Why Earn a Masters in Supply Chain Management?

A master’s degree in supply chain management will prepare you for a huge number of good-paying jobs in the rapidly expanding supply chain management field.

How rapidly is this business sector expanding? Fortune magazine states that there will be a need for 1.4 million new supply chain workers by 2018. Many of those workers will be managers, so this is definitely a growth field for skilled business managers.

Supply chain management is so important today because companies are spread all over the world. They need highly skilled supply chain managers who have strong operations skills – managers who can balance high attention to detail, but who are also able to take a few steps back and see the larger picture.

What Supply Chain Managers Do

Good supply chain managers assist companies in producing and delivering products with greater speed, less expensively and faster. Good supply chain management requires managers who are fast, precise and have excellent organizational skills. They also need to be able to handle multiple tasks at once.

Supply chain management, also known as SCM, focuses on the coordination and integration of the flow of goods, information, parts, people and energy between where they originated and where they are consumed. The end goal is to meet consumer requirements at the lowest cost.

Most supply chain management positions for managers in operations deal with managing the product and people flow each day. On the other hand, supply chain management jobs focused on planning involve issues such as demand forecasting, performance analysis and supply management, as well as inventory control.

Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management?

The importance of good supply chain management in the 21st century cannot be overstated. Many companies of large size have operations around the country and possibly the world. It is incredibly important for the global supply chain to be managed efficiently so the company can produce the best products and services at the most competitive cost.

Here are some of the major benefits of earning this master’s degree:

  1. Great variety. At the base level, SCM professionals are responsible for the oversight of information, materials and finances as they go from supplier to manufacturer to the retailer and finally the consumer. However, the responsibilities can vary a lot depending upon your industry and the company. You might be in a basic purchasing role, or you could be operating the entire end to end supply stream for a huge company.
  2. The job is data driven. This job is highly driven by technology and data. You will work with systems tracking supply and demand software, and will learn how to use the latest data analysis tools to do your job.
  3. It is dynamic. Data and systems are part of any SCM career, but you will not do the exact same thing every day. Technology changes all the time, and regulations and laws also change with great frequency.
  4. You will work a lot in teams. This is not an isolated position with computer systems. The SCM efforts for most companies are woven throughout the company. So, a good SCM professional has to be very detail oriented, and also able to focus on the larger picture. This will involve working closely with others in teams.

Online Supply Chain Programs

Admission Requirements

If you think you want a career in supply chain management, you will need a strong application to be considered for top master’s programs. For instance, the requirements to be considered for admission to the master’s program at Penn State World Campus include:

  • Official college transcripts with a minimum of 3.25 GPA.
  • Official GMAT or GRE scores within the last five years.
  • 3 professionals or educational references.
  • Updated resume that reflects several years of business experience.
  • Personal statement that describes your professional and personal goals.

Curriculum and Courses

Penn State’s World Campus offers a very highly regarded Master of Professional Studies in Supply Chain Management. Penn State is partnered with Penn State’s Smeal College of Business to offer this program, which is two years in length. You will study proven SCM theory, best practices, and the latest technologies in supply chain management.

After you graduate, you will be able to do the following:

  • Manage and design effective supply chains
  • Improve the operational efficiency of the supply chain
  • Understand and apply analytics to a supply chain
  • Be able to do demand forecasting, aggregate planning, and operations/sales planning for supply chains
  • Evaluate supply chain vulnerabilities
  • Assess the fundamental dimensions of a logistics strategy

Your required courses include:

  • Business Ethics
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Supply Chain Performance Metrics and Financial Analysis
  • Demand Fulfillment
  • Supply Management
  • Supply Chain Analysis
  • Research Topics
  • Logistics and Transportation Management
  • Strategic Procurement
  • Manufacturing and Service Operations Planning

Career Outcomes and Job Titles

Some of the job titles that you can have with this type of master’s degree are:

  • Director of supply chain operations
  • Supply chain management analyst
  • Supply chain technical analyst
  • Director of purchasing
  • Commodity manager
  • Purchasing director

Job and Salary Outlook

  • General and Operations Manager –In charge of planning, directing, and coordinating operations of public and private sector organizations. You will formulate policies, manage the daily operations of the facility, and plan the use of human resources and materials. The median wage in this field is $97,400.
  • Operations Research Analyst –They use highly advanced mathematical and supply chain analysis to help companies to solve their problems and make better business decisions. They must use highly complex software, including databases, statistical modeling and more to analyze operations problems and come up with good solutions. Job demand in this field is surging, with 30% increase in demand expected by 2024, and the median salary is $78,630.
  • Management Analyst –This type of business professional proposes ways to increase the efficiency of a company by studying the company’s supply chain and operations systems. They provide advice to managers about how to make the company more profitable, through reduced costs and higher revenues. Job demand will increase by 14% by 2024, and the median salary is $81,320.

Scholarships and Grants

There are many good scholarships and grants available today for students studying supply chain management:


Supply chain management is a growing and complex field. Be sure to review these resources as well:

  • Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP): This is one of the largest association of supply chain professionals in the world. It is focused on education, networking, and logistics management issues. It exists to provide career opportunities for supply chain professionals, so they can communicate with each other and improve their skills in the field.
  • Institute for Supply Management (ISM): This is the first professional supply chain management group that was ever founded. It now has 50,000 members in more than 100 companies. This organization advances the practice of good supply management to drive company value and competitive advantage. All of this is done to contribute to a sustainable and prosperous world.

Additional Resources