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Supply chain managers oversee the flow of goods and services. Professionals in the field source and move raw materials. They also manage the inventory, manufacturing, and delivery of goods. Supply chain professionals oversee a product's lifecycle from inception to disposal. Responsibilities include directing the allocation of materials and supplies, developing relationships with clients and suppliers, and reviewing logistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for logisticians to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029.
Most supply chain and logistics positions require a bachelor's degree in business. However, a master's degree can lead to career advancement in the field. Master's programs in supply chain management usually require 30 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and must meet minimum GPA and standardized test score requirements.
This guide explores the best master's programs in supply chain management, along with resources for students in the field.
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What is an example of supply chain management tasks?
Along with completing other tasks, supply chain management professionals coordinate the logistics of a product's lifecycle from design to distribution.
What is supply chain management, and why is it important?
Supply chain management professionals oversee the flow of goods and services. This process ensures that supply meets demand.
Are supply chain managers in demand?
The BLS projects employment for logistics professionals to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029.
What Can I Do With a Supply Chain Management Degree?
The broad supply chain management field includes a variety of career opportunities since businesses in most fields need qualified supply chain management professionals. Individuals with a supply chain management degree typically focus on a specific area, such as manufacturing, data analysis, procurement, transportation, or customer service.
Common positions for graduates with a supply chain management degree include purchasing agent, operations manager, logistics analyst, purchasing manager, supply chain manager, production manager, and storage and distribution manager.
Responsibilities vary by specific position. For example, production managers typically work with manufacturing to coordinate production schedules. Operations analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical models to help organizations efficiently allocate resources, develop production schedules, and set prices. Most jobs in the field require only a bachelor's degree, but a master's can qualify holders for advanced management positions.
Accreditation for a Supply Chain Management Degree
Accreditation demonstrates to students and stakeholders that an institution or program meets set educational standards. In the United States, universities and colleges can hold regional or national accreditation. Seven agencies award regional accreditation to schools in certain geographic areas. Technical schools and religious institutions typically receive national accreditation.
Regional accreditation is older and more prestigious since it requires schools to meet higher standards of educational quality. Because of this, regionally accredited schools usually only accept degrees and credits from other regionally accredited institutions.
In addition to institutional accreditation, learners can look for field-specific programmatic accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education award accreditation to business programs. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a searchable database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.
What Are the Requirements for a Supply Chain Management Degree?
A master's degree in supply chain management typically requires 30-48 credits, which students usually complete in 1-2 years. Learners study topics such as supply chain analytics, logistics systems, databases and data analysis, risk and distribution management, and operations analysis. Students may also complete a capstone course or thesis.
Degree-seekers who intend to focus on research may choose a thesis program, while others often select a non-thesis program. Admission requirements generally include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a minimum GPA. Some programs also require satisfactory GMAT or GRE scores.
Courses in a Supply Chain Management Program
Master's-level supply chain management curricula typically deliver an advanced, holistic overview of the field. Learners develop the skills necessary to succeed in supply chain management positions. Coursework covers topics including sourcing and supply, procurement and operations management, and logistics and customer service.
Some programs offer concentrations or specialized electives in areas such as operations management and logistics. The following list includes courses common to many supply chain management programs. However, course titles vary by master's program.
- Supply Chain Management Strategies
- This course provides an introduction to supply chain strategies and challenges. Supply chain management involves the cross-functional integration of key business processes, both within an organization and across the network of companies that comprise the supply chain. Enrollees learn how to efficiently integrate these processes. Course topics include logistics networks, inventory management, procurement and outsourcing, forecasting, supply contracts, and global supply chain issues.
- Supply Chain Risk and Disruption Management
- Enrollees learn how to address disruptions in supply chains. Learners explore supply chain risk areas, including outsourcing, information technology, and global logistics. Students also examine preventative preparation and mitigation strategies for disruptive events. Additional course topics include vulnerability and threat assessments, crisis management tactics, contingency planning, and disaster recovery.
- Lean Six SIgma
- This course prepares students to apply the Lean Six Sigma quality management techniques to supply chain management work. Degree-seekers learn the fundamentals of Lean Six Sigma and explore strategies for improving business processes and increasing operational efficiency. Learners practice solving business problems during simulations, group exercises, and assessments. Students also learn about lean manufacturing approaches, fact-based management and change management, and other strategies to improve business operations.
