We are living in a world that is constantly trying to manage supply and demand. Operations around the planet are becoming increasingly complex. This means that companies across all different industries, from technology to consultancy and from manufacturing to retail, are looking for people who understand the supply chain. However, not many people who actually have this type of knowledge currently exist. Demand, therefore, is growing. As a result of this, a few universities in our country have now started MBA programs with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. This means the curriculum is dedicated to inventory management, procurement and the supply chain strategy across the world.
What We Do
A supply chain manager is someone who impacts the overall success of a business like no one else. They are involved in every element of the organization itself, including purchasing, planning, transportation, production, storage and all the invisible threads that connect all the different elements of a business. It is their work that ensures organizations are able to control their expenses, increase their sales and effectively maximize profits.
Additionally, these managers focus on collaboration and facilitation. The supply chain is the golden thread that holds everything together, which means supply chain managers are able to execute strategies across the organization. Additionally, they support and diagnose the needs of any partner within the supply chain. As such, they have cross-functional roles, which include selecting and managing support to suppliers, thereby improving the manufacturing processes; transporting and distributing marketing campaigns in an effective manner; and communication with costumers, particularly through improved technological collaboration.
Why It’s Hot
One of the reasons why the career is so hot is because it spans so many different elements. It deals with transport, production, logistics, distribution, finances, engineering and more. As the world of business is becoming more global, many businesses are struggling to find sourcing partners that can carry their vision forward across the globe. Companies now understand that their supply chain is vital to their success, not in the least because consumers want the things they are after yesterday.
Business leaders with real knowledge of SCM are in short supply, so anybody who comes to the table with an MBA in Supply Chain Management commands a lot of respect, and a very respectable salary to match. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places supply chain managers in their industry classification for Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers. In 2020, they earned an overall average of $105,100. And while most in the field hold a bachelor’s degree, those elite few with an MBA or SCM master’s can expect to earn considerably more. In fact, the top ten percent in the field earn more than $164,140.
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics data for Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals – Organization for supply chain managers. (CSCMP.org)
Supply chain managers can find work in any industry. However, most find themselves employed either by federal government or the manufacturing industry. For federal positions, in particular, the focus tends to be on military logistics. Other popular industries include transportation and aerospace.
While many will have an office with a desk, where they will spend a great deal of time, a lot of work will also involve site visits. The job is very fast-paced and can also be incredibly stressful, because time is of the essence. Considering a lot of time also has to be spent traveling, many supply chain managers feel as if they never sit still.
In most cases, the job is full time and operations are during regular hours. However, overtime is not uncommon. Additionally, some have to work highly unsociable hours if they have to work with international companies who operate in different time zones.
How to Do It
The first step towards achieving an MBA in Supply Chain Management is to start with a four year bachelor’s degree. Various majors can be of interest, including logistics, finance, business or law. There are not many MBA in Supply Chain Management programs around yet, which means admission is highly competitive. Hence, how well you do in your bachelor’s degree and your score on the GMAT exam are very important. It is also recommended to apply to a number of different schools, thereby increasing your chances of being accepted somewhere.
MBA in Supply Chain Management Online
On this list, we’ve compiled some of the best online MBAs in Supply Chain Management:
- *International Online MBA in Operations & Supply Chain Management – Southern New Hampshire University – (Editor’s Pick!) SNHU is a predominantly online college that has won awards for the quality of its instruction and the technology used to provide excellent education to its students. It is also well known for its focus on inclusiveness and helping working professionals achieve their goals by ensuring that the GMAT, GRE, and other standardized tests are never required as part of the entrance process. Students have the chance to leverage this highly accelerated course of study to graduate in as little as eighteen months. The university strives to ensure that the degree will be one of the most affordable in the Supply Chain Management industry.
- * Online MBA with Concentration in Logistics Management – Colorado Technical University – (Editor’s Pick!) – The Master of Business Administration at Colorado Technical University has the unique distinction of being recognized as one of the “Top 10” Online MBA Programs from the International Graduate Forum, an important academic body. Students who select the Logistics Management concentration, which is closely related to Supply Chain Management, will have the opportunity to select from three further areas of emphasis that are not available anywhere else: Government Logistics, Military Logistics, and Private Sector Logistics. No matter which one you choose, you will also benefit from a management capstone experience that will help you put everything you have learned into practice. Each of the three radically different concentration areas includes three unique classes, all available online.
