From raw material to consumer satisfaction: supply chain managements know it all
From procuring raw materials to selling the final product, there are a set of people who look into every network of a business - the supply chain managers. They are a group of people who manage every business aspect to ensure smooth production and distribution of the produce at reduced costs, without compromising on its quality. Such is the importance of their position that businesses are increasingly looking for skilled supply chain management specialists, thus making a degree in supply chain management an extremely lucrative educational option.
Which is the best degree for you?
Universities and business schools offer a degree in supply chain management at the Bachelor's, Masters and Doctoral levels of education.
A student of management studies can opt for a specialization in logistics and supply chain management that teaches the finer nuances of this aspect of business as part of the four-year educational course. While some institutions offer supply chain management as part of the regular four-year undergraduate program, some others offer it through their accelerated and part-time programs as well.
A two-year graduate study of management touches upon supply chain management. However, there are courses that focus on supply chain management as the main subject, offering students a graduation in the same. Similar to undergraduate studies, supply chain management is offered as a subject of interest through accelerated programs as well.
Students interested in obtaining a doctorate in supply chain management need to conduct intensive research and studies in this field under an expert's guidance. This program takes an average of five years to complete. However, individual educational institutions have their own timeline for the completion of this degree.
Associate degree vs. Bachelor's degree
While most entry-level job opportunities in supply chain management and logistics require people with an associate degree in the subject, a Bachelor's degree has its own added advantages of a greater knowledge base and enhanced skill sets. In fact, the industry today is increasingly looking for supply chain management professionals holding a Bachelor's degree. Besides, professionals with advanced degrees have been found to climb the career ladder faster and even enter into jobs at advanced posts soon after college. However, those who wish to step into leadership roles must consider completing an MBA in supply chain management or earn a Master's degree in the subject.
A degree in supply chain management can be earned either through regular schooling or through online programs. Below is a list of top universities that offer the best courses in supply chain management:
- Penn State University
- Stanford University
- Carnegie Mellon University
- University of Michigan
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Rutgers University
- Arizona State University
- Ohio State University
- University of Maryland
- University of Rhode Island
- University of Minnesota: Twin Cities
- Michigan State University
- Purdue University
Armed with a degree in supply chain management, professionals can either work for a firm or become a consultant. Some of the most popular job opportunities for them include:
- Supply chain analysts: These professionals monitor, analyze and strategize to improve the company's supply-chain process. They oversee the entire supply chain process, predict logistic requirements and strategize to improve the supply chain process. Supply chain analysts are mostly required by manufacturers and logistics service providers.
Median salary: $61,000
- Logisticians: These managers analyze and effectively coordinate a company's supply-chain process. Mostly required by manufacturing firms and government organizations, logistics managers handle practically every aspect of the supply chain, including procurement of products, their distribution, and final delivery.
Median salary: $53,000
- Transportation managers: Controlling expense and operating transportation of goods within the legal ambit are just two of the prime responsibilities of transportation managers. They are responsible for efficient loading, transportation, and storage of goods.
Median salary: $69,000