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PhD Degree Program, Transport & Logistics

November 28, 2013

I wish to enroll in the doctoral program in Transportation and Logistics at XXXX State University because there is a real need in my country to improve the supply chain of natural resources such as petroleum and mineral resources. At present, Saudi Arabia's problem is that too much private investment has created monopolies, rather than encouraged the healthy competition that drives innovation. In many respects, I see this situation as the opposite of the progressive trend I have observed in the United States, since arriving here in 2008. I therefore envision the Saudi government playing a greater part in the regulation of the natural resources sector, which is why I aspire to one day becoming The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

 Of course, I realize it is impossible for any person to single handedly bring about a complete reform of the supply chain, irrespective of the merit of the respective policies. Real change has to be generated from below, which is why I would, in the first instance, use my studies to obtain a university teaching position, with a focus on Accounting, Economics, and logistic and supply chains. One of the strategic points I would emphasize to students is that the correct usage of information technology is especially important because it can help lower the entry costs in the supply chain by facilitating appropriate planning and thereby preventing the unnecessary waste of precious resources that usually results whenever there is a monopoly. I believe that once these measures have been implemented on a sufficient economy of scale, the Saudi government will feel more inclined to invest in public infrastructure, such as roads, to help facilitate the greater number of logistical supply chains that will open up, once the entry barriers to the petroleum and mineral resources industries have been lowered. 

In addition to what I have observed in the United States, I feel my optimism is justified because I have worked for the Saudi Electric Company, where my responsibility was to analyze government accounts. This experience helped me develop a very good understanding of how and why the government allocates its expenditure in the way that it does. In addition to these analytical abilities, I count myself fortunate because I possess the communication skills that should enable me to act as a mediator between the private and public sectors. I had an opportunity to hone these skills upon receipt of a scholarship from the Ministry of Education. By combining these analytical and communicative skills, I hope to play a constructive role by helping ensure that suppliers and customers understand one another and stand to mutually benefit from improved product fulfillment. As a supply chain manager, it would be my job to plan procurement, inventory control, logistics, distribution, vendor management, cost reduction, and overall improvement to the process as a whole. I am confident that I already possess the system knowledge that will be required to implement these reforms, having learnt Accounting, Information Systems and data management using SPSS and SQL server.  

Following graduation, I am also interested in using my research to improve the global supply chain. Becoming a CEO in the largest petrochemical company in my country would be particularly useful in this respect, as it would present an opportunity to share ideas and build working relationships. 

To my knowledge, few Saudis have graduated with a supply chain major. There is therefore a lot of scope for policy and educational innovation in my country. In order to benefit though, it is important to choose the right program in Logistics and Supply Chain Systems. I can identify the work of two researchers that is of particular interest to my needs. Professor David K. Lambert, who teaches in the faculty of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, has developed an interesting focus on Agribusiness and Applied Economics that is clearly pertinent to what I have said about how monopolistic behavior stifles competition. My thinking on these matters is influenced by his observations on how the control of the supply chain creates a monopoly on buying and selling power, which in the case of agriculture that Lambert uses to illustrate this general point, places a burden on farmers. The joint ownership of land and livestock contractually obligates these farmers into buying and selling only to the company. This creates a situation that could almost be described as "feudal", insofar as the farmers become dependent employees on their own farms, rather than entrepreneurs. Another unfortunate side effect, as can be inferred from Lambert's work, is that multinational enterprises can outsource their operations to other countries in search of cheaper labor, in addition to lower environmental standards. In light of this evidence, I would attempt to do everything in my power to ensure that a correct balance could be found between the nationalization and the globalization of Saudi Arabia's natural resources industries. I see foreign competitors as necessary for my country's future development because they will tend to lift the productivity of local producers and can encourage investment flows that can foster technological improvements, in addition to promoting skill upgrades, along with better methods and standards. 

 I am also interested in the work of Assistant Professor XXXX, who teaches in the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. Her research concerns two areas I wish to develop my knowledge of: Supply Chain Management (with an emphasis on Models and Methodologies of Stochastic Optimization) and Manufacturing and Logistics (with an emphasis on Healthcare Engineering, Scheduling Department). Briefly stated, I foresee many practical applications for her modeling of risk management in Saudi Arabia's natural resources industries. For example, she has carefully distinguished between two types of risks: inherent and exogenous. While the former relates to intrinsic organizational uncertainties, such as lead-time, the latter encompasses disruptions that are natural or manmade. I regard manmade uncertainties as a problem that requires careful attention insofar as it can refer to terrorism as well as environmental degradation arising from the overexploitation of resources. Such uncertainties can obviously greatly affect the performance of a supply chain. The problem as I see it is that the Saudi government risks compounding the risk of such problems through their monopolistic behavior, whereas Zhang demonstrates the benefits of adopting a more plural model that is more capable of minimizing any disruptive effects because it distributes costs among partners in the supply chain.

 If I am able to enroll in your program then, I will endeavor to use the skills and knowledge I will obtain to reform supply chain management in my country for the benefit of the Saudi people. Thank you for considering my application.

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