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.
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
|1||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 20%||
UNC occupies a 729-acre campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Its history dates back to 1789, making it one of the oldest public schools in the U.S. UNC’s online supply chain management MBA is highly respected, with U.S. News & World Report ranking the program among the top 20 nationally. The program emphasizes the managerial dimension of supply chain operations, with a curriculum divided into six distinct modules: Inventory and Information Management, Global Operations, Distribution and Transportation, Supplier Management, Electronic Supply Chains, and Management of Product Variety. The program features extensive coverage of core business concepts, and studies in e-commerce and technological developments in the context of supply chain logistics. UNC operates an interactive online platform that features live, face-to-face video interactions, allowing students to build a sense of community while earning their degree from anywhere in the country. UNC has four Global Immersions a year, giving students the opportunity to learn from business professional around the world.
|2||Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 18%||
Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem, PA, offers an online MBA in supply chain management through its innovative Flex MBA program. Flex MBA students participate in evening courses in real-time with students on campus. In this interactive format, distance learners actively engage with professors and classmates to discuss lectures and ask questions. For those who cannot be online in the evenings when courses meet, Lehigh University also offers asynchronous courses. Lectures for these classes are accessible at any time to make sure that nobody misses out on the conversation.
Students in this 36-credit program learn about strategic supply chain management, transportation logistics, and supply and demand planning. Distance learners can either complete program requirements at their pace or choose the accelerated path to complete the degree in as little as 18 months. Participants must submit GMAT scores or prove at least 10 years of related work experience.
Lehigh Business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
|3||North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 31%||
Serving more than 34,000 students from its main campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, NCSU is the largest university in the Carolinas as well as a major center of research in the region. The school’s online supply chain management MBA is an interdisciplinary degree that combines knowledge of distribution, logistics purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, and product development. Students in the program work in multidisciplinary teams, developing a comprehensive understanding of the entire supply chain, with particular emphasis on information and supply flow. The degree teaches skills necessary for leadership positions in the field, including management report writing, effective business presentation delivery, and team management. NCSU maintains a partnership with the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, giving students the opportunity to interact with and learn from experienced managers in the industry. Online students can access the SCRC Video Library, which features interviews with researchers and industry professionals on contemporary issues in the field.
|4||The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 2%||
UT is home to more than 51,000 students, with a main campus that sits in the heart of Austin. UT’s school of business is a prominent research center and one of the top business institutions in the country, ranked among the top 20 schools for MBAs by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, and Financial Times. The MBA in Supply Chain Management online at UT gives students a strategic, application-oriented perspective on logistical operations and resource management. The Supply Chain concentration allows students to choose five courses from a wide selection of electives, including Service Operations, Investment Theory, and Strategic Marketing. UT stresses experiential learning, and students in the MBA program have the opportunity to interact with industry partners of the University of Texas Supply Chain Consortium through an advanced practicum course, gaining real life business skills through industry experience.
|5||University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 10%||
Founded in 1856 in College Park, Maryland (about 4 miles from the border with Washington, D.C.), UMD is the flagship campus in the University System of Maryland and the largest university in the area, with an enrollment of more than 37,000 students. The online supply chain management degree at UMD is a MS in Supply Chain Management, giving students an in-depth understanding of both the organizational and technical dimensions of the industry. The degree emphasizes both managerial and communication skills, giving students the skills to interact with other supply chain executives from a variety of industries. Students gain relevant knowledge in project management and modern software packages. UMD is heavily focused on emerging technology, and the school maintains a renowned online supply chain lab. The lab is a teaching and business resource that gathers leading academics and business figures to study and debate the evolving internet economy in relation to supply chain organization.
|6||Golden Gate University - San Francisco San Francisco, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 51%||
Located in the financial district of San Francisco, California, GGU is a private university specializing in professional education in the areas of law, accounting, taxation, and business. Established in the late 19th century as a YMCA night school, GGU became a full-fledged academic institution in 1901. The school’s online MBA in Supply Chain and Logistics includes two core courses in Supply Chain Planning and Global Supply Chain Management, along with a selection of elective courses that students can use to further specialize their degree. Students can choose to specialize in two key areas, with options including sustainability, production planning, technology, purchasing, and logistics. The program offers an overview of fundamental supply chain concepts, including purchasing management, production, inventory, logistics, and international trade. Students can create a career plan to help outline and accomplish professional goals, with the assistance of academic and industry mentors. Today the school serves more than 5,000 students annually, many through its online degree programs, some of which date back nearly 20 years.
|7||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 96%||
Liberty University is a private college located in Virginia. The school delivers faith-based education, instilling each degree path with Christian values. The online MBA program in supply chain management endeavors to elevate working professionals to more challenging and fulfilling positions in their chosen fields. Graduates pursue careers as loss prevention managers, cost estimators, industrial production managers, and storage and distribution managers.
