From Burma to Cleveland: Thu Ra's road to success

Posted 3.3.2014

Thu Ra, Weatherhead ORSC studentThu Ra is originally from Burma and came to the United States five and a half years ago to study in Iowa. While in Iowa he took advantage of some great opportunities he made for himself by gaining experience at Quaker Oats and parent company Pepsico working as a supply chain intern during two different time periods.  

After Cornell College, Thu Ra brought his talents to Weatherhead School of Management's Operations Research and Supply Chain Master’s program at Case Western Reserve University. Thu Ra spent the 18 months in the program polishing his resume and learning key skills from Weatherhead’s top professors. While in school he studied for and passed the first section of the CPIM exam, was elected to vice president of student affairs and became a regular at all Weatherhead community events.

Because of Thu Ra’s ambition, tireless work ethic and involvement, he was chosen by MSM-Operations Research and Supply Director, Matthew Maloney, for an internship at cosmetics giant, L’Oreal in nearby Solon, OH. There Thu Ra worked part-time during the spring semester and into the early summer applying the skills he had learned in school and learning other key skills such as SAP that ultimately made him so attractive to perspective employers.

To know Thu Ra he is always smiling and always eager to meet new people. This great trait, along with his analytical skills, is what helped him land a summer internship with the Pubco Corporation. There he gained more experience working with the Smith Corona brand and ultimately lead to them hiring him full time working with Buckeye Business Products, a Pubco company, as a supply chain analyst.

Thu Ra really made the most of his 18 months here at Case Western Reserve and is an example of how our international students who embrace the opportunity can flourish. Maloney says “If I could recruit ten more Thu Ra’s per class, my job would be easy! Every employer who met him loved him and his work ethic and drive made him easy to recommend to our top partners as we knew he would do well.”  

Thu Ra also gained some valuable experience while working with the Cleveland Clinic on his project for his Six Sigma course. There Thu Ra and a few classmates worked in the Clinic’s Pharmacy group where they applied key analytical skills they learned in previous classes, coupled with Lean and Six Sigma principles learned in their Six Sigma Course, to help outline a suggested change that could save the Clinic up to $2.7M annually by reducing lost margin. At the end of the project he earned his Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

When asked to discuss his time here at Case Western Reserve, Thu Ra spoke of an Asian proverb when he said, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago … the second best time is now!” This really sums up Thu Ra’s desire to succeed and how he believes that now is the time to make your own success. See how you can make steps towards success just as Thu Ra did!

Read about another OR/SC student's internship experience

Learn more about the MSM-OR/SC program at Weatherhead

Visit our Life at Weatherhead blog to read more about the student experience

Interested in learning more about Weatherhead programs? Request more information or apply now, or register for one of over 70 open enrollment courses through Executive Education.

Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.