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What Can I Do With a Supply Chain Management MBA?

You love to think about what it takes “behind the scenes” to be able to grab even the most basic of items at a grocery store. When you see a new retail location crop up, you wonder why that location was chosen. You think the complex world of manufacturing is fascinating.

Well, then you may make a great supply chain manager.

Supply chain management is a multidisciplinary aspect of business concerned with:

  • Planning for the creation of a project
  • Sourcing and providing logistical support to gain raw materials
  • Production methods
  • Distribution of created products
  • Cost and risk control at all above stages

When you step into a large retail store or browse through a large online retailers site, chances are massive supply chain management efforts have been undertaken to provide these offerings.

Behind the scenes of nearly every sector of our economy, supply chain management monitors raw material acquisition, logistics, and manufacturing. While you may not think about the journey taken by your potato chips to make it to your hand, someone has, and a good number of those people are supply chain managers.

Here at MBACentral we’ve covered a wide range of Masters of Business Administration topics, including plenty on supply chain management MBAs. Below you can find some related articles, or keep on reading to see what you can do with a supply chain management MBA.

What is a Supply Chain Management MBA?

Supply chain management MBAs are professional masters-level degree programs that blend a general business administration curriculum with specialization courses in supply chain management.

Typically masters in business administration degrees require 1-3 years for completion. Many programs are built for adult learners that have jobs and other responsibilities while they attend school. This means that many MBA programs offer online delivery, hybrid delivery, weekend classes, or night classes (along with other flexibility-enhancing considerations).

The core requirements of most masters in business administration programs are similar. They aim to give students a well-rounded graduate-level understanding of many components of business that managers may be expected to be aware of.

Common core requirements within MBA programs include:

  • Statistics
  • Operations
  • Microeconomics
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Macroeconomics
  • Finance
  • Business Ethics
  • Accounting

While the above topics will almost always be present in MBA courses of study, individual courses may vary and allow students to tailor even the core requirements to some extent.

Furthermore, most MBA programs offer students specializations, focus areas, or concentrations. A supply chain management MBA falls into this offering type. While the number of courses you may take directly related to supply chain management may vary depending on what program you are in, generally specializations include 3 to 5 masters-level courses in the area you are specializing in.

Common specialization courses within supply chain management MBAs include may include a selection of the following:

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Logistics
  • Quality Management
  • International Management and Logistics
  • Business Intelligence for Supply Chain Management
  • Information Systems for Supply Chain Management
  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Manufacturing Design and Analysis
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management
  • Operations Strategy
  • Service Supply Chains
  • Decision Support Models
  • Supply Chain Management Technology and Applications
  • Among others

How Do I Gain Entry To A Supply Chain Management MBA?

The first step to gaining entry to a supply chain management MBA is to weight the pros and cons of pursuing an MBA, and in particular a supply chain management MBA.

MBAs are large time and money commitments. Ask yourself if they are the degree type that may best help you achieve your goals.

While you can pursue a variety of career paths with a supply chain management MBA, if you aren’t entirely sold on supply chain management, you may find that you’ve “wasted” your specialization courses when they could have been more tailored towards an actual interest.

For those that are sure they want to pursue a supply chain management MBA, however, the path is fairly straightforward to gaining entry to a program.

First off, look for applicable programs. If you want to know MBACentral’s take on some of the best programs in the nation, check out our ranking of the best online supply chain management MBA programs. The program you may be looking for may be called a professional MBA, a Masters in Business Administration program, a part-time MBA, a night-MBA, a flex-MBA, or a hybrid MBA. Most of the time, supply chain management concentrations are not available in executive MBA programs.

You should double check on a few elements about each program you think you may be interested in. Make sure the university providing the program is regionally accredited. This will ensure that your credits will transfer, your degree will be accepted if you decide to pursue further education, and that federal financial aid may apply. Next, make sure that the courses in the supply chain management portion of the program intersect with your interests. Finally, make contact with financial aid to try and ascertain how much the program will cost. Many students don’t pay the full “sticker price” of higher education, and many times it just takes enquiring to potentially lower that price.
[Graphic idea 5: Very few students pay the full “sticker price” of higher ed. Many employers also help to pay for MBAs] Once you’ve located a program (or more likely several programs) you’re interested in, you can begin to prepare in earnest. A checklist for many of the things you should at least look into is listed below:
Supply Chain Management MBA Application Checklist

  • Review Undergraduate GPA Requirements
  • Ascertain if you’ll need references and find them
  • Plan for and complete any essays or application questions
  • Start studying for and schedule your GMAT test
  • Fill our your FAFSA application for federal financial aid
  • Apply for financial aid
  • Maximize chances of finding the best situation by applying to multiple schools

Think you might be interested in a supply chain management or operations MBA? Check out our ranking of the Best Online Supply Chain Management MBAs today!