Though the program requires 45 credits total, students can transfer up to 22 credits from other accredited institutions. MBA students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Participants may only count up to two classes in which they earned a C. Students must repeat any classes in which they earn a D or lower.
The Liberty online business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
|8||Northeastern University Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 10%||
The D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University combines foundational coursework with a global perspective. The MBA in supply chain management educates students in transportation industries, strategic sourcing, and sustainability of supply chains. Graduates enter careers in international logistics, purchasing, transportation, and analysis.
The 50-credit MBA online program at Northeastern University can be completed in as little as two years. Coursework includes 13 core classes and five electives in one’s chosen area of expertise. In addition to the supply chain management focus, students can complete a dual concentration by completing four classes in each specialization. Dual concentration students can connect chain management with finance and healthcare, entrepreneurship, international management, or high technology management. The school does not require the GMAT for application.
Northeastern University is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The AACSB grants accreditation to the D’Amore-McKim School of Business.
|9||Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 51%||
A private university in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU serves over 24,000 students, offering more than 175 academic programs through 18 schools and colleges. Nationally ranked by both Washington Monthly and U.S. News & World Report, the school is one of the country’s largest providers of professional degrees to minority students. The online supply chain management degree offers five start dates throughout the year, with concentration courses offered in sequence starting each winter term. Students in the program gain an understanding of dealings with domestic suppliers and international sourcing, building skills for supply chain decision making, and organization. The program requires 15 credits in supply chain elective courses such as Project Management, Supply Chain Strategies, and International Transportation and Logistics. NSU’s school of business enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year, and the school’s 100 corporate partnerships provide ample opportunities for professional experience and networking.
|10||Syracuse University Syracuse, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 25%||
Syracuse offers an MBA with a specialization in supply chain management. Students cover information technologies, optimization techniques, and analytical techniques, and learn how they are used to evaluate risk mitigation and strategy implementation in the global supply chain. The program requires students to complete 54 total credits, including 36 hours of core business classes, 15 in a specialization, and three electives. Through courses such as Strategic Sourcing, Global Supply Chain Management, and Principles Of Management Science, students gain hands-on experience developing optimization models for real companies. The online supply chain management program features flexible start dates throughout the year, allowing distance learners to begin classes in January, April, July, or October. After graduation, Syracuse also offers students the opportunity to pursue a variety of professional certifications, including the APICS, ISM, and ASQ. Online students have access to the school’s virtual career center, personalized career coaching, and valuable networking opportunities.
|11||University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 38%||
Established in 1871, UA is the premier public university in the state of Arkansas, serving more than 26,000 students from its campus in Fayetteville. U.S. News & World Report ranks UA’s school of business among the top 50 in the country, and the Supply Chain specialty ranks 14th. The school maintains deep connections with the retail and transportation industries, making UA an ideal choice for students interested in earning a supply chain management degree online. It’s a 48 credit hour program requiring students to do an internship or study abroad program for a full semester. The program prepares students for leadership positions in the field, focusing on the integration of supply and demand needs through advanced organizational strategies. In addition to a broad business education, students take four elective courses for the Supply Chain specialization. Courses cover fundamental topics of inventory management and replenishment, network design, and forecasting. Full-time students can complete the program in five-semesters.
|12||The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 82%||
The accelerated online MBA program at the University of West Florida features a broad spectrum of classes designed to cater to each student’s professional aspirations. Courses in the supply chain logistics management concentration include business process integration, public policy, organizational behavior, and logistics systems and analytics. Students can complete the 36-credit program in as little as 16 months.
The University of West Florida accommodates active military service members, veterans, and their families with special tuition discounts. The school accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. Applicants usually submit GMAT scores. However, the University of West Florida may waive the GMAT requirement for students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher, a master’s or doctorate in a STEM or business-related field, or three to eight years of previous work experience in business management.
