Couple Turns to Certificate Program to Advance Careers
When food scientist Monica Jimenez was offered a promotion from her regional job in Costa Rica to the Mondelëz International, LLC main research and development center in East Hanover, it was an opportunity she felt she could not dismiss.
“Leaving family, friends and my job behind was very challenging,” says her husband, Alex Cerdas.
Jimenez agrees, “It was not an easy decision, but so far we’ve embraced it and made the most of it.” Part of that process included the two of them enrolling in the Supply Chain Management Certificate Program at County College of Morris.
Learning the Full Process
“We see the potential for us to move forward in our careers,” Jimenez says. “As a food scientist, I interact a lot with the supply chain department. I work at the beginning of the supply chain and I wanted to see how the product moves through that chain to the end consumer.”
Before coming to the United States, Cerdas worked as a business process analyst/project manager for Hewlett Packard for seven years. He is currently interviewing for jobs.
“When I came here, I decided to get involved in the community college to learn more about supply chains and operation issues, logistics, performance measurements – all the best practices and principles,” he says. “I also wanted to get to know more people and make contacts. Being involved in the community college environment is beneficial for me in that way.”
Jimenez recalls, “The teacher is very knowledgeable and led very engrossing discussions. In one class, we discussed supplier relationship problems. It gave me a chance to brainstorm before a meeting the next day where I shared how important it was to develop strong relationships with suppliers if you’re going to be closely integrated to ensure consistent quality.”
Jimenez holds a bachelor’s degree in food science from the Universidad de Costa Rica and Cerdas holds an associate in project management from the Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología. They both are certified project managers through the Project Management Institute.
“It’s been quite a journey for the last year and a half,” Cerdas reflects. “Our classmates are very special. They work in different industry segments and we learned a lot from each other.”