PHOTO: Brandon Lecou is earning his master’s degree in Supply Chain Management while working for ocean carrier company Hamburg Süd
It seemed as if everything was happening in Brandon Lecou’s life at the same time. He was getting married, selling his house, and planning to go back to school in the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management (MSSCM) program at CSULB. In addition, he was working full time and teaching classes for two other programs at the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT). So after realizing how much stress it was adding to his already busy life, he withdrew his MSSCM application.
Lecou had always planned to enroll again, and after he eventually applied for the next MSSCM cohort, he got some exciting news that made his life even busier: his wife was pregnant. Not wanting to decline another shot at continuing his education, Lecou enrolled in MSSCM, and his baby was born on the first day of orientation.
“That semester was a challenge,” remembers Lecou.
Going to grad school and teaching with a newborn child would be tough for anybody. But Lecou’s “day job” was more of a 24-7 occupation. As Operations Manager for Hamburg Süd, a leading ocean carrier company, his work in the international shipping industry meant that Lecou often took phone calls at 2:00 a.m. or left class to monitor a ship hitting bad weather at sea.
Lecou’s expertise in this field is what got him involved with CITT in the first place. His connections at a previous job with APM Terminals led to a recommendation to teach in the Marine Terminal Operations Professional (MTOP) program in 2015, followed by a similar opportunity in the Global Logistics Specialist (GLS) program. By Fall 2016, his popularity with students earned him an Outstanding Instructor Award for his courses in Break Bulk Operations as well as Ocean Transportation and Current Maritime Environment.
While some may see global logistics and supply chain management as part of a specific industry, Lecou instills his students with a broader view of its importance.
“It is in everything we do,” he said. “I ask my students, ‘If you like video games, but you can’t code, can you still work for a video game company? Ask yourself how that Xbox gets from China to your house. If you like motorcycles, sneakers, anything—you can work for a company in an industry you’re passionate about through global logistics.’”
“My favorite part of teaching is having a strong dialogue with other industry professionals, inspiring adult learners who have already been in the workplace and helping them get ahead,” said Lecou. “I’m working in the sector that I’m teaching about, so I get to bring real-world experience into the classroom.”
Lecou is thriving at Hamburg Süd, where he oversees the Southwest U.S. region that includes Oakland to Long Beach. But with a master’s degree, Lecou will be poised to grow into a much larger role. He also explained that the MSSCM program covers topics like operating costs and economics, analytics, sustainability, and global trade; and that CITT is uniquely equipped to teach them due to its proximity to the ports and its extensive alumni network, as well as its 20-year history of partnerships with industry leaders.
“You’re never too old to continue learning,” said Lecou.