- Supply Chain Finance
- This course provides an overview of the financial and accounting elements of supply chain management. Students learn to think strategically to enhance the financial value of a corporation, and they prepare to analyze and streamline supply chain issues and systems. Coursework covers capital management, supply chain financing, supply chain risk management, and contracts and purchasing. Students examine case studies and complete group exercises to practice applying a financially oriented mindset to supply chain management.
- Global Logistics Management
- This class explores the tactical elements of global logistics, such as transportation infrastructure, storage, and forward and reverse forms of product movement. Coursework also covers cross-docking, multi-modal freight operations, high-tech automated warehousing, reverse logistics tactics, order delivery, and automated warehousing. Students learn to apply a total-systems approach to managing the forward and reverse transportation and storage of products and materials.
Certifications and Licensure for Supply Chain Management Majors
Licenses and certifications demonstrate advanced skills and competence to prospective employers. Individuals in some fields need a license or certification to practice. For supply chain management positions, certifications and licensure are voluntary but can increase job prospects. Graduates can pursue the certifications below to increase their chances of securing high-level supply chain management jobs.
ASCM Certified Supply Chain Professional Certification
The Association for Supply Chain Management offers a general certification for supply chain professionals. Candidates need a bachelor's degree in the field or at least three years of professional experience. Certified professionals must earn 75 professional development points every five years to renew their credential.
ASCM Certified in Production and Inventory Management
This globally recognized credential demonstrates competence in materials management, master scheduling, forecasting, and production planning. Candidates must pass two exams within three years. Certification renewal requires 75 professional development points every five years.
ASCM Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution
This certification demonstrates an in-depth understanding of methods for streamlining logistics. Candidates need advanced knowledge in order management, distribution inventory management, and warehouse management. Applicants must pass the CLTD certification exam. To maintain the certification, professionals must earn 75 professional development points every five years.
Professional Organizations for Supply Chain Management Majors
Professional organizations provide students and professionals with networking and training opportunities. Many organizations in the field of supply chain management offer certification, continuing education courses, conferences, and research. These organizations often advocate for members and provide career and scholarship opportunities to help individuals achieve their professional goals.
ASCM is the largest nonprofit organization for supply chain professionals. The association provides certifications, continuing education and training opportunities, and corporate transformation services. Members receive discounts on certification courses, events, and publications.
CSCMP connects supply chain management professionals with colleagues and resources. The organization hosts conferences, research symposiums, and round tables. Members can access online courses and career services. Both individuals and corporations can join CSCMP.
IWLA promotes high standards of business ethics in the warehousing and logistics field. Members receive networking opportunities, current information and resources, industry-focused education, and advocacy. The association hosts an annual convention and expo and offers certificate programs.
This professional organization for supply chain professionals provides education, certifications, leadership development, and research. Membership benefits include scholarships, career resources, and networking opportunities for students and working professionals.
Supply chain management master's degree students can apply for a variety of scholarships based on merit and financial need. Organizations also offer scholarships to encourage individuals who belong to minority groups to pursue careers in supply chain management. In addition to the scholarships below, learners can research awards from their school and state.
Who Can Apply: The Project Management Institute awards four academic scholarships each year to undergraduate and graduate students. Candidates must be pursuing a degree in a field related to project management, including supply chain management. Applicants must attend an accredited college or university.
Who Can Apply: The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals awards several scholarships each year. Applicants must have completed at least one supply chain management course and must be interested in pursuing a career in the field. Candidates must be in good academic standing with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA or 3.5 graduate GPA.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports undergraduate seniors and graduate students in supply chain management programs. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, leadership abilities, high ethical standards, and a commitment to a career in the field. Candidates must be enrolled full time in an accredited program.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports female graduate students who are pursuing careers in transportation. Candidates must be enrolled in a graduate program related to transportation and must demonstrate leadership skills. The scholarship committee prefers applicants who are interested in addressing the impact of transportation on land use, sustainability, and the environment.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program encourages women to pursue graduate studies and careers in transportation and related fields. Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate-level program in a transportation-related field, such as transportation engineering and logistics. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA.
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