Can You Get a Supply Chain Management MBA Online?

Masters of business administration degrees were one of the first-degree types to have widespread availability online. As business-centered degrees, many programs were naturally forward-looking. Additionally, a high percentage of business school students work full time and juggle other responsibilities. Finally, as a degree that does not require much “hands-on” in-person learning through practicums and so forth, MBAs are a great fit for online programming.

While there are many benefits to online education, students should be aware that it’s not for everyone. We’ve listed some pros and cons of online degree programs (and particularly MBAs) below:
Pros of an Online MBA

  • Fits around a busy work and life schedule
  • No need to move or change jobs to attend school
  • Can save money by avoiding some fees
  • Get the same respected degree as on-campus
  • Some programs are self paced

Cons of an Online MBA

  • Often requires more self direction than in-person offerings
  • Lack of access to all support services
  • Harder to access in-person recruiting and social events
  • Less of the B-School “experience”

Think you might be interested in a supply chain management or operations MBA? Check out our ranking of the Best Online Supply Chain Management MBAs today!

What are the Differences Between a Masters in Supply Chain Management and a Supply Chain Management MBA?

While both master’s in supply chain management and supply chain management MBAs can lead to the same positions, there’s a significant difference between how these two program types are structured.

Master of science in supply chain management degrees only focus on supply chain management and subjects that directly support supply chain management. They typically require 1-2 years to complete (often a shorter period of time than an MBA).

A typical course load requires around 30 credit hours for completion, which gives you a rough number of semesters that an MS in supply chain management may take. With four courses a semester, the program will be done within one calendar year. Just attending two courses will double the time of study.

Common courses included in a MS in Supply Chain Management degree include:

  • Analysis of Supply Markets
  • Logistics
  • Fulfillment and Distribution
  • Total Quality Management
  • Manufacturing Planning and Control
  • Logistics Operations Methods and Controls
  • Strategic Supply Chain Management
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Technology in Supply Chain Management
  • Strategy in Sourcing
  • Supply Chain Management Communication
  • And a Capstone or Thesis Project

On the other hand, an MBA in Supply Chain Management may include 3-5 courses similar to those above, while providing a broad basis for many of the foundations of business and management.

One of the key differences in MBAs and MS degrees in supply chain management is that MBAs tend to include more management, leadership, and supporting business courses. Supply Chain Management MS degrees tend to focus on technical aspects mostly pertinent just to supply chain management.

While either can be a great choice for students looking to excel at supply chain management, one difference is that the skillset for jobs — even in the same field — often changes dramatically as one move’s up the corporate ladder. MBAs have proven track records of being versatile degrees that are employed into the “C-Suite.” Master of science in supply chain management degrees are potentially more suited to technical supply chain management work.

Think you might be interested in a supply chain management or operations MBA? Check out our ranking of the Best Online Supply Chain Management MBAs today!

What Jobs Can You Get With a Supply Chain Management MBA?

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics about supply chain management MBAs, let’s look at what you can do with one.

To start with, masters in business administration degrees generally prepare students for a wide variety of managerial roles, analyst roles, and entrepreneurial roles.

Beyond this, supply chain management MBAs provide additional courses — depending on the program chosen — in the following:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Retail
  • Risk Management
  • Sales & Operations Planning
  • Sourcing & Procurement
  • Supply Chain Optimization
  • Sustainability

These graduate courses alone, particularly with experience can prepare graduates for managerial roles focused on any one of the above areas.

More likely, however, supply chain management courses like the above will be used in tandem as a supply chain manager. Some of the most common supply chain management positions include:

  • Industry Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Global Logistics Manager
  • Transportation Director
  • Supply Chain Sales
  • Supply Chain Consultant
  • Procurement Analyst/Purchasing Manager
  • Warehousing Manager

Industry analysts perform research on primary and secondary markets. Many analysts in this role work for third-party consulting services that prepare research on how to procure, deploy, and use specific products. This role looks at broader industry-wide trends and may be employed in a wide range of fields (manufacturing, health care, IT, agriculture, chemical sciences, and so forth).

The average salary for industry analysts is around $70,000 a year, with this number fluctuating depending on the particular industry of work.

Project managers are tasked with managing small teams centered around particular projects. The projects a supply chain project manager may tackle may revolve around the timely distribution of a product, process improvement in manufacturing settings, analyzing or making key logistics recommendations, monitoring compliance within a product lifecycle, among other tasks.

While in general project managers often hold “just” a bachelor’s degree, many supply chain project managers hold master’s degrees, often a masters in supply chain management or a supply chain management MBA. Close to 50% of supply chain project managers hold master’s degrees. The average salary for supply chain project managers is also higher than that of general project managers at $140,000 a year.

