Alberta Kwarteng: Growing at Amazon

As a Program Manager at Amazon, Alberta Kwarteng’s days are spent working on network configurations for many of the company’s facilities in North America. She also executes network changes: fulfillment center closures, route changes, and operation time changes based on requests/inputs from network planners and leadership.

As part of the Accelerated Master’s program under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Alberta was able to pursue a 5-year accelerated academic programme that earned her a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana and a master’s degree in global logistics from Arizona State University, USA.

“I believe Arizona State University was the best place for me to deepen my knowledge in supply chain management due to its level of innovation,” says Alberta.

She adds that it opened her eyes to the possibilities beyond the classrooms, thanks in part to the knowledgable professors at the business school, and guest lecturers and subject matter experts that spoke during class.

“Of course, none of these experiences would have been possible without the Mastercard Foundation and I will always appreciate the impact the Foundation has made in my life and that of many,” Alberta said.

“Everything I studied in my Supply Chain classes (both at the undergraduate and graduate level) especially supply chain analytics had an influence on the work I do and my career interest as a whole. I’ve always wanted to go into the Supply Chain industry ever since I first learned about it in my first year in university.”

Transitioning from her undergraduate education in Ghana to the United States of America for her master’s program was quite challenging, but effective time management enabled her to overcome those challenges.

“I realized that I needed to prioritize key tasks and gain control of how I spend my time in areas like relationships, academics and extracurricular activities. Realizing that I can’t gain additional time to do the “someday” things helped me a lot to replace wasteful activities with things that add value to my life. That didn’t necessarily mean replacing time spent with family and friends with studying but knowing when the right time is to do either.” Alberta, added

Once in her masters program at Arizona State University, Alberta began looking for supply chain roles in different companies, in roles that covered anything from logistics to operations. After multiple interviews, she finally landed her first supply chain job at Amazon, right before graduation. Since then, she has grown quickly in the company, rising from Transportation Analyst to Program Manager within a year.

“My advice to fellow Mastercard Foundation Scholars who wish to excel in the corporate world is that speed matters in business, so adapt faster. For instance, the challenges amplified by COVID-19 are pushing companies to make tradeoffs between supply, cost and speed. Companies are adopting Artificial Intelligence software to mitigate disruption and offset the risk of missing customer promises. The rate at which technology and innovation are changing is the same way that the corporate world is changing. Businesses continually evolve their processes and systems in order to stay ahead of the competition and if you’re not able to catch up with these changes as an employee, you’ll be left behind.”

For Alberta, it’s important that Scholars embrace the mentality of “never stop learning.”

“As a Scholar or recent graduate, your uniqueness is an asset! As humans, we tend to change to fit into groups to be accepted. It is important to recognize how your uniqueness is part of what you bring to the workplace and to never underestimate the peculiar knowledge and experience you have. Inferiority complexes tend to creep in when you join an organization where most people don’t look like you or speak like you do but don’t forget that you’re adequate,” she says.

“And, finally, network! There’s a saying that “your network is your net worth”. This is true even in the corporate world. Ensure that you’re building meaningful relationships at work and not burning bridges. You’d always need people to vouch for you in all circumstances, including promotions. Ideally, you should have a mentor who you admire and allow him/her into everything that you do at work.”

She encourages young and recent graduates to face the world with increased optimism and to continuously shine their light in all the spaces they find themselves.