Posted 4.9.14

Sharon Rivera’s journey to her position as Senior Manager, North America Seller Risk Management at PayPal Inc. began in the MSM-Operations Research and Supply Chain Management program.

Recipient of a merit scholarship, Rivera came to Case Western Reserve University from the Bronx, NY and excelled in the program. One of Rivera’s more influential professors at Weatherhead was Professor Matthew Sobel. Sobel was also originally from the Bronx and made Rivera feel at ease in a new city.

After graduating in 2002, Rivera accepted a position with American Greetings and stayed in the greater Cleveland area. When an opportunity arose to join Progressive Insurance a year and a half later, Rivera pursued it.

“They [Progressive Insurance] were great in helping me shape my career by allowing me to move between jobs,” she said. At Progressive, Rivera had opportunities to be exposed to three different areas. The company “continuously aligned with my interests and career development while working with them…for just under three years.”

Rivera returned to New York City after taking an offer from financial giant American Express. She moved from Manager to Senior Manager and then onto a Director role while at AMEX, applying a lot of what she learned during the MSM-OR/SC program as she got more involved in risk management. Rivera also traveled the world for two of her six years at AMEX managing a credit portfolio for 21 countries.

Wanting to expand her knowledge and responsibility in the risk management area, Rivera found a position at Ebay’s PayPal Inc. and applied. The move took her from New York to California, where she works today.

When Rivera started in her position at PayPal, she had no direct reports. She now manages a group of six with more to hire. As an alumna of the MSM-OR/SC program, Rivera stays connected, via the ORSC LinkedIn group, to some of the program’s recent graduates who are looking to start their careers in risk management.

“Our recruiters don’t always look at the type of candidates I would like, so I’ve expanded my search to consider students from my program so that the candidate pool expands and gives us a better group of applicants,” Rivera says. “I am grateful for my time at Case Western Reserve,” she continues, “and the opportunity that my merit scholarship gave me.” She hopes to stay in touch and to help future graduates any way she can.

The MSM-OR/SC program has continued to grow over the past five years—from 16 to 57 students—in order to accommodate the demand in the marketplace for operations research and supply chain graduate degrees. Connecting and keeping in touch with alumni like Rivera is an integral part of the program’s growth.


“Getting our successful alumni like Sharon back in the mix via social media and establishing relationships with her great organizations, like Ebay and PayPal, allows us to recruit more students as they realize how competitive our graduates are in the marketplace and the types of opportunities they are getting,” program director Matthew Maloney says.


Read about another OR/SC student's work experience and learn more about the MSM-OR/SC program at Weatherhead.


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