Supply Chain Management MBA Concentrations Gain Steam at Business Schools

A growing number of business schools are offering master of business administration concentrations and specializations in supply chain management, setting students up for jobs in a fast-growing, high-demand field.
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Published on February 27, 2024
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  • A growing number of business schools are adding supply chain management to their list of master of business administration concentrations.
  • Supply chain management jobs are projected to grow rapidly over the next several years.
  • An MBA in supply chain management can prepare students for more lucrative leadership roles in that field.
  • Supply chain management is a high-demand skill set for employers as logistics professions are projected to grow.

A master of business administration (MBA) degree in supply chain management can unlock leadership opportunities in a field projected to see meteoric growth over the next several years — and business schools are launching specialized MBA concentrations to prepare students for that industry.

Schools from the rural Midwest to cities on the East Coast have incorporated supply chain management into their MBA curriculum in recent years, partly owing to the high demand for supply chain managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of logisticians alone will grow by 18%, a much faster pace than the average growth rate for all occupations, between 2022 and 2032.

Many major business schools already have supply chain management concentrations for their MBA students, with some also coming alongside a science, technology, engineering, and math MBA (STEM MBA) designation.

The Rutgers Business School's full-time MBA concentration in supply chain management, for instance, boasts 100% employment and internship placement rates for its graduates and students and a curriculum that covers everything from data analysis to negotiating and sustainability.

The Drexel University LeBow College of Business is another high-power business school offering a supply chain management and logistics MBA concentration. The Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business also offers a supply chain management concentration, with courses focused on operations planning, logistics, sustainability, procurement, and other key topics for the field.

But those well-established programs aren't alone in offering a specialization in that lucrative field. As more business schools adopt online, flexible programs, many are also incorporating supply chain management into their curriculum for MBA students.

More Business Schools Add Supply Chain Management to MBA Concentrations

Business schools of all shapes and sizes are adding supply chain management to their roster of MBA concentrations.

The University of Southern Indiana Romain College of Business will launch its own concentration in supply chain management in the fall of 2024.

That supply chain management-focused MBA program will feature flexible online and hybrid options for students. It can be completed in less than a year and comes at a price tag of $12,900 — setting up students for a potentially powerful return on their investment.

Fernando Ferreira, Romain College of Business assistant professor of management, underscored the importance of supply chain management skills in a school press release.

"Learning supply chain management is crucial for business professionals in today's interconnected world for two key reasons: It enhances decision-making and fosters competitive advantage," Ferreira said in the release.

A number of smaller public and private institutions are both launching flexible online options for students and adding supply chain management to their MBA programs.

The University of Jamestown in North Dakota, for example, is set to launch an online MBA program in the fall of 2024. It will feature customizable options and high-demand credentials for students, including in supply chain management.

Other business schools are shaping entire undergraduate degrees around supply chain management. The University of Hartford announced a specialized supply chain management undergraduate degree program last year.

"We are thrilled to offer the new supply chain and logistics management program," Carmen Cotei, interim dean of the University of Hartford's Barney School of Business, said in a release at the time.

"These jobs focus on the digital transformation, analytics, risk management, and sustainability, and this is exactly what we had in mind when we designed the curriculum for this program."

Why Get a Supply Chain Management MBA Concentration?

Supply chain managers are in high demand, and a specialized MBA in supply chain management can open up a number of opportunities for graduates.

Earning an MBA can lead to higher earnings and career advancement for students. As more business schools incorporate supply chain management into their roster of concentrations, students have a wide range of more affordable, flexible options to advance in that field.

A 2024 report by the manufacturing network Zetwerk found the average median annual salary for supply chain jobs was $90,812. Purchasing managers had the highest median annual salary of supply chain jobs analyzed by Zetwerk at $131,350. Industrial production managers had a median annual wage of $107,560, and transportation, storage, and distribution managers had a median annual wage of $98,560.

Those higher earnings come amid a nationwide supply chain staffing shortage, according to the Harvard Business Review, which noted in a 2023 article that supply chain pressure isn't just caused by a lack of resources and delays in shipping, but labor shortages as well.

Businesses are eager to address that shortage. Ferreira said in the University of Southern Indiana release that supply chain management is critical to business success.

"First, understanding the intricate flow of materials, information, and services within a company empowers professionals to make informed decisions across departments," Ferreira said.

"Second, in a globalized marketplace, mastering supply chain management allows businesses to gain a significant edge. Professionals who understand international trade regulations, navigate complex transportation networks, and build strong relationships with diverse suppliers can create resilient and agile supply chains."

Cotei said in the University of Hartford release that "there is excess demand for the supply chain and logistics jobs with 300-500 new jobs added in Connecticut every month."