- *Online MBA with Specialization in Operations and Supply Chain Management – Northeastern University – (Editor’s Pick!) – The D’Amore-McKim School of Business has been praised by authorities in the online education industry for its excellent classes, provided by the same faculty who teach face to face classes at Northeastern University. Students will learn about the importance of transport planning, inventory control, warehouse management, customer service, and procurement. Thanks to the comprehensive nature of this degree, Supply Chain Management professionals will often find that they are much better equipped to coordinate with top-ranked executives to meet strategic goals. They may also discover that they have enhanced opportunities to evolve their supply chain into a profit center that will provide better career advancement opportunities!
- *Online MBA in Global Operations & Supply Chain Management Self-Designed – Capella University – With this online self-designed MBA degree, you have the freedom to choose courses that build the skills to help you take control of your career. Master traditional business disciplines such as accounting, finance, marketing, operations, strategy, and data storytelling, and tailor your elective courses to fit your professional goals. Choose from any eligible Capella graduate-level course, including IT, project management, psychology, health care, and more.
- *Online Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management – Penn State University World Campus – Penn State is one of the most respected schools in the world and was among the first to “break the barrier” and offer real online courses for students. When you choose the Penn State World Campus as the delivery method for your graduate professional degree in Supply Chain Management, you have the chance to benefit from some of the greatest minds in supply chain leadership in the world. You will learn how to design and manage a supply chain, how to improve its efficiencies, how to analyze its performance, how to deal with forecasting and planning, how to apply project management skills, and many other innovative techniques.
- *Online MBA in Supply Chain Management – H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University – The online Master of Business Administration at Nova Southeastern University calls upon students to master the materials of 42 total credit hours with 27 credits worth of MBA Core Courses. Students who have a Supply Chain focus will have the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of perspectives in the field and will learn from classes in International Transport and Logistics, Managing Customer and Supplier Relations, Supply Chain Infrastructure and Information Technology, and a Supply Chain Capstone Project. The MBA Core consists of classes in accounting, statistics, economics, marketing, and finance to help students understand the relationship between Supply Chain Management and these areas.
- Online MBA with Supply Chain Management Area of Emphasis – W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University – The completely online Master of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management is offered at Arizona State University as part of its prestigious business school. Students can customize their course of study with six different electives, which can include Logistics in the Supply Chain, Strategic Procurement, Supply Chain Cost, Supply Management and Negotiation, Management of Technology and Innovation, and Project Management. Students will benefit from the long history and strong reputation of this highly legitimate and credentialed state school in a state that serves as a hub for supply chain and logistics concerns from all around the United States. The degree that online students receive is the same as a classroom-based ASU degree. Arizona State University – Carey is ranked in the top 100 of America’s best online MBA programs.
- Online Masters in Global Supply Chain Management – Kelley Direct School of Business of the University of Indiana at Bloomington – The Kelley School of Business from the University of Indiana at Bloomington is one of the most prestigious schools in the world that offers any kind of online Master of Business Administration degree. In the specific case of the Global Supply Chain program, students have the opportunity to combine both an MBA and a Master of Science degree so that they can truly demonstrate the excellence of their training and education. The plan of study for this degree program provides for only 30 credits, so students can finish it quickly while still achieving a comprehensive understanding of the field. It can be achieved in as little as two years of full time work.
- Online MBA with Specialization in Supply Chain Management – University of Wisconsin at Whitewater – As a state school, the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater is uniquely positioned to offer working professionals a Master of Business Administration degree with a very high degree of credentialing and international recognition. Students have the chance to specialize in any of seven emphasis areas, including Supply Chain Management, or may select their own customized area of emphasis that draws on a variety of fields. The Masters of Business Administration program has received accolades from a number of organizations throughout the Americas and Europe. This helps to ensure that Supply Chain Management professionals will be able to use the degree to maximum advantage and achieve their professional goals with a University of Wisconsin background.
- Online MBA with Concentration in Supply Chain Management – Governors State University – This accelerated, 17-month program of study is available entirely online from one of the most noteworthy and well-known universities to offer online degrees of any sort. Newcomers will continue to work with the same group of fellow students throughout their entire experience, so they will get to know others and deepen professional connections in the fast paced world of Supply Chain Management. The cornerstones of the curriculum include detailed knowledge about forecasting and optimization, materials management, sourcing and procurement, distribution, warehousing and inventory leadership, and how to apply the latest theories to practice.
- Professional Online Master of Business Administration – Poole School of Management at the University of North Carolina – The professional online Master of Business Administration degree offers students the opportunity to take advantage of cutting edge Supply Chain Management and related courses as well as unusual opportunities such as international courses. The degree can be achieved through an accelerated format allowing students to complete it within 21 months. Unlike other degree programs, however, there is no “rush”: Students may take up to six years to complete their course of study if they wish. Because of the organizational culture of the University of North Carolina, students in Supply Chain Management and other fields will benefit from unique insights into how high technology can be used to generate better business outcomes.
