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The New “Must Have” Business School Class: Supply Chain Management

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Bloomberg calls supply chain management, “The Next Big Thing” and the Wall Street Journal touts it as, “The Hot New MBA”. What’s driving this trend? Here’s the need-to-know of supply chain management in business schools.

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Why Supply Chain Managers are In Demand

Supply chain management used to be an unglamorous gig. Most were relegated to working with a small segment of the business, virtually isolated from the rest of the company’s workings. Supply chain managers quietly ordered raw materials, arranged for deliveries, and saw that the products were shipped out to customers on time. Now, the increased demand for technology, high quality products, sustainability in operations, combined with a competitive economy that demands high profit returns and low operating costs, have catapulted supply chain managers in both demand and status. Supply chain managers sit at the highest levels of the corporate boardroom.

Schools Offer More Supply Chain Management Programs

As a result of this growing demand for competent employees to respond to increasingly complex supply chain issues, colleges and universities are opening new classes and developing new majors of study to train these professionals. According to the Advance Collegiate School of Business, supply chain management programs have increased by 25 percent in the past few years, with schools like Lehigh University’s College for Business and Economics and North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management adding undergraduate study programs in the discipline. Some schools are turning away applicants due to heavy demand and relatively small class sizes.

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Why Supply Chain Management is an Attractive Major to Students

There are lots of reasons students are flocking to supply chain business school. Of course, they know there’s a growing demand for these professionals, but students also are attracted by the vast possibilities the career path holds. Trained supply chain managers can get a job most anywhere in the world. Furthermore, these careers are available in an exciting variety of industries, including fashion, technology, manufacturing, automotive, sports equipment, food production, and many others. These graduates aren’t locked into a future of just one opportunity, they can pick which industry most interests them as well as what part of the world they’d like to exercise their skills.

How to Tap Into the Lucrative Future of Supply Chain Management

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Many of the current supply chain managers have come from different disciplinary backgrounds: business, finance, or production work. They gathered knowledge, experience, and training along the way that prepared them for a career in supply chain management. However, today and into the future companies will likely be looking to hire people with specific training and education in supply chain management. Those interested in such a career need to maintain good grades through high school to compete for the small number of slots available in university programs.

Choose an accredited program which offers a specific track for supply chain management, as opposed to a generalized business degree. An internship in the industry is helpful on a resume. Take a full range of classes, including logistics, inventory, sourcing, reverse logistics, environmental science, outsourcing, and product design. It takes an understanding of all these disciplines to successfully manage a supply chain.

The lines between business and supply chain management are increasingly blurring, and those with a broad range of skills are in the best position to capitalize on their education in the marketplace. How will you take advantage of this emerging economic trend? Share your thoughts in the comments below. [/show_to]

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