Supply chain management is a rapidly growing industry; as of 2014, the size of the entire supply chain management field was estimated at $1.3 trillion.
Sometimes referred to as logistics, supply chain management is a major part of the country’s economy. Its sole focus is to navigate how goods and services are moved about the country. Because of this, it has a direct impact on many different areas of business, engineering, transportation, and information systems.
Today the US logistics business delivers an astonishing 48 million tons of products each day, which is worth at least $50 billion. Supply chain management or logistics currently employs six million Americans, and the opportunities are growing exponentially.
How much are they growing? Fortune magazine estimates that 1.4 million more supply chain workers will be needed by 2018.
The publication Supply Chain Quarterly also reported in 2016 that the supply chain and logistics field was still experiencing a strong market for job seekers. The quarterly added that logistics jobs are predicted to grow by 22% by 2024.
Logistics At Work Constantly
When a consumer orders a product from Amazon, most people only think that the product somehow arrives on time at the door in one or two days. But the processes behind the scenes that make that happen for thousands and thousands of products per day, is all about effective supply chain management.
However, because efficient supply chain management occurs largely behind the scenes, not all MBA students are aware of the great employment opportunities that are available in this field. Many companies find that they are having to look for capable workers to hire; some industries report that there are as many as six to eight supply chain management jobs available for every one applicant with the appropriate education and background.
A career in one of the many disciplines of Supply Chain Management may be the ideal choice for individuals hoping to advance to leadership positions at their current place of employment, or to find a new, good-paying position in a new company.
What Is a Supply Chain Management MBA?
A study of supply chain management involves learning how to make relative decisions in relation to what a business will choose to sell to their current customer or client base. The supply chain manager has the responsibility of also negotiating deals with current suppliers and all of the logistical matters relating to moving that product.
Education in this area can involve many different levels of academia including a study in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management, or Master of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management.
While there are several variations for this type of study, most schools will offer shorter certificate programs for business professionals that are already employed in this field and are looking to expand their level of expertise.
If you are considering a supply chain management MBA, experts advise your career prospects will be enhanced if you keep these factors in mind:
- Supply chain management students should be ready to do business internationally. In the old days, products that were made in the US were going to be sold in the US; few items were sold internationally. Today, every retail outlet in America has products made all over the world. Being in supply chain management means working with companies all over the globe.
- Long hours. An effective supply chain is working 24 hours per day. Supply chain management employees should be ready to be working at all hours of the day and night. If you work in operations, you could have very long hours, as these plants often never shut down. Supply chain management consultants often put in 70 hour weeks.
- Good pay. With high job demand and responsibility comes good pay. Many newly minted MBAs in supply chain management start at $95,000 per year or more, and many get five figure signing bonuses.
Featured Supply Chain MBA Programs
Most programs in this area will require students to already have completed a Bachelor’s degree program in a related field. Those who have degrees in studies of business and quality assurance, accounting, operations management and statistics, may find that the school will be willing to waive many of the prerequisites required for enrollment.
However, letters of recommendation and GRE/GMAT scores may be required as proof of their ability to complete the expected course of study. Often times work experience requirements are enough to request a GMAT waiver for program acceptance.
Types of Courses to Expect
A student’s coursework in Supply Chain Management will include advanced study in a number of supply chain systems through a series of classes, seminars, and practical application. Students can expect to have advanced concentrations in:
- Logistics Systems
- Information Technology Tools
- Supply Chain Risk Management
- Negotiations and Conflict Management
- International Negotiations
- Advanced Operations Strategy
- Strategic Purchasing
- Global Supply Chain Management
- Manufacturing Control
- Cost Management
In some schools, students can also be expected to complete a research project or field study experience as part of the curriculum. But this will largely depend on the school you attend and your unique course of study.
Many schools will tailor their programs to accommodate the unique needs of their students who are already working in their field. You’ll find many courses are offered online so that you can have access to the coursework at times that are convenient and fit into your unique schedules.
As you are looking at various MBA programs in this specialty, you will likely notice that there are more MBA programs available in supply chain management. This is because global operations are becoming more complex every year, and companies need more supply chain experts. So MBA schools are trying to fill in the gap by offering more of these specialized MBA programs.
Sensing the increasing demand, more than a dozen universities in the US have introduced new undergraduate majors in supply chain management, and many new MBA programs have been added in supply chain management, procurement, inventory management and global supply chain strategy.
For example, Bryant University in Rhode Island in 2013 added an MBA specialization in supply chain management. It had introduced an undergraduate minor in the field in 2010, which included courses on global sourcing and social responsibility. This program proved to be popular, so the MBA program was added.
As of 2015, the school has 150 undergraduates and MBA students studying the field. Large companies took note, and several of them, including Target and General Dynamics have selected Bryant students recently for internships.
Rutgers University added an MBA concentration in supply chain management in 2001, and also has added an undergraduate major due to major employer demand. Top employers that hire Rutgers students include Dell, Johnson & Johnson, and Panasonic.
Areas of Specialization
The field of logistics is wide and offers many different career opportunities for a student that has completed a Supply Chain Management MBA. For that reason, many students choose to tailor their programs to enhance certain skills and abilities they will acquire.
This will make them more competitive when it comes to the job market. These specialization careers can cover just about any particular industry one can think of, but some of the most popular choices include:
- Purchasing Manager
- Purchasing Agent
- Operations Analyst
- Production Manager
- Management Consultant
- General Manager
If you are applying to supply chain management MBA programs, experienced managers in the field advise that you know the following about your possible career:
- Know the industry. Supply chain professionals oversee products, information and finances as they move from suppliers to manufacturers to retailers, and finally to the consumer. But your responsibilities can vary widely depending upon your industry and the specific company. You could be working largely in purchasing, or could be handling the end to end supply stream for an international corporation.
- The career is data driven. You will spend your days tracking supply and demand by using highly complex supply chain monitoring software. This will involve using these tools to interpret data quickly.
- The field changes constantly. Data and systems are a constant, but technology changes all the time, as do regulations and the politics and laws of countries all over the world.
- Supply chain managers need to be able to be highly detail oriented, but also able to see the big picture. One small change across the entire supply chain can have major consequences.
If working in supply chain management intrigues you, we recommend that you review programs listed with us.