The University of West Florida is accredited by SACSCOC. The school’s college of business receives accreditation from the AACSB.
|13||University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 31%||
Founded in 1869, UNL is both the oldest, and largest university in Nebraska. The school serves a student-body around 25,000 students from its main campus in Lincoln. UNL, as a research university, ranks as a top value school, receiving strong ratings from both Kiplinger’s and the Princeton Review. Students earning their supply chain management degree online gain strong analytical skills and learn about relevant technology for the supply chain industry. Distance learners gain foundational knowledge of business functions during the first year of the program, then move on to more specialized supply chain elective courses in the second year. UNL’s business school is internationally respected, and the college’s MBA program is ranked among the top 20 in the country by both the Financial Times and U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News also ranks the school’s MBA as one of the best in the country for veterans.
|14||Governors State University University Park, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 32%||
Located about 30 miles south of Chicago in University Park, Illinois, GSU is a public university with an enrollment of around 5,500 students. Since 1969, the school has offered affordable, accessible education to students of all backgrounds. Tuition rates are among the lowest in the state; more than half of all students identify as ethnic minorities and the average GSU student is 32.4 years old. The online MBA in Supply Chain and Logistics at GSU is respected, receiving praise from The Wall Street Journal. The fully online program teaches students to devise innovative solutions to contemporary problems of logistics and transportation, emphasizing knowledge of fundamental industry concepts including materials management, distribution, sourcing and procurement, transportation management, and supply chain optimization. Students end the program with a final capstone course focused on supply chain management in a global context, synthesizing various program elements into a cumulative project.
|15||Norwich University Northfield, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 99%||
As our world becomes more interconnected, corporations, factories, and institutions require ever-more complex relationships to maintain dialogue and product transfer. The supply chain management MBA degree at Norwich University addresses these complex global relationships. The program combines one-on-one faculty meetings with small course enrollment to ensure an individualized educational experience.
Norwich University’s MBA program requires 36 credits. The specialization in supply chain management focuses on key issues in strategy, logistics, and optimization. After completing coursework, all participants must participate in a weeklong residency on campus during the month of June.
Norwich University receives accreditation from NEASC. The online MBA receives accreditation from both ACBSP and the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC).
|16||Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 48%||
Located in Hamden, Connecticut, QU is a private university that serves more than 9,000 students. The university operates one of the top business schools in New England, receiving praise from both the Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report for the strength of its online graduate business programs. The online supply chain management MBA prepares students to manage warehouse and transportation systems, blending fundamental business skills with specialized knowledge in analytics logistics technology, global market analysis, and project leadership. Graduates are ready for leadership positions in operations, purchasing, transportation, and logistics, in industries ranging from retail and manufacturing to healthcare. The supply chain track includes four required courses. Students can substitute other electives relevant to their professional interests with the approval of an adviser. QU’s School of Business is certified by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an honor bestowed on just 5% of institutions nationwide.
|17||Texas A & M International University Laredo, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 41%||
Texas A&M University’s online MBA offers students an in-depth exploration of U.S.-Mexico trade relations. Located on the border in Laredo, the university carefully examines international trade and logistics through local case studies and practical, real-world situations. Texas A&M prides itself on offering a multicultural experience that brings business specialists from a broad background together.
This 30-hour, fully online program is designed for participants working full-time. Students can complete the degree in two years. Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores. Students without prior experience in the field of business management may participate in the university’s MBA boot camp, a 6-hour intensive course to bring all students to the same level. Courses focus on business research skills, global environments, and economics.
|18||Bellevue University Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 93%||
Bellevue was founded in 1966 with a mission of adult education and outreach, and the school caters to non-traditional students, enrolling a majority who are aged 25 or older. The university serves over 10,000 students from its main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska. Bellevue’s distance education program is top rated, receiving high marks from U.S. News & World Report. The school’s online supply chain management degree focuses on the integration and streamlining of business processes to maximize efficiency. Students can choose from several elective courses that cover topics in supply chain modeling, information technology practices, and global supply chain management. Program graduates are prepared for positions with logistics service providers, distributors, manufacturers, and consulting firms. Students who complete the Supply Chain MBA at Bellevue and meet certain requirements are eligible to receive their Certification in Transportation and Logistics, an industry standard that normally requires years of professional membership and rigorous testing.
|19||National University La Jolla, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 82%||
Located in La Jolla, California, NU is a private, non-profit university founded in 1971. Primarily geared toward adult learners, the school provides accessible education to diverse student populations, awarding more graduate degrees to minority students than any other university in California. The school’s focus on accessibility translates to a range of distance education programs, including an online Supply Chain Management MBA. Students in the MBA program gain advanced skills in logistical functionality, ranging from inventory deployment to transportation networks. The program emphasizes efficiency and strategic engagement, teaching students to reinvent companies from within and improve supply chain organization. Graduates are prepared to develop effective management policies and supply chain processes, using their knowledge to design effective distribution networks for organizations large and small. The program culminates in a capstone course that has students develop a high-level business project using theories and practices gained during graduate study.
