Cutting Through The Supply Chain MBA Hype
Supply chain management (SCM) in 2018 is a term so widely used that it’s hard to imagine it’s only been in existence for roughly 35 years. The strategic coordination of processes and functions across a given company’s supply chain, the end goal of good SCM is exceptional value for the customer, all the while removing inefficiencies and bottlenecks along the way. Urban lore has it that the term first surfaced in the early 1980s when a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton referenced the “management of supply chains, or supply chain management” in an interview with the Financial Times. SCM caught fire and the rest is history.
As with any fundamental, and fast developing business niche, firms need people specialized in that area to gain a competitive advantage. This is where the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in SCM comes into play. A typical MBA program will, of course, touch on SCM concepts, but SCM will be one of perhaps 10 or even 15 concepts within the overall degree. For generalists, an MBA is excellent. But if SCM is the focal point, an MBA in SCM is the intelligent route.
Putting together the pieces and making sure everything functions smoothly are SCM at its core. The MBA in SCM is for you if you enjoy organizing moving parts, managing people (often simultaneously locally and around the globe) and staying on top of global trends. The MBA in SCM provides core business foundations but with a singular focus on operations.
A common question is: What types of jobs are available for folks with an MBA in SCM? To start, such positions as inventory control manager, purchasing manager or vendor managed inventory coordinator are commonplace. These are mid to even upper level positions at some firms which often lead to top-level management positions down the line.
In the eCommerce world, SCM is taking new forms, an omnichannel approach that considers customer preferences digitally across a range of interaction points to meet their requests as efficiently as possible, no matter their location.
The MBA in Operations and SCM from Michigan State University is one of the premier choices for those seeking a higher degree in SCM. While it is hard to pin down which institution first began to offer SCM courses, Michigan State was the first to offer the SCM degree and continues to count on a world-class faculty base and pedagogy that is second to none. Manufacturing Design and Analysis, Integrated Logistics Systems, Total Quality Management and Service Supply Chains are just a handful of the classes incoming students have access to.
Another fantastic option is the MBA in SCM at Pennsylvania State University. To the chagrin of Michigan State, Gartner Inc. rated the MBA in SCM at Pennsylvania State No. 1 a couple years back, propelling this two-year program to the forefront. An interesting wrinkle with the Penn State program is during the last spring term students have the chance to travel abroad as part of the Global Immersion program to witness SCM and other business facets in play at leading firms everywhere from Turkey to China to Peru or India.
The hype around SCM is real and growing. A quick search of leading programs is a great first start, options are plentiful, and the future indeed bright.