Evolution of SC Education

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As supply chain has become more important in the economy and for companies, educational institutions have responded by creating new programs to support the needs of students.

When I attended college, a degree in supply chain didn’t even exist. The closest type of program was production and operations management. What I learned years into my career is that that major didn’t even cover 50% of the functions with the supply chain.

The good news is that many college’s now have 4 year programs, MBA and PHD programs supporting an education in supply chain. These programs are becoming some of the most popular programs at some colleges and some schools are having to limit the number of students enrolled.

While many colleges offer degrees in supply chain, the programs are not based on a industry developed standard. Instead, the schools create programs they believe will fit the needs of the students attending their schools. Because of this, programs may differ based on the focus of the school. For instance, schools with strong engineering programs, may have a SC program that focuses more on manufacturing/engineering within SC. Some schools, might focus more on the logistics functions (warehousing, transportation/planning) vs manufacturing.

The other benefit to the growing importance of Supply chain, is the amount of educational programs available. In addition to 4 year colleges offering programs, there are many programs offered by community colleges (2 year degrees, or credentials), certification programs offered by industry groups such as APICs. (CSCP, CPIM, CTL). There are also many online programs available from schools, or just general educational videos.

In summary, depending on what stage you are at in your SC career, if you are looking to expand your knowledge, there are many programs to choose from. When choosing though, be sure to research the programs thoroughly as many are created for people at certain levels or years of experience.

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