Forget about finance and venture capitalism. One of today’s hottest M.B.A.s is supply chain management. And while it may not sound all that sexy, the long-term prospects for growth in this area, along with a hefty salary, have made this a popular subject choice for undergraduates and M.B.A. candidates alike.
Globalization has led to rapid growth in the supply chain industry, and manufacturers, retailers, and technology and service providers are all struggling to keep up and fill new supply chain jobs.
According the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, around 270,200 logistics jobs will be created each year in the U.S. between 2012 and 2018, but only about a quarter of graduates from U.S. vocational schools, colleges and universities will be qualified to fill those number of jobs.
This major shortfall in logistics and supply chain experts has created opportunity for colleges. At least nine U.S. schools have launched graduate and undergraduate programs since 2011, when companies first began to understand supply chain management as a necessity rather than a nice-to-have.
Colleges like Rutgers Business School in New Jersey and Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island have long-standing undergraduate and M.B.A. programs in supply chain management. While the University of Southern California began to offer an online M.S. in global supply chain management this year, and Arizona State University plans to offer both an M.S. in supply chain management and an M.S. in supply chain management and engineering by 2014.
Bryant University has nearly 150 undergraduate and M.B.A. students pursuing a major or concentration in supply chain management and, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, employers like General Dynamics and Target regularly scout out Bryant students for job interviews and internships.
Meanwhile, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, and Panasonic recruit heavily from the supply chain management graduate pool at Rutgers Business School.
Salaries for supply chain management graduates are impressive. At Arizona State, which already offers a B.A. in the subject, says that among its 2012 supply chain graduates the average starting salary was $56,410, ten percent higher than students graduating with more traditional business school degrees.
At the M.B.A. level, students who took operations or supply chain jobs reported starting salaries averaging $97,481, compared with $92,556 for all M.B.A.s., and a quick look on Salary.com and Glassdoor.com confirms that supply chain management positions command a salary range of $70,000 to 160,000 at top companies like Cisco, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble.
Are you currently studying supply chain management or working in that field? How can colleges better prepare students for a successful career in supply chain management?