|20||Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 24%||
Lindenwood is a private liberal arts school in Saint Charles, Missouri, about 25 miles northwest of St. Louis. In addition to ranking as one of the fastest growing colleges in the Midwest, Lindenwood also boasts the distinction of being the second-oldest university west of the Mississippi River, dating back to 1827. The school’s online supply chain management MBA focuses on the integration of procurement, operations, and logistics practices between organizations, suppliers, and distributors. Students in the program gain a range of general business skills and specialized supply chain knowledge, delivered in four elective courses. Significant portions of the program are dedicated to the examination of case studies, bringing students up to date on contemporary business challenges. The school offers 131 degree programs to a student body of over 16,000, with 96% of graduates either finding employment or enrolling in further education within six months of graduation.
|21||Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 76%||
Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Arkansas State serves over 14,000 students, making it the second-largest university in the state. Since its establishment in 1909 as an agricultural school, Arkansas State has grown into a comprehensive public university; U.S. News & World Report ranks it as one of the top schools in the region. The online supply chain management degree at A-State ranks as one of the top programs in the nation for both quality and affordability. Students gain knowledge of leadership, international business strategies, and relevant technology and decision-making tools, all grounded in a framework of ethics and social responsibility. The Supply Chain concentration consists of four additional courses focusing on the core components of supply chain functions, including Sourcing and Procurement, Logistics Operations, and a Seminar in Logistics Management. Online students are allowed to take internship courses at approved organizations, they count as one elective course.
|22||Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 100%||
Penn State offers a 48-credit online MBA program with the choice to concentrate in supply chain management. Students complete 39 general management credits and nine concentration credits; elective courses include Demand Fulfillment, Manufacturing and Service Operations Planning, and a required Introduction to Supply Chain Management class. Prospective students must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a four-year university (or received a comparable tertiary degree) and have competitive GMAT or GRE scores. New students, even those studying online, are required to attend a five-day orientation residency in University Park, PA at the onset of the program; the costs of accommodations and meals are included in tuition. Online students have access to a highly ranked Penn State World Campus Technical Support Team and career advisors. Full- and half-time online students are eligible to receive financial aid. Other concentrations include accounting, advanced accounting, and human resource management.
|23||Oregon State University Corvallis, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 23%||
The online MBA degree in supply chain and logistics management at Oregon State University takes an international approach to business logistics, with a focus on Asia and the Pacific Rim. The program covers topics in business legal environments, advanced strategic management, and data analytics.
The fully-online program requires at least 21 months to complete. The hybrid program allows participants to complete 80% of coursework online, and 20% on campus in either Portland or Bend, Oregon. OSU may waive 15 entry-level credits for participants with an undergraduate degree in business. Applicants must provide GRE or GMAT scores. However, some students may obtain a waiver based on their previous academic or professional background.
|24||Ashland University Ashland, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 74%||
Ashland University’s online MBA degree in supply chain management leads students through each element of the commercial supply chain, from the manufacturer to the consumer. Students also gain knowledge on international business relations. Courses cover subject matter such as the fundamentals of supply chains, logistics of procurement, and supply chain strategy.
Ashland University’s hybrid MBA program often takes 16 to 24 months to complete. Students may also choose an accelerated format that can be completed in as little as one year. The school may waive GRE and GMAT requirements on a case-by-case basis. To help distance learners stay connected, Ashland offers free WiFi hotspots through Verizon. All graduates are prepared to earn project management professional certification.
|25||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Whitewater, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Enrolled Online: 52%||
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater operates business centers that assist the local community with economic impact assessments, website development, and customer research. UW-W’s online MBA in supply chain management has been rated highly by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. The school also received international accolades from the World Commerce Review and the European Education Awards.
Students in the program gain skills in quality management, logistics, sourcing, and product development. The 36-credit online MBA covers foundational coursework in areas such as leadership and negotiation. The school offers ten other areas of emphasis, including international business and finance. Distance learners may add an additional area of emphasis for six extra credits. Students without a bachelor’s degree in business may have to complete additional coursework in marketing, statistics, or technology and information systems.
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.
- Best Online MBA in Supply Chain Management Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL 2 Golden Gate University-San Francisco San Francisco, CA 3 National University La Jolla, CA 4 Lindenwood University Saint Charles, MO 5 Governors State University University Park, IL 6 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA 7 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 8 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC 9 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR 10 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE 11 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 12 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 13 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 14 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT 15 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE 16 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL 17 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 18 University of Hartford West Hartford, CT 19 University of Maryland-College Park College Park, MD