Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program Guide
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Because many companies function on a supply chain system, there are an abundance of supply chain management career opportunities. As companies continue to expand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that supply chain management jobs will grow by 7% through 2026. Individuals skilled in logistics and supply chain management are vital for businesses, especially those operating on a large scale, and pursuing a master's supply chain management degree gives professionals the skills they need to succeed.
Should I Get a Master's in Supply Chain Management?
Students should determine if they want an on-campus or online education before they choose a program. Online programs are perfect for working professionals, especially those seeking new skills or career changes. Online programs are also ideal for students with family commitments that require flexible scheduling. On-campus programs are ideal for students who thrive in structured classrooms, as they can participate in face-to-face discussions and develop lasting connections with their instructors and peers. On-campus students have a very different educational experience than online students, a difference which should be accounted for as students choose a program.
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Supply chain management programs equip students with the skills necessary for successful supply chain management careers. They will learn to create strong interpersonal connections, understand logistics and transportation management, and learn to manage teams and companies effectively. While in the program, students will have the opportunity to network, which may lead students to potential careers in their field.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Supply Chain Management?
Graduates of master's in supply chain management programs can find employment as purchasing managers, cost estimators, and logisticians. Because so many career opportunities focus on management, students entering the workforce should be business-minded leaders with the skills to organize and manage a team or company. There are many sectors of supply chain management, so students should consider all available career options.
Operations managers oversee the operations of public and private organizations, planning, coordinating, and directing daily operations. They plan the use of human resources departments and company materials to manage companies.
Median Annual Salary: $100,410*
Cost estimators are responsible for analyzing company data to estimate the money, materials, labor, and time required for a service or the manufacture of a product. They typically specialize in a certain product or industry and work in offices, visiting manufacturing or construction sites as needed.
Median Annual Salary: $63,110*
Responsible for coordinating and analyzing a company's supply chain, logisticians manage the entire lifecycle of a product, including how it is acquired, allocated, and delivered. Jobs are fast-paced and available in many industries.
Median Annual Salary: $74,590*
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager
Tasked with planning, directing, and coordinating companies' transportation, distribution, or storage activities, these managers are in charge of adhering to government laws and regulations.
Median Annual Salary: $92,460*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Choose a Master's in Supply Chain Management Program
There are many factors to consider when choosing a master's degree in supply chain management, including program length. Master's programs often last two years if students study full time. Students should also review each program's curriculum to determine whether available coursework appeals to their specific career interests.
Sometimes, master's in supply chain management programs require internship or capstone courses, which can provide students professional or research opportunities. Knowing what a school offers is essential to choosing the right degree. Students must also consider cost, including tuition, textbook prices, cost of living, and financial aid. If students choose an online program, for example, they should investigate whether the school charges different tuition rates or additional technology fees.
Accreditation for Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs
Accreditation is very important when choosing a program. There are two types: national and regional. National accreditation, which typically applies to vocational, trade, and for-profit schools, usually does not allow transfer of credits to regionally accredited schools, and is often excluded from tuition reimbursement programs. Regional accreditation, reserved for public and private nonprofit schools, means credits can be transferred between schools. Students are typically eligible for tuition reimbursement and other forms of financial aid.
Master's in Supply Chain Management Program Admissions
Admissions teams create their guidelines to establish standards of excellence for their students and programs. Programs with laxer requirements are more likely to accept applicants. Online admissions are typically more in-depth than on-campus admissions, usually requiring one or more meetings with an admissions counselor prior to applying.
Before students can earn their master's in supply chain management, they must hold a bachelor's degree, usually in a related field. They will be required to submit their bachelor's transcripts with their application.
Students generally do not need prior professional experience to enroll in a master's in supply chain management program, though some programs may require them to submit their resume with their application.
Every master's program will have their own minimum GPA requirement, but the average minimum is 3.0.
Applications require students to fill in personal information, including outlining their educational experience. Some programs may require a personal statement.
Along with their application, students must also submit transcripts from their undergraduate program. These can be requested from the school and typically require a fee.
