In today's competitive business landscape, finding ways to differentiate yourself as a job candidate is important. An MBA is a great next step for those looking to distinguish their resumes, but given the popularity of this degree, choosing a specific area to specialize in is a smart decision.
One of the most popular MBA concentrations is in supply chain management. This field is in-demand and offers significant potential for growth; it also offers a great way to enhance your business knowledge and make your resume stand out from the rest. Supply chain management has been named one of the best careers to pursue by the U.S. News & World Report, and is projected to have high growth rates over the next decade by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you think this might be the field for you, and you're curious about what an MBA specialization in supply chain management might look like, read on to learn more.
What Is Supply Chain Management?
The first place to start is to answer the question of what, exactly, supply chain management entails. Despite being a thriving field, it's one that many MBA applicants may be less familiar with, so it's important to have a clear understanding of the field.
The supply chain consists of all parties involved, either directly or indirectly, in fulfilling a customer's request. It starts with the procurement of raw materials and ends with the finished product or service in the hands of the consumer; it's essentially the start-to-finish process that, in many ways, dictates the workings of the rest of a company.
Supply chain management, therefore, is the active management of this process. As Investopedia puts it, "SCM oversees every touchpoint of a company's product or service, from initial creation to final sale." The idea is that, given the number of people and processes involved throughout the supply chain, a supply chain manager will identify and eliminate or streamline inefficiencies, find ways to decrease costs and increase revenue, and ultimately improve the company's bottom line.
What Will I Learn in an MBA with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management?
An MBA in SCM is a great way to learn the fundamentals of supply chain management while also gaining a solid foundation in business principles. The best supply chain MBA programs will teach you how to use analytics to improve operational effectiveness and make the supply chain a source of competitive advantage; analyze relationships and interactions with supply chain partners through ethical and legal lenses; asses supply chains for efficiency and effectiveness; evaluate the effect of individual processes on the supply chain as a whole; and use a systems approach to interpret the interrelationships and competitive advantage of an efficient and effective supply chain.
In addition, you'll be gaining the technical skills and business knowledge expected of a traditional business degree program. An MBA program will provide you with a framework to think more critically, work more collaboratively, and approach complex workplace challenges more holistically. You'll emerge a well-rounded and agile business professional with the ability to make organizational decisions through systems thinking.
What Can I Do With a Specialization in Supply Chain Management?
Professionals with supply chain management expertise, particularly those with an MBA, are qualified for a wide range of jobs in supply chain management, as well as a variety of other industries. One of the best things about supply chain management as a field of study is that the principles are applicable to all kinds of businesses, whether they offer a physical product or not. Virtually every business needs streamlined, efficient processes to ultimately ensure customer satisfaction, so there is generally a high demand for supply chain management professionals in all kinds of organizations.
Individuals with an MBA in Supply Chain Management are usually prepared to take on management positions in business operations or other roles in supply chain management, such as:
- Strategic Sourcing Manager
- Supply Chain Performance Analyst
- Business Operations Manager
- VP of Supply Chain Operations
- Manager of Global Sourcing
If you are considering an MBA with a concentration in supply chain management, but aren't sure what kind of jobs are available in your area, it might be helpful to search sites like Indeed or LinkedIn for jobs and skills similar to those listed above to see what comes up. Given the growing importance of the field, you'll likely find many positions that can put your supply chain management skills to use, directly or indirectly.
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