Jaikar Chawla, an English major, embarked on an unusual journey toward a corporate position in supply chain management at Kohl’s. As a Sourcing Coordinator, Jaikar frequently juggles roles at the crossroads of data analysis, negotiation, and communication. On certain days, he focuses on negotiating with vendors to ensure competitive pricing, while at other times, he delves into intricate data analysis.
Despite the valuable analytical and extraction skills gained from his English studies, Jaikar recognized some gaps in his abilities, particularly in project management and business analytics. Recognizing the importance of these skills in his corporate role and their potential to propel his career further, he was motivated to refine and enhance them.
“Pursuing my English degree gave me a wide variety of valuable skills. However, there were fundamental aspects of working in corporate supply chain management that I needed to learn myself. Taking a course in project management was the ideal solution to help me develop this diverse skillset while learning how to manage my workload more effectively.”
This led him to Pathstream’s Business Analytics and Operations Certificate program.
Tapping education benefits to improve his project management capabilities
Through his employer, Jaikar had access to a curated catalog of educational opportunities he could pursue at no cost. He chose this particular certificate because it promised to bridge the gap between his existing analytical capabilities and the operational demands of his role at Kohl’s.
“I used Kohl’s education benefits to take the program for free. I sought a business-related course and discovered the Business Analytics and Operations Certificate. The word ‘analytics’ caught my attention, and I was drawn to the course because it offered both analytics and project management. I could see how it would give me a strong base for my career,” he said.
Diving into the Pathstream experience
Jaikar appreciated the layout of the Pathstream courses. “I liked how everything was organized,” he comments. The platform’s user-friendly design and features for tracking progress and previewing future content appealed to him.
He enjoyed the exam structure, which fostered independent learning and self-driven improvement. The course’s modular design offered flexibility, allowing him to learn at his pace, and the content was divided into manageable sections.
“Initially, I was overwhelmed by the scope of the course – with terms like business analytics, product management, and Scrum – and I’d put off engaging with it. However, online learning offers unique benefits; Pathstream provides many resources to help you understand the material and stay accountable because you need to learn in a classroom. My advice to others would be not to be intimidated by the process. The course layout on Pathstream is intuitive, and once you start, the material is more approachable than you might expect. Take advantage of the resources like office hours and more to work through the more challenging sections of the program.”
Unlocking productivity with new skills
The Pathstream program introduced Jaikar to various hard and soft skills immediately applicable to his role. “The program taught me the business analytics fundamentals and how to use data visualization tools like Tableau. That’s been an incredible asset in my work,” Jaikar shares.
Beyond the technical skills, Jaikar found that the program also significantly improved his understanding of project management. He says, “While my team doesn’t strictly follow methodologies like Scrum or Agile, knowing their purpose has helped me adapt my workflow.”
The program’s lessons on stakeholder management were particularly eye-opening for Jaikar. “I hadn’t considered it before the course. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of different people in a project has given me a fresh perspective on my job and significantly improved my interactions,” he shared.
The skills he developed have had a direct impact on his productivity at Kohl’s. By employing his newfound stakeholder management skills, Jaikar can better comprehend his team members’ motivations, allowing him to allocate his time and effort more effectively.
Understanding the significance of individual roles within a project, he solicits input from key influencers to guide the project’s direction. He notes, “It’s pivotal to recognize who’s leading the project vs. whose involved in one aspect of the project, as it allows me to prioritize feedback and tailor high-level recapping as needed.”
Seeking promotion and career growth
Since completing the Business Analytics and Operations Certificate program, Jaikar is ready to grow in his career.
“This learning experience has enhanced my prospects for advancement. It’s not about ticking boxes for a direct promotion but understanding our company’s landscape. Typically, we take several lateral steps before a vertical promotion. This program has accelerated my growth in these lateral roles by providing me with a solid project management and business analytics framework to work with. As a result, I can advance faster in a role, which means my next lateral move—and eventual promotion—could come sooner.”
As he looks forward to growing at his current company, his next step is to gain a more wholistic understanding of the supply chain business”
From analyzing literature to analyzing cost breakdowns in the supply chain, Jaikar Chawla’s journey might not be traditional, but it is undoubtedly inspiring. The Business Analytics and Operations Certificate program from Pathstream has empowered Jaikar with the skills he needs to thrive in his job and continues to enable him to manage his projects more effectively.
Pathstream can help you transform your career, irrespective of your starting point. Learn more about the programs we offer through your employer.
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