Top 5 MBA in Supply Chain Management: Freight Transportation Arrangement Fastest Growing Sector

MBA in LogisticsAn efficient, agile and quick supply chain is a major prerequisite for any successful company today. As the world globalizes, product components are sourced from far away countries, and markets grow to encompass the world. Apple for instance sources its ARM processors in Texas, screens from Korea and assembles products in Asia, mainly China. Today, a supply chain is a complex system of technologies and processes that calculate real-time demand and responds immediately through a network of suppliers, employees and customers. While supply chains were once driven by products, they are today driven by customer demand. The best supply chains combine operational excellence and innovation.

An MBA in supply chain management uses a cross-disciplinary approach, covering Operations Management, Inventory Management, Quality Management, Supply Chain Technology Management, Logistics, Marketing, Strategy and MIS. People who wish to have a career in this field should be adept at critical thinking, analysis, management and strategy. They must be able to evaluate issues and solve them on a global scale. Strong financial, leadership and team playing skills are also vital.

Tasks involve choosing and developing suppliers, design and implementation of systems and processes, sourcing, effectively managing inventory, logistics, maintaining quality throughout, and strategically developing the supply chain. According to Gartner's top Supply Chains of 2011, a wide range of industries are represented, indicating the diverse employment opportunities for MBA graduates. The top 10 are Apple, Dell, P&G, Research in Motion (RIM), Amazon, Cisco Systems, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, PepsiCo and Samsung.

The Supply Chain industry hit revenues of $141 billion in 2011, increasing as much as 10.9% from 2010, according to supply chain research and consulting firm Armstrong & Associates. The industry is expected to grow by almost 10% annually for the next five years. Freight transportation arrangement is the fastest growing in this sector, expanding by 20% on average for the last 2 years.

1) MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan is a pioneer of System Dynamics, the study of how to manage systems that are extremely dynamic. The System Dynamics Group was founded in the early 1960s by Professor Jay W. Forrester. Currently, the group has three research projects - The National Model Project - for a better grasp of the U.S. economy, The System Dynamics in Education Project - a DIY workbook for learning the subject and The Improvement Paradox - Creating sustainable programs for quality improvement. The group offers 4 electives - Applications of System Dynamics, Introduction to System Dynamics, Research Seminar in System Dynamics and System Dynamics for Business Policy.

MIT Sloan's Enterprise Management Track has subjects like Supply Chain Planning,  Manufacturing Systems and Supply Chain Design, Service Operations: Concepts, Design & Delivery, How to Develop Breakthrough Products & Services, Design & Marketing of New Products, Global Markets, National Policies & Competitive Advantages to Firms and International Management. These courses were designed to help students develop their skills and knowledge of Supply Chains.

The Operations Management Group emphasizes on supply chains, processes, products and services. It offers as many as 15 electives, including Case Studies in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, International Supply Chain Management, Logistics Systems, Management of Services: Concepts, Design, and Delivery, Manufacturing System and Supply Chain Design, Seminar in Operations Management and Supply Chain Planning.

For students seeking an even deeper specialization in Supply Chain Management, MIT's Leaders for Global Operations offers a 2 year dual degree that gives an MBA and a Master of Science in Engineering Systems, among others. This program started 25 years ago, and is considered one of the best courses for a career in Supply Chain Management. Only students who have a degree in computer science, engineering, biology, physics or chemistry are eligible.

2) Arizona State University (Carey)

The Arizona State University's Carey School of Business offers a diverse, three niche specializations in Supply Chain Management. The Supply Chain Management specialization combines core business knowledge with broad expertise in Supply Chain and its management. It covers all aspects of product as well as service life cycles, ranging from its design to delivery and disposal. This prepares MBA graduates in strategy, analysis, communication and leadership. The required courses include Integrated Supply Chain Management, Supply Chain Cost & Design Issues, Logistics in Supply Chain, Project Management, and Supply Management & Negotiations. The program also offers elective subjects like Decision Models for Supply Chain, New Product & Service Development and Negotiations. Students find employment in Management, Analyst, Consultant and Leadership roles.