A global logistics manager typically focuses on one aspect of supply chain management: international logistics. For corporations that source or delivery their products internationally, global logistics management can be central to achieving business objectives.

Tasks as a global logistics manager may include managing staffing of regional and international logistics operations, establishing nation-based procurement and logistics strategies and protocols, monitoring region-specific trends that may affect the supply chain, international shipping and distribution, among other topics.

Global logistics managers may lead small teams or large branches of corporations depending on the scale of an organization’s international logistics needs. The average salary for global logistics managers is $80,000, with that salary number nearly doubling in some settings.

Operations managers rely upon a great deal of supply chain management knowledge. In fact, many supply chain management-centered MBAs are actually called operations MBAs. Operations managers are in charge of day-to-day operations in a variety of settings.

The daily duties of an operations manager may include high-level HR decisions including attracting and retaining top talent, making important strategy and policy decisions, analyzing inefficiencies and implementing fixes, ensuring regulatory or legal documents required are filed, building partnerships with other organizations, and more.

Operations managers are such a key part of many organizations that they’re one of the few managerial types that have a common designation in the “C Suite,” chief operating officers, or COO’s are in many cases second in command below the CEO of a company.

For such an important job it’s no surprise that operations managers make an average of $95,434, with this number climbing dramatically as they increase their rank in their organization.

Transportation directors are often employed by organizations that provide a great deal of their own logistical support in the form of trucking, rail freight, air shipping, or utilization of waterways. Tasks performed by transportation directors include the analysis, research, and implementation of improvements into an organization’s transportation network as it relates to procurement and distribution.

The average salary for transportation directors is $95,130, though this number can rise a great deal depending on the size of the organization for which you work.

Supply chain sales manager roles fulfill the second side of the operations and sales continuum. Supply chain sales managers are responsible for the fulfillment of orders and acting as a liaison between sales and supply chain operations. Without this crucial intersection, many larger businesses may find sales and operations management objectives interfere with one another, leading to inefficiencies or even the inability to fulfill customer orders.

An additional type of supply chain sales manager assists companies that provide a supply chain to exterior organization. This meaning of the term supply chain sales manager is a sales manager that is required to have in-depth knowledge of supply chain as it relates to sales.

The average salary for supply chain sales managers is currently $108,706, though can rise higher depending on seniority.

Similarly to industry analysts, supply chain consultants often run their own business or work in a larger third-party consultancy. These subject matter experts provide an extra “set of eyes” and perform research and analysis to present supply chain solutions to other businesses. The highest paid supply chain consultants often run their own business and are among the highest paid of all supply chain-related positions. The average salary for all supply chain consultants is close to $95,000 a year.

Our final position that supply chain management MBAs commonly prepare graduate for is the role of procurement analyst or purchasing agent. This role features a variety of responsibilities including inspecting and testing vendor products, communicating organization needs to vendors, negotiating contracts with vendors, as well as documenting costs and generating reports. The average salary for procurement analysts in the United States is $73, 424, though this number can rise with managerial positions.

Warehousing managers focus on a up-until-now untouched on area of supply chain management. A great deal of optimization can occur after procurement and manufacturing, and before distribution and fulfillment. At this stage whatever your good is likely sitting in a warehouse somewhere. And the specifics of how your product gets to the warehouse, is arranged in the warehouse, and leaves the warehouse can become very important at scale.

Warehousing managers are employed in a range of industries, from retail, to aerospace, to general manufacturing, to e-commerce. The average salary of a warehousing manager is $81,303, with this number climbing towards $100,000 in more senior roles.

Supply chain management doesn’t stop at distribution. One additional area of supply chain management is customer service. Particularly in industries in which the logistics of many returns, trade-ins, repairs, or goods otherwise coming back from consumers are processed, supply chain management may play a large part of this process. Additionally, this area of supply chain management is important in sectors in which many separate (and often diverse) items are shipped to different consumers. Large e-commerce companies have entire branches devoted to helping with returns, deliveries, and so forth.

The average customer service manager makes $89,660 a year, with this number rising to around $110,000 for the top 10% of earners.

Think you might be interested in a supply chain management or operations MBA? Check out our ranking of the Best Online Supply Chain Management MBAs today!

Not sure whether you want to pursue a supply chain management MBA or a related degree type? Be sure to check out our guides on The Best Online MBA Programs

  • The Best Online Supply Chain Management MBA Programs
  • What is a Supply Chain Management MBA?
  • The Best States For MBA Graduates
  • The Fastest-Growing MBA Careers
  • The Highest-Paying MBA Careers
  • What Are the Differences Between an MBA and an Executive MBA?
  • What is a Part-Time MBA?
  • What is a Dual MBA?
  • A Guide to MBA Program Accreditation