Letters of Recommendation:
Most programs require several letters of recommendation. Students should get their recommendations from professional and educational references, and ask at least three weeks in advance to ensure recommenders have time to adequately write their letters.
Students will be required to submit GRE or GMAT scores to most programs. They will have to meet the minimum score requirement to be considered, a number which varies by school.
Application fees must be paid when the student submits their application. Though they can be waived in special circumstances, they typically cost around $50-$75.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?
Many master's in supply chain management programs will allow students to tailor their degree to their career goals with a a coursework concentration. Concentrations are designed to prepare students for specific career opportunities in their field of study and they connect classes to workplace experiences.
|Quantitative Approaches||In the quantitative approaches concentration, students learn to analyze and manage complex supply chains. They will learn about partnerships, domestic and international stakeholders, and decision making in networks of facilities.||Students with a quantitative approaches concentration can pursue careers as cost estimators or operations managers.|
|Global Business||The global business concentration explores issues that arise in global business management structures. Students will learn about multinational finance, international trade, and decision-making techniques. Coursework focuses on political, technological, environmental, social, economic, and marketing aspects of global business.||With a global business concentration, students will be able to begin careers as strategic leaders, business practitioners, and senior professionals.|
|Logistics and Transportation||Logistics and transportation tracks teach students finance, reverse logistics, logistics, and business law. They also review operations management to explore supply chain management, spreadsheets, and efficiency improvement techniques.||Students with a logistics and transportation specialization can find work as logistics managers, transportation managers, and supply chain managers.|
|Logistics Management||In the logistics management concentration, students will study quantitative and qualitative methods used by transportation and logistics managers of global supply chains. They will explore the decision-making process for warehouse and distribution operations managers, logistics network designers, and transportation managers to relate their coursework to careers in supply chain management.||Students who pursue a logistics management concentration will be qualified to work as logistics managers, transportation managers, or logisticians.|
|Logistics and Operations||Logistics and operations concentrations combine the fundamental pieces of supply chain management to teach students about best practices related to logistics. In the program, students will learn about accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and business law.||This concentration prepares students for careers as transportation managers, global logistics managers, and materials planners.|
Courses in a Master's in Supply Chain Management Program
While most programs focus on similar topics, each school offers its own curriculum. The courses in master's in supply chain management programs cover many topics, including project management, logistics, and data management.
A fundamental piece of supply chain management, logistics courses teach students to plan, implement, and control the efficient forward and reverse storage and flow of services, goods, and information between the point of consumption and the point of origin. Students will also learn about the management of inventory, transportation, and facilities with regard to network design and integrated logistics strategy.
Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Management
Students interested in strategic sourcing can take a strategic sourcing and procurement management course to learn more about value chains and their function for service of interest. They will study analytics like cost modeling and spend analyses in order to inform business case development about how to negotiate with suppliers using multi-party or market-based mechanisms.
Applied Business Analytics
In an applied business analytics course, students will practice how to make business decisions based on intelligence and data. They will learn to make decisions based on data and models. Students will leave the course prepared to make important business decisions regarding retail revenue management, supply chain and logistics, finance, and risk management.
A project management course explores the strategies and tools that students will use to manage non-repetitive business activities like new product development, construction, consulting engagements, market introduction, and organization restructurings. They will focus on the breakdown structure of work, PERT/CPM models and analysis, time and cost models, probabilistic analysis, and network representation.
Big Data Management
The basic foundations of management, acquisition, and visualization of large data sets are some of the key elements students will learn in a big data management course. They learn how to manage, store, and query databases using SQL. They also focus on managing data and efficiently acquiring public data to construct large data sets.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Supply Chain Management?
Master's in supply chain management programs usually take two years to complete, though this estimate is contingent on several factors. The first is whether a student is enrolled part- or full-time. Average lengths are typically calculated assuming full-time enrollment. Many programs offer part-time enrollment options, though students taking classes part-time typically graduate later than their full-time counterparts.
