Supply chain management (SCM) may be the best career path most people have never heard of. It can be quite lucrative: entry-level supply chain specialists can earn $52,000 with a bachelor's degree, while experienced SCM professionals can earn $80,000 or more. Supply chain managers can easily earn well over $100,000 with the right degrees and certifications.
It's also rewarding. In the 2019 Association for Supply Chain Management Salary and Career Survey, 82 percent of supply chain managers rated their job satisfaction as 8 or higher on a 1-to-10 scale.
Finally, it's easy to break into the field. Hundreds of jobs in supply chain management go unfilled each year because there aren't enough qualified applicants.
Preparing for an SCM career usually involves earning a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in supply chain management. The University of Tennessee - Knoxville's Haslam College of Business is among the United States' top schools in the field, offering an impressive array of SCM programs. These include multiple supply chain majors at the undergraduate level, an online Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, an SCM MBA with an international focus, and a supply chain PhD.
These programs rank high on lists of the best supply chain management degree programs and open many doors for graduates. According to Ted Stank, the Harry J. and Vivienne R. Bruce Chair of Excellence in Business in the department of supply chain management and faculty director of UT's Global Supply Chain Institute (GSCI), "Organizations know when hiring our students that they will immediately begin to contribute in their workplace, and that makes our program extremely competitive."
The University of Tennessee - Knoxville's Haslam College of Business hosts one of the nation's largest supply chain programs, with 1,200 undergraduate and graduate SCM students. More SCM degrees were granted at UTK between 2017 and 2019 than in any other discipline. When you study SCM at UTK, you'll be in good company.
In this article about the University of Tennessee's supply chain management programs, we cover:
UT offers multiple SCM options for undergraduate students. All bachelor's degree-level supply chain students at Haslam receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Supply Chain Management. Students also choose what the school calls a "collateral concentration" in business analytics, finance, sales, information management, or international business.
Undergraduate SCM students receive a lot of support at the University of Tennessee. Supply chain management majors must complete one business internship before graduation, which facilitates valuable business contacts. They also network with industry experts and executives during service-learning classes, site visits, events hosted by the Global Supply Chain Institute, and guest lectures.
There are three supply chain master's degree pathways at UT: the MS-SCM, the SCM MBA, and the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Tri-Continent.
The 30-credit hour MS-SCM is delivered almost entirely online with synchronous live classes and asynchronous coursework. The student body consists of professionals from around the world. The fastest route to completion involves 18 months of full-time study. The online MS-SCM can also be completed over 24 months. When even that is too intense a timeline, extensions are available. Core classes include:
This is an entirely online program except for one mandatory three-day on-campus immersion session in Knoxville.
The 45-credit hour hybrid Executive MBA in Global Supply Chain takes 11 months to complete. There are four eight- and nine-day residencies—two on campus in Knoxville and two in international supply chain hubs in Europe and Asia. All other coursework is delivered in asynchronous distance learning sessions. This makes the University of Tennessee's supply chain management MBA one of the most flexible around. Most students take fewer than 30 days off work while in the program.
UT doesn't publish the SCM MBA curriculum. Coursework focuses on applied methodology, not abstract theory. Professors don't teach standard courses, but rather guide students through real-world international SCM challenges that are common across industries.
The Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Tri-Continent program is modeled after Haslam's SCM MBA but also borrows elements from the MS-SCM program. Core courses cover economics, operations, logistics, risk management, leadership, and IT in a global context, focusing on Europe and Asia. Students in the Tri-Continent CS-SCM program take classes on three continents over four semesters.
At Kühne Logistics University, students take:
At Tongji University's School of Economics and Management, students take:
At Haslam, students complete a semester-long capstone project and take:
The University of Tennessee - Knoxville's Haslam College of Business also offers a supply chain PhD designed to prepare researchers in the field. The program covers all aspects of SCM, including logistics, operations, distribution, and procurement. Topics covered include:
Faculty publish research in top academic supply chain journals and empirical research publications. They're also active in industry research and regularly provide expert voices for publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.
Admissions requirements differ from program to program. Haslam looks for SCM bachelor's degree program applicants who have taken business electives in high school as well as courses in computer software and writing. Applicants who stand out have often volunteered in their communities, participated in business-focused student clubs and organizations, and shadowed professionals in corporate or manufacturing settings.
The typical supply chain graduate program candidate at UT is about 32 years old and has a minimum of three years of experience in business, but more often seven or more years in specialist, manager, and executive director roles. Applicants aren't required to submit GRE or GMAT scores unless they are applying to the Tri-Continent program. EMBA students, on the other hand, tend to be about 43 years old with a minimum of seven years of experience in director, vice president, executive, or entrepreneurial roles, but more often 20+ years. Applicants are expected to show proof of professional achievement with an increasing scope of responsibilities over time. Executive MBA applicants must submit GMAT scores, though waivers are available for those with at least five years of managerial experience.
The PhD in supply chain management program is especially selective. Class sizes are kept very small so students can work closely with faculty. Most students accepted into the SCM doctorate program hold one or more master's degrees and have high GMAT scores and significant work experience.
Undergraduate tuition for SCM majors at the University of Tennessee is $31,454 per year for out-of-state students and $13,264 per year for residents. Graduate students in Haslam's online MS-SCM program pay about $39,000, whereas students in the global supply chain EMBA pay about $101,000 ($85,000 tuition plus the cost of airfare and lodging for residencies). The Tri-Continent program costs a bit more.
Students finance their time at Haslam in several ways, including scholarships, federal student loans, private loans, and grants. Graduate students can also take advantage of employer sponsorships for EMBA students; fellowships, stipends, and assistantships for PhD students; and loan forgiveness programs available to SCM professionals who commit to working in the public sector. Veterans and active duty service members are eligible for tuition discounts and other benefits. Some PhD students receive full tuition waivers.
The University of Tennessee stands out for the professional support it gives SCM students at all levels. Numerous student organizations focus on supply chain management, including NeXxus, a networking group for female supply chain professionals, and Haslam's chapter of the Council of Supply Chain Management professionals. The Scholars of Distinction program identifies students whose achievements are especially notable and helps them connect with professional organizations early in their academic careers.
All students can access faculty advisors, success coaches, career support services, networking opportunities, mentorship, and opportunities with partner organizations in the Haslam network. UT regularly holds SCM job and internship fairs through the Global Supply Chain Institute. Consequently, students graduate ready not only to step into one of the 500+ new supply chain jobs created weekly in the United States but also to advance more quickly than their peers, thanks to their professional connections.
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