Student Story

Felicia Nazarali

Crosses, AR
BSBA in Supply Chain Management

Felicia Nazarali

"Once I realized that this is something that I would really enjoy doing, I started researching the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Supply Chain Management at the University of Arkansas. It didn't take long for me to learn that it was the No. 1 supply chain program in the country."

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One chance-taken class at a community college led Felicia Nazarali to a powerful appreciation for the field of supply chain management.

“I originally started out for my first two years of college at NWACC (Northwest Arkansas Community College), and that's where I took the Intro to Supply Chain Management course,” Nazarali, 34, said. “My professor told me that the University of Arkansas had a good supply chain management program. Once I realized that this is something that I would really enjoy doing, I started researching the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Supply Chain Management at the University of Arkansas. It didn't take long for me to learn that it was the No. 1 supply chain program in the country. That really piqued my interest, and the fact that I live right here in Arkansas, it was a win/win all the way around.”

Supply chain management is a fairly recent degree in higher education. It refers to the paths that commercial companies take to manage the flow of goods and services throughout the whole of the manufacturing, transportation and delivery process. It can involve everything from raw materials to the finished product and every step between, all the way through to the final consumer.

“The supply chain field is steadily growing,” Nazarali said. “I don't see any change in that at all in the future. As for the degree program itself, I found that it has really great professors. Not only do you feel like they're great at teaching, but so far, all the ones that I’ve met also have extensive, hands-on knowledge outside of the teaching world. They have a lot of experience with corporate companies and things like that. They can really explain how things work outside of school.”

Nazarali’s passion for her new field of study led her to join several growing student organizations. She is a member of Leadership Walton, a professional development program for undergraduate business students, offering a unique blend of academic, leadership and career development opportunities. She is a member of WISE (Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence), a Department of Supply Chain Management organization for students whose primary purpose is to promote the field of supply chain management/logistics, as well as ASCA (Arkansas Supply Chain Association), a student RSO at the U of A. Nazarali, who plans to graduate in May of 2023, was one of 29 online students to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2022-2023 academic year.

“I was very excited to receive this scholarship,” she said. "It will allow me to upgrade my computer system at home because it's very outdated and very slow. I can now do all my online work very efficiently. I am able to do all the video conferencing and Teams meetings and things like that through class that I need to do."

Her desire is to use the scholarship support and her BSBA in Supply Chain Management as a steppingstone toward a long career in supply chain management, especially in the area of procurement, Nazarali said, where she would help purchase or obtain materials, equipment or supplies as part of her employer’s production process.

“I would really love to work in procurement, but if I can't get a job in procurement, I'm hoping to find another job within the supply chain,” she said, “but procurement is where I would really like to go. Hopefully, I can work my way up to a manager position, then maybe become a chief procurement officer.”

Until this summer, Nazarali didn't truly have a professional life. She was a stay-at-home mom to four children, ages 4, 6, 9, and 11, which is a full-time job in itself. To manage her time, she keeps a planner of when her class assignments are due and when family events are coming up, such as ball games, dental or doctor appointments and the like. Studying online gives Nazarali the flexibility to juggle the three sides of her life — school, work and family.

“If my kids are sick or if they have something going on at school, I can be there,” she said. “I can participate in everything that I need to and — especially like now, with doing an internship, and I have been looking into the possibility of working throughout my senior year —having online courses lets me work when I want to, yet still be there for my kids. I can fit school into my life rather than my life fitting into school.”

Nazarali’s chosen career path prior to discovering supply chain was quite different. She always wanted to go to college but married soon after graduating from high school. Her husband’s time in the Army delayed the start of their family, but after her fourth child was born, Nazarali decided to pursue higher education. She wanted a degree to fall back on in case it was ever needed. It might also open opportunities for extra income as the children grow older, she said.

“At first, I was going to go into nursing,” she recalled. “I wanted to be a neonatal nurse, and I was most of the way through my prerequisites when I realized that, on a personal level, I was not able to handle it when some of the babies died. I switched to a business major, not knowing at all what I was going to do. When I took an Intro to Supply Chain Management class, I completely fell in love with supply chain from top to bottom. I was inspired to continue that and to start looking at jobs and stuff for when I graduate.”

Nazarali’s advice for students interested in studying online can be applied to all such online education endeavors.

“The best advice that I could give somebody is, going into it, you need to know yourself,” she said. “What I mean by that is — and it would be good advice for every student, really — you need to know things like your study habits. What ways do you study best? Do you study well on your own? Can you motivate yourself to get your stuff done on your own? If you can, then online would be a great option. Once you choose online, the biggest advice I could give is just to stay organized. Go through all your syllabuses, write down all your due dates and things like that in a way that will keep them organized. Always know what's approaching. Plan ahead and study a little bit at a time when it is convenient for you but also make sure that you get all your stuff done ahead of time to fit in with deadlines and due dates and things like that.”