Many students can also increase the amount of credits they are taking in a semester in order to finish their degree sooner rather than later through accelerated-page programs. Master of supply chain management programs comprise around 30 credits and students can often work with their advisor to devise a program plan that maps which credits they will take each semester to calculate a graduation date.
How Much Is a Master's in Supply Chain Management?
Room and board, tuition, the cost of living, and materials are just some of the factors to consider when calculating the cost of a master's in supply chain management. Most of a program's expenses will come from tuition. Pay attention to whether a school charges more for out-of-state students than in-state students, whether a school charges different per-credit-hour costs for online students, or whether a school offers a tuition discount for military students. The average tuition cost for a master's in supply chain management is $52,000 for in-state students and $57,000 for out-of-state students. Master's in supply chain management programs typically require students to complete around 30 credits of coursework.
Tuition, though the most significant cost, is not the only thing students should consider when choosing a program. Students should also research the cost of living in each school's location, accounting for room and board, utilities, and local average salaries of jobs in their field, if they plan to pursue a career in the area. Once a complete cost has been calculated, students should investigate financial aid options.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Supply Chain Management Prepares For
Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity
To demonstrate their expertise of the supply chain, professionals can become a certified professional in supplier diversity. In the program, they will learn about the importance and impact of supplier diversity. Additionally, they will learn to create long-lasting business relationships. Salary data shows that because supplier diversity is in such high demand, professionals with this certification have higher average salaries than professionals without certification.
Certified Supply Chain Professional
Certified supply chain professionals have verified mastery of supply chain management best practices. In the program, professionals become experts in facilitating supply chain functions, physical logistics, information technology, international trade, and customer relations.
Project Management Professional
The project management professional certification validates a professional's project management acumen in team and project direction. This program teaches professionals to speak and understand the project management language in order to connect effectively to professionals and organizations around the world.
Certificate in Production and Inventory Management
This certification provides professionals with the skills to thrive in the supply chain management industry. Professionals learn to evaluate production activities and inventory within global operations as they focus on master scheduling, supplier relationships, procurement management, quality control, and supplier planning.
Certified Professional in Supply Management
Certified professionals in supply management have credentials to prove their knowledge of contracts, negotiations, sourcing, procurement, and leadership. According to salary data, professionals with this certification earn more annually than professionals with no certification.
Resources for Supply Chain Management Graduate Students
Watson Supply Chain
The Watson Supply Chain is an online resource where students can watch webinars, explore site resources to learn about supply chain management topics, and access e-books.
Supply Chain Digest
A resource, widely used by supply chain management students, the Supply Chain Digest is an informational periodical with videocasts, articles, educational resources for students and professionals.
Logility offers access to a wide library of resources, including podcasts, white pages, and industry analyst reports. The company, which creates supply chain management software, also posts success about client supply chain efficiency.
Professional Organizations in Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management master's graduates have the opportunity to join professional organizations. There are many benefits professionals can enjoy in these organizations, including abundant networking opportunities like conferences. Connecting with other professionals can lead to exciting career opportunities, important business connections, and viable references for future professional endeavors. In addition to networking, many professional organizations provide members with training and professional development resources to help broaden their career horizons, polish their skills, and introduce them to the latest industry trends.
Warehousing, Education, & Research Council
Focused on logistics management and the role it plays in the supply chain, the Warehousing, Education, and Research Council is an exclusive professional organization that offers resources to distribution suppliers and practitioners.
Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply is a nonprofit professional organization with offices all over the world. It serves a global community of more than 200,000 members and is one of the largest organizations in the supply chain management field.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
One of the top global professional organizations in the supply chain management industry, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals serves their members by helping them grow their companies and careers. The organization is worldwide and provides online and on-site resources to more than 9,000 members.
Institute for Supply Management
The first nonprofit professional organization dedicated to supply chain management professionals, the ISM serves more than 50,000 members in over 100 countries. They offer members certification and training programs as well as a multitude of learning opportunities for professional development.
American Production and Inventory Control Society
The American Production and Inventory Control Society is best known for their ability to increase performance and develop talent in the supply chain management field. They work with 300 channel partners and are connected to members in more than 100 different country.