As the talent gap widens between potential hires and open supply chain positions, organizations may be well served to encourage engineers and others in the organization to step into these roles. The good news is that more and more graduate supply chain programs are available for those who want to continue their supply chain education or gain new skills at a graduate level. Better still, the programs are attracting a much broader range of students than ever before.
“The number of one-year or part-time Master of Science in supply chain management (MSSCM) programs grew by two-thirds in two years. This year [in our research] we evaluated 30 programs, while in 2016 there were only 18,” said Dana Stiffler, research vice president at Gartner. “We also found that graduates on average are more diverse than the supply chain organizations that want to hire them, with women accounting for 37% of the supply chain graduate student population and ethnic minorities for 48%.”
Another hallmark of diversity is the number of international students flocking to graduate programs. Currently, one-third of students come from outside North America. “While global companies can take advantage of this diversity, some companies and sectors will struggle with their candidates’ visa status or be prohibited from hiring them,” Gartner noted.
These are some of the findings of Gartner's 2018 edition of its biennial Top 25 North American Supply Chain Graduate University Programs report. The research evaluated 30 of 46 eligible educational programs in the U.S. and Canada. The offerings were measured on program scope, industry value, and program size. The survey found a rich range of offerings including both on-campus or hybrid on-campus/online formats.
In addition to ranking the programs, the report identified some interesting trends. For example, many graduate programs are increasing the amount of technology content in their offerings. “Since 2014, we've seen 60% growth in technology skills needed for non-IT roles,” Gartner said. “The evolution of these roles warrants a periodic re-evaluation of university programs and partnerships by supply chain leaders.”
In fact, 79% of MBA programs and 83% of MSSCM programs look at supply chain applications and tools as well as consider the broader role of technology in today’s supply chains, the report found.
In addition to the standard offerings of procurement, logistics and planning, other key areas for study include accounting and finance for MBA programs. High-performing supply chain organizations also look for candidate with customer management and new product launch — offerings that few universities have added to the menu.
Those who choose to pursue graduate education in supply chain have considerable earning power, and that earning power is rising quickly. MBAs with a supply chain concentration command a starting salary of $88,935, up from $83,597 in 2016. Meanwhile, the average starting salary for a MSSCM is $83,066, up from $79,232.
“It is encouraging to see that the MSSCM starting salary holds its value despite the 67% increase in the number of programs,” the report said.
Pennsylvania State University took the top spot, as it has for a decade, while the University of Michigan rose two spots to take second place. The University of Tennessee ranked third. Click on the image below to see the top 25 graduate supply chain programs in North America. Then tell us your thoughts about advanced education for supply chain professionals in the comments section below.