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A degree in supply chain management and logistics can be a strong first step towards a career with potential for global impact. Specialists in this ever-evolving industry are responsible for designing, tracking and executing the stages of production within the world’s interconnected marketplace.
If you’re interested in enhancing your skills in leadership, decision-making, strategy, organization and budgeting, a supply chain management (SCM) degree might be right for you.
What Is a Supply Chain Management Degree?
A degree in supply chain management offers practical knowledge in business operations, procurement, accounting and production. Most programs require internships and capstone projects to ensure students can apply their classroom in hands-on settings before graduation. Conveniently, many programs are offered entirely online at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Coursework for a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management covers topics including economics, marketing and organizational behavior, along with general education classes.
A master’s degree in supply chain management can be a master of science or an MBA. This degree may include a concentration or specialization in management or leadership. Curricula explore the modern global marketplace, and students with or without previous SCM experience can apply. Institutions like the Rutgers Business School offer fast-track certificates for individuals who are new to the field and want to jumpstart their graduate work.
Supply Chain Management Admission Requirements
Bachelor’s programs in supply chain management often follow the institution’s general admission requirements. However, some business schools may have separate application processes for SCM programs, including specific requirements for student standing. Look into your schools of choice for their guidance on SAT or ACT scores, GPA minimums and more.
Master’s degree programs typically require applicants to submit:
- Multiple recommendation letters
- A statement of purpose
- Transcripts from an undergraduate institution
- A resume or CV
Note that many graduate programs no longer require standardized test scores for admission. However, some schools may require a minimum GPA.
Courses in a Supply Chain Management Program
At the undergraduate or graduate level, coursework for a supply chain management program aims to cultivate career readiness through simulated classroom experiences.
Common courses in an SCM program might include the following courses.
Global Supply Chain Management
This course explores how supply chains are situated within a globalized world, accounting for economic factors, procurement logistics, sustainability concerns and shifting political, social and technological dynamics across borders.
Business Decision Models
This course provides a hands-on introduction to quantitative software. This includes but is not limited to Microsoft Excel, Tableau and other spreadsheet management programs. Using these tools, students can learn to analyze and strategize supply chain finances.
This course offers a broad overview of day-to-day processes within supply chain management. Topics can vary from the organizational level to the global scale, including inventory planning, transportation logistics, technical support and customer service functions.
Supply Chain Strategy
Utilizing case study methods, this course invites students to explore every stage of a supply chain system. Students rely on analytics and other metrics to strategize overall design, technological enhancements, sustainability factors, product coordination, customer service and additional context related to corporate social responsibility and governmental regulations.
Supply Chain Management Careers
Career outcomes for supply chain management program graduates are diverse and can include roles in purchasing, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation and even customer service. Since supply chains are complex, highly integrated systems, job opportunities in this field are expansive.
Some potential roles include the following.
Median Annual Salary: $97,970
Job Description: Operations managers can be responsible for overseeing supply logistics, including an organization’s storage, inventory and transportation. These professionals also take care of broader business operations related to maintenance, budget and staffing.
Median Annual Salary: $77,030
Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030): +30%
Job Description: Logistics analysts are responsible for assessing and auditing the supply chain of an organization. Sometimes referred to as ‘demand planners’, individuals in this role use existing sales data to inform an organization’s production planning and operations.
Median Annual Salary: $75,410
Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030): -4%
Job Description: Purchasing agents are responsible for managing the purchase of various products or supplies on behalf of an organization. Typically, individuals in this role have previous experience as a buyer.
Storage and Distribution Manager
Median Annual Salary: $98,230
Job Description: Storage and distribution managers manage in-house activities specific to supply needs and the coordination of production resources.
Median Annual Salary: $48,040
Job Description: Production planners facilitate product distribution by managing manufacturing and shipment schedules. They may be responsible for reporting on inventory and supply levels.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Supply Chain Management
Does a career in supply chain pay well?
Yes, especially in leadership positions. At the top, executive-level managers earn a median annual salary approaching $100,000, and experienced logistics managers can make over $120,000.
How long is a supply chain management degree?
A bachelor’s degree in SCM typically takes four years to complete, entailing about 124 credits. Master’s programs vary: Some 30-credit online programs can be completed in as little as one year, while 40-credit options may take up to 18 months.
What degree is best for supply chain management?
This depends on your educational background. For students without a bachelor’s degree, undergraduate supply chain management programs are a great option for acquiring fundamental field knowledge and tangible experience before applying for jobs.