The Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is the most popular educational pathway among graduate students in the United States. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 189,328 master's degrees in business were conferred during the 2013-14 academic year; comparatively, 154,636 master's degrees were conferred in the second most popular graduate degree field (computer science). The versatile MBA curriculum prepares students to pursue executive roles in a wide range of businesses and industries, and MBA-holders earn some of the highest salaries among all master's graduates. Additionally, many MBA programs allow students to narrow their studies on specialized areas of business administration. One of the newest and most popular choices among today's MBA students is supply chain management.
What are the best supply chain management programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX|
|2||Syracuse University||Syracuse, NY|
|3||University of West Florida||Pensacola, FL|
|4||Indiana University Bloomington||Bloomington, IN|
|5||University of St. Francis||Joliet, IL|
|6||University of Arkansas||Fayetteville, AR|
|7||Governors State University||University Park, IL|
|8||Johnson & Wales University||Providence, RI|
|9||Ball State University||Muncie, IN|
|10||Pennsylvania State University||University Park, PA|
Supply chain management is dedicated to optimizing efficiency and productivity in business and manufacturing settings. Professionals in this field monitor company data, finances, materials and other factors that affect day-to-day business operations. Their goal is to streamline all processes and transactions that take place between suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. Supply chain managers and specialists have a keen understanding of accounting, logistics, human resources and organizational psychology. Today's academic experts recognize supply chain management as one of the most cutting-edge — and most lucrative — MBA specializations. Many of today's students are choosing to earn their MBA in supply chain management online, rather at a brick-and-mortar business school. Online students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, and the asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule of many web-based MBA programs is ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other important responsibilities.
Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA in supply chain management and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE MBA IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
The best online MBA in supply chain management programs are designed to build on the foundational knowledge of undergraduate studies and introduce more advanced concepts related to business management and administration. The curriculum is largely dedicated to mathematical subjects like statistics, probability and accounting, as well as operational studies in sourcing and procurement, inventory management, enterprise systems, lean manufacturing and international logistics. Most MBA in supply chain management online programs also feature coursework in Six Sigma, an innovative organizational philosophy that uses data-driven methods to derive real-world results. Internships are widely available — and in some cases, required — for supply chain management MBA students.
WILL AN ONLINE MBA IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
MBA online programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college education. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current technology also enables them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable devices with Wi-Fi capabilities. For added convenience, online supply chain management MBA students can usually coordinate internship opportunities at offices and manufacturing centers that are within a reasonable distance from their current residence.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MBA IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT?
Most entry-level jobs in supply chain management are attainable with a bachelor's degree, and students who graduate with an MBA in supply chain management will also be qualified for supervisory and executive roles. Professionals in this field work at every stage of the supply chain. Some serve as material suppliers or oversee production at factories and manufacturing facilities. Others work as liaisons for wholesalers, retailers and consumers; these professions include buyers and purchasing agents. Additionally, some MBA in supply chain management recipients consult with top executives about ways to increase efficiency and productivity at companies and organizations. These professionals are known as management analysts.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MBA IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS?
Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MBA in supply chain management programs in the United States. If you are considering an online MBA in supply chain management, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.
Accredited Online MBA in Supply Chain Management
University of Texas at Dallas
|Richardson, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
UT Dallas offers an online MBA with a concentration in supply chain management. Core courses include international marketing, financial accounting, and operations management. Specialization classes cover topics like global supply chain management and supply chain software. Full-time students can earn their degree in 21 months. Participants also have the option to pursue one of 13 MS/MBA dual-degree options.
Ninety percent of students in the program complete an internship. Gaining this important professional experience helps 92% of alumni find a job within 90 days of graduation.
Admission requirements include GMAT or GRE scores and a recommendation letter. Texas residents receive a significant tuition discount.
|Syracuse, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Syracuse offers an online master of business administration with six concentration options, including supply chain management. The 54-credit curriculum of this program consists of three components: core courses, electives, and a U.S. or global residency. The supply chain management concentration emphasizes business analytics and Lean Six Sigma fundamentals. Syracuse's MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Approximately 60% of alumni report that they received a raise and/or promotion after graduating with their MBA. Syracuse provides distance learners with extensive digital resources, including a resume guide and interviewing best practices.
Prospective students with at least five years of work experience can receive a GMAT waiver. All MBA students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Learners can apply for federal, state, and private financial aid opportunities. Other students may receive tuition reimbursement from their employer.
University of West Florida
|Pensacola, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
UWF awards an online MBA with an emphasis in supply chain management. Students complete 36 credits, including coursework in global logistics management, logistics systems, and a seminar in supply chain logistics strategy. Participants remain in good academic standing by maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Nearly 80% of UWF's MBA alumni accept a job offer within one year of earning their degree. The university provides specialized job-hunting resources, including an MBA career guide; this comprehensive document helps learners create a career action plan, develop an effective resume, and network with employers.
