Abdel Kader Diallo spent several years working in logistics and customer service for global shipping and mining companies. When he wanted to take his career to the next level, he decided to enroll in the Eli Broad College of Business.
Diallo, who grew up in Ivory Coast and then moved to Guinea, earned a bachelor’s degree from a university in Morocco and then joined shipping-container giant Maersk. After several years with the company, including two in South Africa, he left to join Rio Tinto, a mining company overseeing Simandou, a major iron ore project in Guinea. Diallo was a travel superintendent for Rio Tinto, managing the logistics of people.
“On the last project, one of the biggest challenges was infrastructure,” Diallo says. “We needed to build from scratch a port and a rail line. It made me realize how important supply chain was to projects in West Africa. I decided that was something I really wanted to do.
“When I decided to do my MBA, I started looking for good supply chain schools in the United States, and Michigan State kept popping up in my research,” he adds. “And even from home I used to like American college sports and follow them, and Michigan State is a good sports school. So I felt it would be a good match.”
Indeed, Broad’s graduate supply chain management program has been ranked No. 2 in the country by U.S News and World Report for more than 10 years.
Diallo arrived at Broad in August 2013 as the 2013 MBA Fulbright Scholar. The Fulbright Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department, provides Diallo with tuition, a monthly stipend, and regular enrichment opportunities.
The process of adapting to the United States was expedited by Broad’s small program size, he says.
“That helped me because we all know each other;” he says. “It helped me to get integrated quite quickly.”
Soon after enrolling, Diallo, like other MBA students, began searching for an internship for the following summer. He landed a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City in its consulting practice.
“The internship search process has been very, very good,” Diallo says. “It helped me get to know more about corporate America.”
He also joined the Graduate Supply Chain Management Association, which takes monthly trips to companies and organizations to learn how they manage their supply chains. Each concentration has its own student association, offering hands-on experience and a chance to network with fellow students.
Diallo says he would like to work in the United States after graduation for the remaining time on his visa and then return to Guinea. He will have a job waiting for him at Rio Tinto, he says, and his time at Broad should allow him to move into a senior manager role in operations.
“My expectations of Broad were that I was going to get a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge and network with companies,” Diallo says. “My expectations have been exceeded. Broad is an environment where students work in a collaborative environment–teamwork is really emphasized. The quality of lectures is very high, and they also try to make you experience real life.”