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What is a Supply Chain Management MBA?

MBAs rank among the most popular master’s degrees in the country. MBA applications have doubled at some business schools, and in 2016 the US News top 10 B-Schools received nearly 5,500 applications.

Still, none of this news be surprising: MBA degrees have always offered clear advantages.

Return on investment is the most obvious and important MBA perk. Yes, tuition can be expensive, but the payoff more than makes up for the initial cost. MBA grads earn more than non-MBA professionals, both in the form of short-term signing bonuses and raises as well as long-term salary potential and advanced, senior-level job opportunities. Some MBA programs claim a 10-year ROI as high as 250-325%.

Employment stability is another major MBA benefit. Every successful organization, for-profit or non-for-profit, needs business-savvy professionals who know how to manage financials and lead teams, and the MBA degree is specifically designed to train such leaders. Thus, even in economic downturns, MBA grads’ unique and in-demand skill sets keep them employed.

On a related note, an MBA degree offers maximum career flexibility. Business, finance, and banking remain popular career tracks, but increasingly MBA graduates and employers want specialized studies to develop in-demand skills, including supply chain management, one of the most popular MBA specializations in the country. In an increasingly complex and globalized world, supply chain managers offer a unique set of skills that can help organizations adapt to rapid change, international markets, operations challenges, built-in risk, and all aspects of day-to-day and long-term logistics management and strategy.

What MBA Courses Will I Take?

A general MBA curriculum might include some or all of the following courses.

  • Managerial Economics
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Quantitative Analysis
  • Asset Valuation
  • Marketing Management
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Communication
  • Business Ethics
  • Business Strategy

The MBA core courses build skills in analytics, management, strategy, and business ethics, with an emphasis on both business theory and real-world practice. Most MBA degrees are designed to be completed as two-year programs, but accelerated MBAs are increasingly common, and mini MBAs offer a distilled version of the degree. Further, while all MBA degrees offer tailoring features, online MBAs combine the same rigorous coursework of on-campus degrees with flexible scheduling and delivery to appeal to a range of adult learners, working professionals, and non-traditional students.

What Supply Chain Management Courses Will I Take?

Master’s degrees in supply chain management vary by program, but potential coursework might include any of the following:

  • Logistics Management
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Logistics Operations
  • Sourcing and Procurement
  • Management of Innovation
  • Global Operations Strategy
  • Quality Issues in Operations
  • Distribution & Inventory Control

Capstone projects and experiential learning credits are common, providing students with an opportunity to apply knowledge in a real-world setting.

What Supply Chain Management Skills Will I Learn?

  • Design and manage an effective supply chain on an international stage
  • Understand and apply supply chain analytics
  • Execute demand forecasting, aggregate planning, and supply chain sales and operations planning
  • Build knowledge in procurement, warehouse management, transportation planning, inventory control, and customer service standards
  • Learn technical skills in SCM software such as Minitab, SPSS and Excel Solver
  • Understand and analyze relationship between supply chain and key financial performance metrics
  • Recognize and evaluate supply chain vulnerabilities and develop strategies to mitigate risk
  • Provide insight on logistics strategy, innovation, transformation, and organizational leadership

Notable Accrediting Bodies for Supply Chain Management MBAs

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business: the AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and professional development services to more than 800 accredited business schools

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs : the ACBSP accredits over 1,000 institutions at quality business programs across the globe

International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education: the IACBE accredits more than 230 educational institutions in over 20 countries

For a comprehensive review, check out our MBA accreditation guide.

Notable Organizations and Certifications for Supply Chain Managers

In addition to an MBA in Supply Chain Management, you might want to consider earning a certification in a relevant field to boost your resume and qualify for more job opportunities.

Association for Operations Management: the APICS is the world’s leading association for supply chain management, logistics, and operations, offering a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), among other high demand credentials

Institute for Supply Management: the ISM is the oldest and largest professional supply management organization with excellent credential offerings, including a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD)

Six Sigma: Six Sigma certifications are common in the supply chain management industry, and many MBA programs follow an approved Six Sigma track

Project Management Institute: while not specific to supply chain, the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is another highly coveted credential that can increase your job prospects and earnings potential

Salary and Job Prospects for Supply Chain Management MBAs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management occupations are projected to grow 8% over the next decade. Logistician job statistics (the BLS’s best indicator for SCM employment) point to at least 10,300 new jobs through 2026 and a median annual wage just below $75K. At present, there are 150,000 logistics professionals in the country.

Specific SCM roles and salaries include:

  • Supply Chain Analyst: $75,088
  • Central Supply Manager: $81,380
  • Supply Chain Manager: $107,216
  • Supply Chain Director: $145,265
  • Supply Chain Executive: $233,282
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