based on quality training and opportunities to apply this knowledge in a private company.
Marina, you work as a Repair Manager at Ingenico Group. How can this certification help you professionally?
The job I do at Ingenico is in the Operations Department, so everything I learned is fundamental for performing my role. Concepts such as simply customer returns, availability of replacement parts and personalized service are key aspects of satisfying the customer in the globalized world we now live in. This is just one of the areas covered by the certification. However, there is much more to it than that. Constantly striving for improvement in the area, drives me to work with my colleagues in other departments linked to mine, understand what they do and why, and put forward ideas that might add value to our work in some way.
Rodríguez, where do you work at the moment? How can this certification help you professionally?
It has all worked out perfectly. I came over to Spain from Venezuela to take the Master in Supply Chain Management. When I finished, I stated preparing to get this certification and, this month, I am joining a company specializing in the distribution of tyres across the Iberian Peninsula, as Supply Manager. Both the certification and the Master will enable me to bring ideas to the business and continue developing as a professional in the sector.
Congratulations to all three former students for getting their certification!