Supply Chain News / Economic Development

New Degree Seeks to Fill Demand for Supply Chain Experts

The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) has launched a new bachelor’s degree in what it is calling "one of the country’s hottest new business fields." The Naveen Jindal School of Management has introduced a BS degree this semester in supply chain management (SCM).

As World Trade 100 readers know, SCM professionals oversee the acquisition of parts and raw materials, managing complex networks of supply and demand from the purchasing stage to delivery. An increased number of job openings, growing salaries and advancement opportunities have spurred a wave of interest in supply chain management as a career choice. The number of undergraduate SCM programs has increased 25 percent since 2006, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Approved in December, the new major at the Jindal School has already prompted a number of students to switch their majors to SCM, and freshmen are already applying for the program, said Dr. Marilyn Kaplan, associate dean of undergraduate education.

“The demand for management analysts, at all educational levels, far outpaces growth estimates in other occupational areas for the coming decade,” said Kaplan. She went on to explain that following the most recent economic crisis, business and governmental entities have been forced to improve organizational performance by more closely evaluating the costs of their operations, logistics and manufacturing processes.

Bachelor's in Supply Chain Management

The program prepares students to be management analysts in operations, logistics, distribution; manufacturing, warehousing and more. Students are taught to:

  • Analyze markets and financial performance for improving supply chains.
  • Design, manage and optimize critical components of supply chain systems, organization and operations.
  • Integrate engineering and manufacturing practices to improve financial and operational performance.

Jobs in this high-demand field are expected to grow 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries in this discipline continue a strong showing as well. The Institute for Supply Management reports that the average annual salary for supply chain management professionals is slightly more than $102,000. Entry-level salaries averaged around $61,000, according to the institute’s 2012 annual survey.

Students who pursue SCM majors, says Kaplan, will receive “much more depth in supply chain management than was previously being offered within business administration, and it is recognizable in the job market as bringing special skills to the table.”

One student who wanted to capitalize on the trend is Blake Odom of Little Elm. Odom was a business administration senior planning a spring 2013 graduation before changing his major to supply chain management in January.

“I figured a SCM degree would hold more clout than a business administration degree,” said Odom. “I chose to switch to supply chain management because I think it will make me more marketable, and I wanted to be different in the workforce and not be one of those guys who have a business administration degree.”

Other North Texas schools offer undergraduate SCM degrees, but are heavily concentrated in traditional supply chain field applications – the logistics and transportation industries, according to Kaplan.

“New SCM graduates must be capable of analyzing the broad range of SCM business functions across multiple industries to optimize efficiency and the ‘bottom line’ of the shrinking U.S. economy,” Kaplan said. “The BS SCM curriculum at the Jindal School targets this identified void in undergraduate supply chain management education as we plan to prepare to educate the future Texas workforce.”

“Industry leaders tell us that our students are in high demand because our program enables them to gain the required skill sets such as analytical thinking, state-of-the-art technology developments and decision-making capabilities in order to be successful in the workplace,” said Dr. Shawn Alborz, assistant dean and director of the school’s SCM program.

Source: UT Dallas
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