Applicants must submit GMAT, GRE, or MAT scores. Incoming students who need financial aid should submit the school's graduate assistantship and scholarship application.
Indiana University Bloomington
|Bloomington, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
IU's hybrid MBA program requires 54 credits of classes and two one-week residencies that students complete on campus. Participants can pick a major within the MBA program, such as supply chain management, or take 12 additional credits to earn an MBA and an MS. Required classes cover topics related to economics, strategic marketing management, and organizational behavior. Students also take 27 credits of electives.
IU's MBA alumni, on average, enjoy a 29% raise after graduation. Current students and alumni can take advantage of IU's career development seminars, which help learners identify transferable skills and develop a personal brand.
Prospective students must submit GMAT or GRE scores and complete an interview. All students pursuing an MBA pay the same tuition, regardless of residency.
University of St. Francis
|Joliet, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Working professionals who want to earn an online MBA in 12-18 months should consider enrolling at USF. Participants choose one of eight concentration options, including supply chain management. The curriculum includes core courses in project management, business logistics, and international logistics management, as well as 12 concentration credits. Students also have the option to earn a graduate certificate.
USF provides distance learners with Handshake and College Central Network job search software. Career advisors also work with students one-on-one to research and apply for internships.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in economics or a related field and two years of relevant experience. USF does not charge out-of-state tuition rates. The MBA program accepts up to nine transfer credits.
University of Arkansas
|Fayetteville, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
Most online students can complete UA's 38-credit master of business administration in two years. Learners choose from several focus study areas, including supply chain. Students who choose this concentration complete specialized courses in supply chain management in global business and predictive supply chain analytics.
UA helps students and alumni write strong resumes and develop interview skills. According to the university, over 90% of alumni find a fulfilling career.
Prospective students with at least five years of work experience do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores. UA charges the same tuition rate to all MBA students, regardless of residency. The university does not require a separate application for financial aid purposes.
Governors State University
|University Park, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
GSU's online MBA in supply chain management allows full-time students to graduate in 18 months. Relevant coursework includes global supply chain management; logistics, transportation, and warehouse management; and strategic placement and materials management. Additionally, current GSU undergraduates can earn this degree as part of a 4+1 program.
GSU offers distance learners multiple online resources, including the Job for Jaguars job board and access to Parker Dewey — a service that offers micro-internships.
GSU waives standardized test score requirements for applicants who earned a minimum 3.5 undergraduate GPA. Other admission requirements include a two-page essay and two recommendation letters. GSU awards over a dozen institutional scholarships to eligible students.
Johnson & Wales University
|Providence, RI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Learners interested in an accelerated program should consider earning JWU's online MBA in operations and supply chain management. Courses in this program last eight weeks and include financial management, global logistics, and operations management. Degree-seekers gain many in-demand skills, such as the ability to make strategic recommendations to senior managers. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously.
JWU provides each student with personalized job-hunting advice. Alumni enjoy a career success rate above 90%.
JWU hosts virtual open houses for prospective students. Distance learners pay slightly more per credit than on-campus students. JWU participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Ball State University
|Muncie, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
Ball State's online MBA program offers a logistics and supply chain management concentration. The curriculum includes core coursework in information systems and managerial finance, as well as concentration coursework related to topics like project management and quality management. Faculty deliver all coursework asynchronously.
Ball State provides distance learners with interest inventories, an in-depth career guide, the latest information regarding career trends, and exclusive career opportunities through Cardinal Career Link.
Learners who hold an undergraduate degree in business are exempt from all foundational courses. Ball State admits new students in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 GPA and standardized test scores. The university's financial aid and scholarships website curates current institutional aid opportunities.
Pennsylvania State University
|University Park, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Through its Global Campus, Penn State offers an online MBA program that allows students to choose from more than 20 nine-credit concentrations, including supply chain management. In addition to 39 core credits, supply chain management students take classes like supply chain performance metrics and financial analysis and operations management and demand fulfillment.
Students must attend a five-day residency at the start of the program at the school's campus in University Park. They also have the option to participate in a week-long global immersion experience in an international business setting. Online MBA students can talk with dedicated career advisors to ease their job search.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree earned from a regionally accredited institution. Although there is no prerequisite coursework for this program, experience in accounting, economics, math, and/or statistics adds to the strength of an applicant's portfolio.
WHAT ELSE CAN I EXPECT FROM AN ONLINE MBA IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM?
|How Long Is an Online MBA Program?||18 months to 2 years|
|Program Costs||$25,000 to $50,000 for full tuition|
|Concentrations||General Management, Management Consulting, Operations Management, Finance or Financial Analysis, Strategy, Human Resources, Decision Sciences, Project Management, Lean Management
|Accreditation||Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)|
|Additional Considerations||Many MBA programs require candidates to sit for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and some require a minimum score. However, not all MBA programs require a GMAT score for admission.|
EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK FOR MBA IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT GRADUATES
Job Placement: MBA in Supply Chain Management vs Bachelor of Business Administration
According to the BLS, the business management sector is expected to grow 6% — or roughly 505,000 jobs — between 2014 and 2024. Despite the relatively large number of new positions, this growth rate is slightly slower than the projected rate for all industries. Those who earn an online MBA in supply chain management will be poised to compete in the job market and land top-level positions.
