Seattle: Costco

The United States of America is a wide and extensive country where one can find many different types of people and companies. Seattle is one of its fastest growing cities, as the numerous colorful cranes that populate the city remind one during the nighttime.

Within Seattle, one of Costco´s many warehouses is found.  Costco is a multibillion and multinational company that has definitely found its place within American pop culture. Learning about American firms, their organizational structures, objectives and goals is one of the various the reasons why I decided to apply for the Quinlan Ramble. I am an international junior student from Spain currently pursuing a US and Europe Bachelor in Business Administration, as well as a degree in Law, so I wanted to get a better feel of what different American companies have to offer.

Upon receiving my acceptance to this program I was extremely excited and grateful for being able to benefit from this incredible opportunity. So far, Seattle and all of the site visits have exceeded my expectations, and Costco has been no exception.

Mark Mattis, Costco´s Director of Program and Project Execution and Loyola alumni, is the person who put together the visit for us, and he did this in the most comprehensive way imaginable. The whole visit, which lasted about nine hours, was filled with meetings with all of the major departments that Costco uses to run its operations, including advanced analytics and big data, supply chain management operations, distribution, manufacturing, sustainability management, marketing, and a couple of project and program managers.

There were a number of things that particularly stood up to me during this visit. One of them was how faithful Costco is to its mission statement “To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices”. Every single reduction in the price of its goods, including through negotiation with suppliers or vertical integration, is transmitted to Costco´s customers (called members). The company has even taken on the procurement and manufacturing of a variety of products so that they could better assure their quality and quantity. Cost reduction includes an almost lack of marketing campaigns, in order to further keep down the company´s costs. I was particularly amazed at the way that advancement works at Costco. Insider promotion is the norm. This is represented very well by Joe Burns, one of our main guides of the day, whose origins in the firm more than thirty years ago go back to a warehouse long before his corporate position began. This, coupled with the care the company has for its employees and the intent Costco has to be a sustainable company in all possible aspects show very well the company´s culture, which is what makes Costco such an amazing place.

To finish this post I want to highlight the other reason why I applied for this program, which is that I wanted to spend my Spring Break in a meaningful way, and try to meet other students who might have similar interests to mine. Through this trip I have been able to get to know an amazing group of people from different backgrounds, with different life goals and at different positions in their lives. Meeting them has taught me as much or even more than the firm visits themselves, and I hope for them to enrich my life in the future too. This is for sure one of the ingredients of success that make the Quinlan Ramble such an impactful program and I am very happy to be a part of it.


Lola Montero Santos (U.S./ Europe Double Degree)