Prospective management students typically sketch out a formula to evaluate the ROI of different program options they’re considering. Program length and format (full or part-time, onsite, online, or hybrid), which dictate time out of the workforce, are on the ‘investment’ side, along with tuition and related costs. Employment and salary outcomes are on the ‘return’ side. But it’s equally important to understand how programs prepare students to turn a degree into a job offer in the first place.
For some students, specialized business master’s programs can be a better investment than a general MBA. They’re typically shorter (10-18 months), and though more heavily focused on practical areas like accounting, data analytics, or supply chain management, they still prepare students for leadership roles across a broad range of industries.
Let’s look at supply chain. As companies of all types invest more heavily in advanced analytics and technologies like machine learning, AI, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve efficiency and resiliency in their supply chains post-pandemic, they’re increasingly seeking managers and executives with not only strong management skills but exceptional technical knowledge and practical skills relevant to supply chain roles. MIT’s 10-month Supply Chain Management master’s program is ideally positioned to meet these needs, with a curriculum focused on analytical problem solving and technical skills, as well as critical skills like collaboration, negotiation, and persuasion. Students graduate with powerful problem-solving frameworks and communication skills crucial to leadership positions.
But knowledge and skills are only part of the success equation. To land a job, candidates must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the role and convince an employer that they’re a good fit for the company and the position by telling their story in a compelling way. Prospective students, therefore, need to factor in how each master’s program they’re considering can help them prepare for a successful job search, by evaluating available career resources, career preparation activities and exercises, opportunities to network and engage deeply with industry professionals, and historic employer relationships.
Evaluate The Network
Traditional 10-week internships found in 18-24-month programs are not an option in accelerated programs. Instead, opportunities for rich industry engagement and network-building are woven throughout the curriculum and begin upon acceptance. At MIT, our strong SCM alumni network, combined with the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics’ global industry partnerships, provide our students—as students, and later as alumni themselves—with lifelong connections to multinational corporations and prominent consulting firms around the world. MIT SCM alumni working across the consulting, technology, consumer goods, transportation, and retail sectors regularly engage with current students through career conversations, employer information sessions and interview preparation, résumé collections within their organizations and on their teams. And our students partner with professional teams in top global organizations, working closely for months on capstone and thesis projects addressing real supply chain challenges.
Look For Next-Level Career Services
A strong resume and LinkedIn profile lay the groundwork, but once you’re sitting down with a recruiter, you need to demonstrate mastery of the core competencies required for the role and offer the interviewer the most compelling and authentic presentation of who you are and why you are the best fit for the role. At MIT, our career services offerings cover the basics with strengths assessment, goal setting, resume writing, and LI profile optimization, then take it up a few notches with one-on-one coaching to help students develop and refine their “story” culminating in personal referrals to SCM alumni. Our students then put all the pieces together as they engage with alumni who understand how the skills imparted in the SCM Program align with employer expectations.
There’s More To The ROI Equation Than Numbers
Look for a program that allows you to expand on prior experience, aptitudes, and functional interests, build highly-relevant skills and effectively leverage new and existing networks. For early- to mid-career professionals with experience in strategic sourcing, logistics, technology, or operations-oriented roles, MIT’s 10-month master’s in Supply Chain Management can offer a fast track to leadership positions.
Len Morrison is the SCM Professional Development Manager for MIT’s Supply Chain Management Master’s programs. 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. Len previously held career services positions at Bentley University, Northeastern University, and Babson College, and began his career in banking as a Vice President of Commercial Real Estate.