semi-truck driving on highway with sunset behind it

Raul Soto headshot


Raul Soto recently began studying supply chain in a formal setting, but he is no stranger to the supply chain field itself. For ten years, he worked in the grocery business and learned about inventory, vendor interaction, and consumer behavior. Then, his time in the U.S. Marine Corps taught him about logistics and how to prepare for logistical movements. Raul was recently featured on Chris Barnes’ Supply Chain is Boring podcast, where he shares how he turned his experiences into a career. We were lucky enough to ask Raul a few behind-the-scenes questions post-interview to showcase his story and his UTC CSCP Certification Review course experience. And, we included a few summed-up highlights from Raul’s interview with Chris as well! 

Be sure to check out the full podcast, Turning Retail Experience, Military Service, & an APICS CSCP Certification into a Supply Chain Career, here. →  

Chris: How did you become interested in supply chain, and what made you decide to pursue a supply chain certification? 

Raul: When I first became interested in supply chain, I didn’t even know what supply chain was. For over a decade, I worked in different departments of a grocery store and increased my knowledge of consumer demand, forecasting, weather impact on deliveries, and trends (aka supply chain topics). When I got into the military, I began to grasp what supply chain really is and grow my understanding of supply chain as a whole. I held various roles, such as tool room keeper, dispatcher, and assistant lot foreman, where I had to be highly in tune with logistics. When I was dispatched, I began pursuing my associate degree in logistics and supply chain management. One of my professors signed us up for an Association of Supply Chain Management (ASCM) membership, and she encouraged us to look into what they offered. That’s when I decided the certifications seemed interesting and I wanted to pursue one.   


C: What made you decide, specifically, on the CSCP certification? 

R: I mainly chose CSCP because I wanted a good understanding of the supply chain from end to end. Before taking the course, I knew a lot about meeting consumer demand, but I never understood how things were made and distributed to retailers. I wanted to gain that end-to-end supply chain perspective. 


Jeff: Why did you choose to enroll in a certification prep course? Why at UTC? 

R: I decided to take a prep course because I wanted to be surrounded by other supply chain professionals and get their input. I found their input to be highly valuable because it helped me piece together the entire supply chain. I specifically picked UTC because of the location. It was convenient and I would be able to network with other professionals in the area as well as learn about what’s happening in supply chain in our community. The conversations and input from peers were very beneficial. 


J: What was your key takeaway from the course? 

R: Always adapt to the supply chain. It’s like how I am as a person; I always want to be evolving. I understand that the world doesn’t stay static. It changes and supply chain changes along with it. This ideal helped me discover that supply chain is the right field for me. 


C: How did you prepare for the CSCP certification exam? What study tips or advice would you share with those preparing for the exam? 

R: When I first began taking the UTC class, I studied by taking quizzes in the CSCP learning system, reviewing the material and chapters being covered for the week or day, and then taking notes on the areas I was weak in and didn’t know. In order to avoid becoming complacent, I changed my process up about three months into the course. I would read the chapter first, take the quizzes, and then continue to make notes on what I needed to improve. I wanted to do something different to make sure the information was kept fresh, and I felt that methodology was the most beneficial of the two. I feel as though I prepared for the exam well. If I could have done anything differently, I would have spent more time studying the learning system’s flashcards.  


C: Now that you’re certified, what’s next for you? 

R: Currently, I am in the process of completing my bachelor’s degree in supply chain logistics. I plan on finishing my degree this December, and then I plan to begin my master’s program in 2022 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I will be looking for employment as well.  


J: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your UTC course experience? 

R: I can’t over-emphasize the value of networking in the course and hearing the input of other professionals. Speak up in class and collaborate with other students to grow your knowledge. It’s well worth it! 


Marah Whitaker headshot

Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.

Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.