Supply Chain Management Degree: Selecting the Right School

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Considering going back to school? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, supply-chain management is one of the hottest tickets in B-school. The importance of a properly managed supply chain shouldn’t come as a shock. After all, ensuring goods are ready and available for customer demand can’t happen without this kind of leadership.  What may come as a surprise, however, are the large number of businesses that don’t have the leadership needed to properly manage their company’s supply chain. According to a study by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, nearly 200,000 U.S. supply-chain jobs will go unfilled each year through 2018 due to a lack in qualified talent.

Selecting a Supply Chain Management Program — 4 Considerations

iStock_000044976472Because succeeding in the logistics field often requires an advanced degree, more supply-chain management programs are being added to business school curricula to meet demand for this expertise. However, with so many new programs, choosing the right school can be complicated. Here are four considerations when selecting a school for supply chain management:

(1) The Type of Supply Chain Management Degree

Although there’s been considerable talk about earning an MBA in supply chain management, a graduate degree isn’t the only option. Programs vary from MBAs and Master’s degrees that specialize in supply chain management to undergraduate majors and even departments focused on supply chain management—like that at Michigan State. Depending on your previous level of education and what skills are required for the job you would like to preform, the type of degree you need may vary.

(2) Cross-Functional Skills the Degree Provides

SCM World, a supply chain research organization, surveyed a number of chief supply chain officers to determine the top supply chain universities. According to Kevin O’Marah, SCM World’s chief content officer, one of the key takeaways of this survey was that “business wants cross-functional supply chain knowledge rather than narrow technical skills.” When looking for a school for supply chain management, make sure you look for opportunities to learn about all aspects of logistics and business in general.

(3) Who Are Your Peers?

When it comes to graduate programs, students often have as much to gain from one another as they do from professors. According to Dr. John H. Vande Vate, professor and EMIL executive director at Georgia Tec, it’s important to seek out supply chain management programs in which other students have a similar corporate and experience level.

(4) Co-op and Internship Opportunities

According to Gartner’s Top U.S. Supply Chain Undergraduate Programs report for 2014, there has been notable growth in the exposure to internships and co-ops—often with sponsoring companies. If more applied project-work appeals to you, look for a school that will help you secure these co-op and internship opportunities.

Consider These Top Supply Chain Management Schools

This year, organizations including the U.S. News & World Report, SCM World, and Gartner have created lists of the top supply chain management schools in the US. Here are 13 schools that appear high on these lists—consider using it as a springboard for supply chain management schools search.

U.S. News & World Report Supply Chain School Rankings SCM World Supply Chain Management School Rankings Gartner Undergraduate Supply Chain Program Rankings
Arizona State University #3 #4 #9
Auburn University #8
Brigham Young University #6
Carnegie Mellon University #7
Georgia Institute of Technology #6
Harvard University #8
Massachusetts Institute of Technology #2 #2
Michigan State University #1 #1 #1
Ohio State University #4 #9
Pennsylvania State University #5 #3 #2
Purdue University #9 #10
Rutgers University #10
Stanford University #5
University of Maryland #7
University of Michigan #10
University of North Texas #7
University of Tennessee #6 #7 #3
University of Texas at Austin #4
Western Michigan University #5

Chart Sources: U.S. News and World Report, IndustryWeek, SupplyChain247

As many businesses have already discovered, the desire for newer innovations and products delivered faster, isn’t slowing down. As a result, good supply chain management is a key component to a business’s success; however, leadership is only one component.

Tools that can be used to efficiently track inventory—like Wasp’s inventory software & inventory management systems—are also an important part of effective supply chain management. Maybe you aren’t ready to head back to school, but you are ready for an automated, user-friendly approach to inventory management – let Wasp help improve your supply chain now!

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Paul Trujillo

Paul Trujillo

Paul Trujillo is a Product Marketing Manager at Informatics specializing in Inventory Warehouse Management and Supply Chain product lines. His nearly 15 years of experience has put him at the forefront of industry technology and developing trends.