Efficient supply chains are critical to successful business operations around the world. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how businesses, from the smallest mom & pop stores to the largest companies in the world, have had to retool and redefine how they operate. It took a pandemic for supply chains to move from the back office to the headlines. Aspiring business school applicants are smart to take note and consider a supply chain-focused specialized master’s program.
Supply chains are at the heart of business operations
The supply chain field encompasses a diverse group of functions including program management, demand planning, strategic sourcing, operations, logistics, and more. In “normal” times, supply chain expertise provides organizations with opportunities to gain competitive advantage and increase profit. The global pandemic, however, has underscored the importance of supply chain resiliency and innovation. As MIT’s Sloan Management Review reported in February, businesses were already turning to advanced analytics and technologies, including machine learning, AI, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT), to innovate and improve supply chain efficiencies. With the pandemic accelerating digitalization, global organizations need leaders with the technical knowledge and practical skills to make data-driven decisions and develop creative solutions to critical business challenges.
Supply chain management: evaluating program options
In its 2020 report on North American supply chain management graduate programs, Gartner noted a five-fold increase in programs participating in their bi-annual survey since 2008.
Many business schools now offer a supply chain specialization within a traditional two-year MBA curriculum. But prospective students seeking opportunities to make an impact in supply chain and operations functions, and advance their careers quickly, are looking beyond MBA programs—even beyond business schools entirely—to find the programs that best align with their own professional goals, aptitudes, and interests. Judith Stockmon, an educational consultant focused on specialized master’s program admissions, points out that employers “are typically more interested in the skills acquired than where the program is housed.”
Focused curriculum, real-world challenges
While traditional MBA programs cover a broad range of business management topics, specialized supply chain management programs provide depth and a quantitatively-oriented curriculum. Top degree options include MIT’s Supply Chain Management master’s, which combines an intensive, practical core curriculum with executive leadership training. In just 10-months of cohort-based full-time on-campus study, students develop the structured, logical thinking skills top employers are looking for. Offered through MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, with significant cross-registration at the Sloan School of Management, MIT’s 10-month SCM program leads to an engineering degree and is STEM-designated, which has contributed to stellar post-graduate outcomes.
A required, sponsored capstone research project with leading global organizations, challenges students to address real-world business problems in areas including sustainability, urban logistics, digital transformation, supply chain strategy, inventory management, demand planning, transportation, and more. Students benefit from rich industry engagement, and sponsoring organizations gain access to students to bring new insight and approaches to relevant and timely supply chain problems.
Career outcomes for SCM graduates
Efficient and resilient supply chains are more vital than ever to organizations of all kinds. This is reflected in the continued high demand for MIT SCM graduates. Extensive career training and 1:1 advising, coupled with a robust on-campus recruiting program, ensure stellar career outcomes with leading global organizations. Employment outcomes for the MIT SCM class of 2020 at 3 months are 100%—an impressive achievement in the absence of a summer internship. Compensation (salary, signing bonus, equity awards) rivals that of students graduating from top-tier 2-year MBA programs after just 10 months out of the workforce, and at one years’ tuition cost.
There’s never been a better time to start or advance a career in supply chain. Early- to mid-career professionals considering alternatives to a traditional MBA will find that a master’s in SCM from MIT offers a superior ROI and an incredible opportunity to advance their career.
Len Morrison is responsible for career and professional development, employer relations, alumni engagement, and employment outcomes for the Supply Chain Management Master’s degree program. Prior to MIT, Len was director of undergraduate career services at Bentley University, where he led a nationally-ranked career team serving 4,000 undergraduate students. Under his leadership, Bentley career services ranked among the top 5 career offices in the U.S. from 2012-2017. Prior to Bentley, he led graduate career services at Northeastern University and Babson College.
Len has extensive career coaching and advising experience and has helped hundreds of undergraduate and MBA students secure meaningful employment at leading firms in the financial services, consulting, defense, retail, and technology sectors. He is a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths Coach. Earlier in his career, he was a Vice President of Commercial Real Estate at Shawmut Bank.
Len earned his BA in History and Economics from Bates College and an MBA from Northeastern University.