- Online Executive MBA with Concentration in Supply Chain Management – Saunders School of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology – The Rochester Institute of Technology is well known as one of the top schools when it comes to offering degree programs that provide a high technology focus. Supply chain professionals will be able to enhance their studies through classes such as Systems Support for Operations and through the unique study programs and other opportunities that RIT offers. RIT is well known for being a school that caters well to students who are already in the middle of their business careers. Students may opt to take on a Team Building Residency or may enhance their studies through a unique “International Experience” if they wish to meet their colleagues, professors, and classmates in person.
Pros & Cons
- You will work in a global market. The world is increasingly interconnected, which means you will work on an international level.
- The pay is incredibly good, although this is also due to the fact that you will have to work very long hours.
- You must be ready to work very long hours. This is mainly due to the international nature of the job, and the world really never sleeps.
- The chances of burnout are high.
- PRSA Diversity Multicultural Scholarship – A scholarship for those of outstanding academic achievement who want to focus on public relations. Two scholarships of $1,500 each are available for students of a minority background. Students must hold a GPA of 3.0 minimum.
- Billy Welu Scholarship – The Professional Bowlers Association Billy Welu Scholarship is an annual award for college students who also compete in bowling. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded. Students must hold a GPA of 2.5 minimum.
- The CIRI Foundation (TCF) offers a range of scholarships for terms or full academic years.
- Asian Women in Business Scholarship Fund – This scholarship is available to Asian female students who have demonstrated entrepreneurship, community service, leadership and/or scholarship. It is made available to those women of Asian descent who can demonstrate they are the leaders of the future.
Various positions are available for those with an MBA in Supply Chain Management. These include:
- Logistics manager. You will create and maintain supply chains for both imports and exports. You will handle a great deal of international transportation, which can include all from dealing with customs regulations to honing relationships with logistics intermediaries. It is very important for you to have very good communications and negotiation skills, and have a superior knowledge of international commerce. You will need to create innovative logistics strategies to enter new markets around the globe.
- Purchasing manager. You will be responsible for obtaining the resources of your organization in a highly cost effective manner. Also, identify good sources for materials and choose the best suppliers and negotiate contracts. It is vital to understand the processes for both imports and exports. You also need to understand all of the factors involving economics of our global supply chain. Having strong negotiations and communications skills are important, and you should be able to read and draft legal contracts. Common duties also include requesting new bids for products and services, negotiating purchase agreements, and managing supplier contracts.
- Transportation manager. This type of supply chain management manager is responsible for directing the transportation of all shipments – both incoming and outgoing. You will ensure that all products move efficiently across the US and across international borders. You should possess very detailed knowledge of federal and state transportation regulations, the most common distribution methods, and shipment routing. You also will need to manage driver and corporate fleets; negotiate and manage carrier agreements; and request bids for new contracts.
- Industrial production manager. You will oversee the daily operations of many kinds of manufacturing plants. For example, you could decide the best way to use the workers in a plant and how to use equipment to best meet production goals. A very important part of your role is to make sure that plant production stays within budget and on schedule. Also, you have to regularly conduct quality control programs to ensure that finished products meet the correct level of quality. Some in this role may also use advanced technical programs to find defects in products and to ID the cause of that defect.
- Logistician: You will both analyze and coordinate the supply chain for your organization. In this position, you will manage the whole lifecycle of a product, which includes how that product is acquired, distributed, allocated and given to customers – either consumers or other businesses. Some of the activities that you will oversee could include purchasing, transportation, inventory and warehousing. As in other related positions, you will use complex software systems to plan and track how products and supplies move around the world. For example, you may use software to manage all logistical functions, such as procurement, management of inventory and many other supply chain planning and management systems.
- Supply chain analyst. This also may be known as a project specialist or a supply chain coordinator. You will be responsible for analyzing, monitoring and boosting the quality of supply chain processes. In this role, you will need to predict how logistics work, oversee your company’s operations, and then come up with recommendations to improve the movement of product. The majority of supply chain analysts work for large manufacturers or logistics services companies.
- Operations research analyst. You will use advanced analytical methods and mathematics to help your company to devise the best solutions to complex business problems. Some of the most common business problems today involve supply chain problems, given how companies’ plants and parts suppliers are often spread around the world. Very often, in this position you will help your company to determine the most effective ways to ship and distribute parts and products. You will need to use complex software, including databases and statistical programs to analyze and solve complicated supply chain problems.
- Supply Chain Digital
- Supply Chain Management
- Emerald Insight
- Supply Chain Management Review
- Supply Chain Digest
Six websites with helpful resources for those working in field relevant to an MBA in Supply Chain Management