Challenges always exist, but a logistics executive advises against waiting for the perfect moment to start a degree program. “The right time doesn’t ever come.”
As director of logistics operations, Thiago Scantamburlo manages 180 people in four main warehouses for international healthcare giant Roche Diagnostics
During the COVID-19 crisis, work in the warehouses became even more urgent, as Roche has shipped hundreds of thousands of SARS-CoV-2 tests per week throughout the U.S. since mid-March, all while developing and maintaining guidelines to keep employees safe. The work is sophisticated, highly automated and, “very cool,” according to Scantamburlo.
“While it has been a terrible pandemic that has taken many lives, COVID-19 has been a proud moment for supply chain and logistics,” Scantamburlo said. “If anything, this crisis has highlighted the importance of a well-executed supply chain. If our essential workers are not here to pick and pack, we, as a country, don’t eat. And we don’t get the medicines we need to stay healthy.”
The challenges Scantamburlo has already faced may be key to his ability to thrive under these unprecedented conditions. Born and raised in Brazil, he came to the U.S. as an exchange student and earned an associate degree in business administration from Mesa Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. His career took him to California, then back to Brazil, and back to the U.S. again. He was hired by Roche for its operations in Brazil, then had the opportunity to come back to the U.S. in his present role.
Along the way he earned two M.B.A. degrees.
A Two-Hour Commute and Sprint to Class
Scantamburlo recalls many hard times in achieving those degrees. During his first stint in graduate school in Brazil, he had a two-hour commute in the morning—two subway rides and two buses to get to work. After the workday ended, he took public transportation to campus, but he also had to run a half-mile sprint to get to class. Money was tight, so he couldn’t afford a cab to shorten the trip. On the route home after work and school, he sometimes fell asleep. Fellow passengers would wake him up so he wouldn’t miss his stop. After falling into bed at midnight, he began the routine all over early the next day.
“I talked to my wife through Post-It notes on the refrigerator,” Scantamburlo recalls.
While he worked on an online MBA, Scantamburlo was traveling internationally for work, so it took him three years to finish a degree that would have, under normal conditions, taken 18 months.
That situation was also not ideal. “If you wait for the perfect moment to earn a degree or return to school, the right time doesn’t ever come,” he said.
Education is worth the sacrifice, he says. “People can take your car, your house. People can never take your knowledge,” Scantamburlo says. “When you invest in your own brand, it’s your own. No one can take it.”
College Campus Resources
Colleges and universities have resources, so if you are enrolled as a student and have a need, just ask. Your college or university and the local community want to provide the support you need to succeed, including tutoring and learning resources, wellness and career services.
- Childcare can be difficult to find when you’re trying to get your degree. Some college campuses, such as IUPUI, operate childcare facilities.
- Clothing isn’t always in the budget. IUPUI’s Paws Closet serves students of IUPUI. Students may shop twice per month and are welcome to take 4 clothing items and 2 accessory items free of charge. Paw’s Closet also takes appointments for special services such as interview preparation.
- Counseling services are available on most college campuses, or referrals to community resources are available.
- Disability services are your legal right. Don’t hesitate to connect with the disability services offices on your campus.
- Food insecurity is a fact for many students. IU offers the Crimson Cupboard food pantry offering free food to IU Bloomington students who cannot otherwise afford it. Stocked by donations and staffed by volunteers, this special food pantry lessens the effects of poverty and food insecurity in the community. Many other schools offer something similar. Bear Necessities Food Pantry at Ivy Tech, Sycamore Pantry at Indiana State University, ACE Campus Food Pantry at Purdue University and Grenadier Grab n’ Go at IU Southeast, which also offers personal care items, are just some examples.