The specialization offered in Supply Chain Financial Management covers advanced subjects in corporate risk management and teaches how to obtain efficiency and effectiveness in a company’s value chain. The focus areas are leadership, globalization, management of financial risk and communication strategies. The required courses include Valuation Techniques, Integrated Supply Chain Management, Investment Strategies, Advanced Financial Management, Cost and Design Issues, Logistics in the Supply Chain, Derivative Securities and Supply Management and Negotiations. The electives offered are Decision Models for Supply Chain, and New Product & Service Development. Students completing the course can fill roles like Management Consultant, Capital Budgeting Analyst and Financial Planning & Co Leadership Development and Rotational Programs.

The WP Carey Health Sector Supply Chain Research Consortium collaborates for the Supply Chain Management & Health Sector Management (SCM-HSM) specialization. It is aimed at developing leaders who will create patient-centric systems that will improve efficiency, sustainability and quality care.  The specialization stresses on Strategic sourcing, efficient distribution, group purchasing and hi-tech delivery networks.

The required courses include Logistics in the Global Supply Chain, Operations, Planning and Execution, Project Management, Supply Management and Negotiations, Applied Project in Supply Chain Management, Healthcare Economics, and Healthcare Supply Chain. The electives can be chosen from health sector management and other MBA topics, as well as from other ASU colleges and departments like the Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and the Mayo Clinic program in healthcare delivery. Possible career paths include Commodity Manager/Analyst, Strategic Sourcing Manager, E-Business Manager and other Supply Chain options.

3) Stanford University

Professor Hau Lee and Professor Seungjin Whang, who are pioneers in Supply Chain Management, lead the teaching team in Stanford. The Stanford Global Supply Chain Management Forum is among the leading research institutes, run in collaboration with corporates like Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Nokia AND Ryder Supply Chain Solutions. Focus areas include vertical disintegration, new information technologies, international procurements, globalization of operations & markets and the increasing pressure from customers on responsiveness & reliability. Current research includes the Stanford Initiative for the Study of Supply Responsibility (SISSCR) and Riders for Health evaluation.

Stanford provides a world-class supply chain curriculum, taught by the Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering. The subjects offered include Business Process Design, Global Operations, Supply Chain Management & Technology, Foundations of Supply Chain Management, Seminar on Information-Based Supply Chain Management, The Supply Chain Risks of Global Sourcing, Inventory Control and Production Systems, Supply Chain Management, Global Project Coordination and Supply Chain Optimization.

4) Michigan State University (Broad)

The Michigan State University's Broad College of Business offers a Supply Chain Management concentration with its MBA program. It focuses on both traditional businesses and e-commerce, teaching students smart product production and fulfillment. The subjects on offer include Decision Support Models, Emerging topics in Supply Management, Integrated Logistics Systems, Manufacturing Design and Analysis, Procurement and Sourcing Strategy, Service Supply Chains, Supply Chain Management Technology, Sustainable Supply Chain Management, and Total Quality Management.

IBM On-demand Supply Chain Laboratory: This Supply Chain MBA Lab uses the latest technology and tools to help students simulate key relationships in supply chains, in a dynamic experimental environment.

Broad's Graduate Supply Chain Management Association is a student-led organization that improves supply chain education as well as career opportunities. It gives students exposure to leading industries, the latest practices, and the top performers in the industry.

5) Pennsylvania State University--University Park (Smeal)

The Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business has an MBA with a Supply Chain Management Concentration. This is offered by the Supply Chain and Information Systems department to help nurture managers that drive the organization's supply chain for asset utilization, customer service, profitability and systems flexibility. It covers the design and management of all sourcing, conversion, procurement and logistics activities. Students learn to integrate supply and demand management into a seamless operation aimed at profits. They also understand the critical enablers of network integration & synchronization, e-based technologies & processes, and evaluation of global network designs.

Subjects offered as part of the concentration include New Product Development, e-Biz/Marketing Strategy, Transportation in Supply Chains, Strategic Procurement, Manufacturing Strategy, Supply Chain Processes and Methods Demand Fulfillment and Supply Chain Modeling.

The Center for Supply Chain Research was founded over 20 years ago, and conducts research on both traditional and new age topics. Some of them are transportation, distribution, procurement, sustainability, human behavior modeling, low cost country sourcing and demand driven supply networks. Representative research reports include Windpower Generation: An Overview of the Industry, and Supply Chain Challenges and Supply Chain Risks: Barriers to Manufacturing in Emerging and Developing Markets.

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