Unemployment rates in the corporate sector vary by specific job title. Using data from U.S. News & World Report, the following table looks at unemployment rates for some of the most popular careers related to supply chain management.
|Occupation||Unemployment Rate (2016)|
|Market Research Analyst||2.4%|
|Business Operations Manager||3.7%|
|Operations Research Analyst||3.8%|
Source: U.S. News & World Report
Of all eight occupations listed, the average unemployment rate is 2.81% — roughly half the national unemployment rate for all industries, which is currently set at 4.6%.
Earning a Living
In addition to higher job placement rates, MBA graduates also enjoy higher earning potential than their bachelor's-holding colleagues. The 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report found that students who graduate with a bachelor's in supply chain management earn a median annual salary of $53,900 during their first five years in the workforce; comparatively, students with an MBA in supply chain management earn a median annual salary of $62,300 — roughly 16% more than their bachelor's degree-holding counterparts. The table below looks at the wage differences for bachelor's and master's degree recipients in eight different business fields.
|Degree/Professional Field||Median Entry-Level Salary for Bachelor's Graduates||Median Entry-Level Salary for Master's/ MBA Graduates||Wage Premium for Master's/MBA Graduates|
|Supply Chain Management||$53,900||$62,300||16%|
|Marketing and Management||$44,100||$53,100||20%|
As the table indicates, supply chain management is a lucrative area of study for degree-holders at both levels; this field represented the highest entry-level salary among all eight undergraduate majors, and the third highest salary among MBA graduates. However, salary expectations for employees with an MBA in supply chain management will depend on that individual's specific occupation. The next table features PayScale career salary projections for five of the most common job titles in supply chain management.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years)||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Supply Chain Manager||$64,281||$80,850||$88,361||$88,955|
|Supply Chain Analyst||$55,206||$62,746||$66,174||$74,379|
|Operations Research Analyst||$66,055||$82,236||$102,548||$109,983|
All five occupations listed on the table reported a career salary growth rate of at least 27%. Operations research analysts saw the highest growth: a 66.5% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Supply chain managers placed second with 38.3% salary growth after two decades in the workforce, followed by supply chain analysts with 34.7%.
Students who graduate with an MBA in supply chain management will be qualified for dozens of top-level positions, although individual eligibility will depend on additional factors like company size and city/state of employment. Four of the most common career pathways in supply chain management are highlighted below.
Logisticians: Logisticians oversee the materials, manpower, transportation needs, finances and other aspects of a company's supply chain. Some specialize in niche areas, such as materials acquisition or distribution and delivery, while others perform various tasks related to the company's entire production life cycle.
Management Analysts: Also known as management consultants, these professionals meet with company executives and organizational leaders to discuss various improvement strategies. Their goal is to help clients maximize efficiency, reduce unnecessary costs and streamline production throughout different supply chain stages.
Buyers and Purchasing Agents: Buyers and purchasing agents work as intermediaries during the latter stages of a supply chain. They often work for retailers, attending trade shows and acquiring goods from wholesalers. They also use financial reports, customer surveys and other metrics to determine workable product prices.
Cost Estimators: Cost estimators oversee the financial aspects of a company's supply chain. They must calculate the financial costs, employee needs, time, materials and other factors needed to manufacture certain products and keep business operations running smoothly.
|Profession||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth (2014-24)|
|Logisticians||$74,260||2% (+2,500 jobs)|
|Management Analysts||$81,320||14% (+103,200 jobs)|
|Buyers and Purchasing Agents||$59,620||2% (+7,200 jobs)|
|Cost Estimators||$60,390||9% (+18,700 jobs)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to supply chain management is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for supply chain managers. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.
- American Production and Inventory Control Society: Founded in 1957, APICS has experienced significant growth since 2014 following mergers with the Supply Chain Council and the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (AST&L). The organization offers four professional certification programs, and hosts nationwide conferences and industry events throughout the year.
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: Considered the world's leading professional organization for the supply chain field, CSCMP offers six different membership options in order to accommodate a large pool of candidates. The organization also offers a three-tier certification program known as SCPro.
- Association of MBAs: Based in London, AMBA is the only international organization specifically dedicated to educating, supporting and connecting MBA graduates across different industries. Members are given a platform to network with fellow MBA-holders from more than 200 accredited business schools. Other benefits include continuing ed opportunities through the AMBA career center and access to online webinars.
Financing Your Online MBA in Supply Chain Management
Despite the relative affordability of online MBA programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.
Finance — the study of money and asset management — is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.
Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master's degrees in HR for more information.
Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.
Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.