What Can I Do with a Master's in Supply Chain Management?
The world is modernizing. For the first time in history, more people live in urban environments than in rural areas. More than ever before, these people demand goods and services; with a concentrated population, it becomes necessary to maintain a wide-ranging network of communications and distribution. The scope of logistics, utilities, and materials handling is expanding across a wide range of well-established industries, while newer industries (such as information technology and green energy) are creating their own opportunities for supply chain management professionals.
So, what can you do with a degree in supply chain management?
Start Off with a Rewarding Position
Entry-level supply chain jobs often involve keeping track of inventory at distribution centers, tracking shipments for large corporations, or inspecting the quality of goods being produced. You might also find yourself assisting with the development of new communications or distribution networks, or with the design and planning of corporate policies. With a relevant degree in management or logistics, you can make yourself stand out above the majority of those who pursue such opportunities, and get in on the ground floor with a job that pays $65,000 or more per year.
Apply Your Skills; Show Leadership Qualities
Many logistics and materials handling jobs are demanding, but the individuals who make hiring decisions for more advanced positions know this. They look for those who show initiative, while displaying above-average qualifications. A company, academic institution or government agency benefits from having someone familiar with its practices to promote from within, instead of having to look for untested candidates for mid-level administrative or executive positions. By getting your foot in the door, developing your management skills, and displaying leadership qualities, you improve your chances of going further (and faster) up the corporate ladder.
Consider Becoming a Logistician
When the average person thinks about supply chain management, logisticians are usually the people who come to mind (even if they don't know what the job is called). Logisticians cover every aspect of supply, from minimizing the cost of a product to maximizing the efficiency of its manufacturing process. Logisticians will be involved in working out business arrangements between different companies handling different steps in the process. Logisticians need marketing savvy, in order to identify their target demographic and understand their needs. This is a financially rewarding job, with a median entry-level pay of about $70,000 per year, and it provides a broad range of "general supply chain" experience to the aspiring professional. It's a good line on a resume — or an independent consultant's online profile.
Become a Purchasing Manager
Purchasing managers source out necessary supplies, arrange business-to-business relationships, evaluate the quality of incoming products, negotiate contracts, and establish pricing guidelines. This is a job that incorporates a lot of on-the-job training in addition to varying education requirements, but the latter can't hurt. Certainly, an in-depth knowledge of how the supply industry works is critical to being successful in a position as a purchaser or a buyer. This position starts out at around $60,000 per year, but it commonly leads to executive opportunities, and is a frequent precursor to government work or independent consulting.
Further Information is Available
Individuals with management or administrative degrees, who are already employed in the supply industry, are starting to acquire more directly relevant degrees at an increasing rate. With a degree in supply management, logistics, or materials handling, they can increase their earning power directly, as well as making them more attractive hiring prospects for a wide range of employers. If this sounds like it could be you, look into the possibility today. Ultimately, whether you start with the experience or the education, a good mixture of both is needed to ensure the optimal path to professional and personal success.
Related Resource: The 20 Best Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Programs