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What Is a Master of Supply Chain Management?

Bethany Garner

Bethany Garner - BusinessBecause

Bethany Garner is a writer at BusinessBecause.com

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A Master of Supply Chain Management can help you carve out a career in the rapidly changing world of supply chain across industries. It’s a specialized business master’s, aimed at bachelor’s grads who want to set themselves up for long-term success in the supply chain-related roles.

Grads from Master of Supply Chain Management programs go on to launch exciting careers, landing jobs in a wide range of industries and companies, including Amazon, Philips, PwC, and Microsoft. If you’re exploring your business master’s options, this program could be a great fit for you.

Here, we break down everything you need to know about Masters of Supply Chain Management—who the program is for, what you can do with it, what graduates can expect to earn, and how to apply.

Who is a Master of Supply Chain Management for?

Master of Supply Chain Management programs are usually designed for pre-experience and early career professionals who want to launch a career in supply chain management.

According to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the majority of Master of Supply Chain Management applicants (62%) consider pursuing the program before they enter the workforce full-time.

Men and women consider Master of Supply Chain Management programs at equal rates, and the most common undergraduate degree for applicants to hold is in a STEM subject.

“The Master of Supply Chain Management is designed for candidates with strong quantitative aptitude and a passion for the intricate realm of supply chain management,” explains Kaci Kegler, director of one-year master’s programs at Michigan Ross School of Business in the United States.

Types of Master of Supply Chain Management

If you choose to study a Master of Supply Chain Management, you have a couple of different delivery options:

Masters of Supply Chain Management

Traditional Master of Supply Chain Management programs tend to be one-year in length, delivered on campus. You’ll study a wide range of topics, including logistics, procurement, risk management, and supply chain strategy, along with general management topics.

These programs often give students the chance to take part in study trips, placements, and on-site projects with local companies.

Online Masters of Supply Chain Management

You can also choose to study your Master of Supply Chain Management online. Online programs cover the same core curriculum, but you’ll be expected to undertake more independent study. Despite being conducted remotely, online programs still give students a chance to take part in group-work, and some have a residential component.

One highly-ranked Online Master of Supply Chain Management is offered by USC Marshall School of Business. This option is aimed at working professionals who want the flexibility to combine work and study.

Master of Supply Chain Management syllabus

Here’s what you can expect to learn during a Master of Supply Chain Management:

General business knowledge

Although a Master of Supply Chain Management is a specialized program, you’ll still be exposed to broad business knowledge that helps place supply chains into their larger context. Some programs, including the supply chain master’s at Michigan Ross, offer a business fundamentals bootcamp course.

Topics covered might include strategy, economics, financial accounting, and marketing.

A supply chain deep-dive

The bulk of the Master in Supply Chain Management curriculum will be made up of supply chain specific modules, covering topics including:

  • Global logistics management
  • Supply chain risk management
  • Procurement strategy
  • Information technology in supply chain and logistics
  • Project management
  • Advanced production planning and scheduling
  • Sustainable supply chains

“One of the highlights of my program has been the case-based teaching approach,” says Lars van Straaten, a current Master of Supply Chain Management Student at Rotterdam School of Management (RSM).

“This really brings alive the theories learned in class—being able to apply them to real-life situations.”

Leadership and management

Management and leadership skills are an important component of any career, and during a Master of Supply Chain Management, you’ll learn how to apply them to the supply chain function. Some programs offer a specific leadership module, while others incorporate leadership coaching throughout the program.

Practical experience

During your Masters in Supply Chain Management, you can also expect opportunities to apply what you learn to a real-world context through internships or projects. In the Master of Supply Chain Management at Michigan Ross, for instance, students work on supply chain projects within real organizations.

“I got opportunities to work on live projects at organizations like Dow Chemical Co and AT Kearney, where I experienced a wider supply chain in action, the best business practices, and the corporate culture of the US,” explains Shivani Saklani, a graduate from the Michigan Ross program.

Master of Supply Chain Management jobs

What can you do with a Master of Supply Chain Management? In short, you can do a lot! Grads get jobs in a variety of roles, typically in areas like logistics, planning, and procurement.

Technology is one prominent sector where Master of Supply Chain Management grads find themselves, but other pathways include consulting and entrepreneurship, where grads can leverage their project management and teamwork skills.

“The career paths of Master of Supply Chain Management graduates are as varied as the alumni themselves,” comments Kaci from Michigan Ross.

“From tech to consumer-packaged goods to the automotive industry, Michigan Ross alumni can be found at leading companies worldwide. Students have started their post-grad career paths as analytics, procurement specialists, product or project managers, and consultants.”

Common jobs for Master of Supply Chain Management grads include:

  • Logistics manager
  • Logistics analyst
  • Logistics planner
  • Operations manager
  • Supply chain manager
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Project manager
  • Consultant

Top employers Master of Supply Chain Management grads include:

  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Uber
  • GM
  • Nissan
  • Wayfair
  • Tesla
  • Government
  • NGOs

Booming job opportunities

During a Master of Supply Chain Management, you’ll have access to a career services team who can help you work out a career plan, and decide which post-graduation route is right for you.

For Gianni Croes, who studied a Master of Supply Chain Management at RSM in the Netherlands, the program opened up career opportunities he didn’t even know existed. After completing a dissertation project with at-home beer supplier, Beerwulf, he joined the company full time as a logistics specialist.

“The opportunity to do a company-based thesis project was a great way to get acquainted with the business world,” he says. “I started working at Beerwulf full-time in July 2020, and I haven’t looked back!”

MS in Supply Chain Management grads remain in high demand today. By 2028, Deloitte predicts that the supply chain talent shortage could leave 2.4 million positions unfilled globally.

“We have noticed how the COVID crisis brought home to applicants just how essential supply chain management is to every aspect of modern life,” adds Nick Ellis, director of Master in Management programs at Durham University Business School.

Master of Supply Chain Management salaries

What salary can you expect after a Master of Supply Chain Management? Graduating from the program will give you a boost compared to what you would earn with an undergraduate degree alone.

Graduates from MIP Politecnico di Milano’s Master of Supply Chain Management earn an average of US$59,200 six months after graduation. Their peers at RSM earn similar rates, commanding a median graduate salary of US$48,000.

Graduates from the Michigan Ross Master of Supply Chain Management program command even higher pay, with a median base salary of US$94,000.

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Your salary will also vary depending on your industry and role. Logistics analyst roles pay around US$61k, in the US, according to Glassdoor, while supply chain managers earn US$102k on average.

In top-level supply chain management jobs, you could make upwards of US$150k. According to data from Salary.com, a supply chain director earns an average of US$153k in the US, and a vice president of supply chain management can make US$167k.

Master of Supply Chain Management cost & ROI

In Europe, tuition fees for Master of Supply Chain Management programs tend to sit around the US$20,000 mark. RSM’s program will set you back around $19,000 in tuition, while MIP costs around US$22,000.

In the UK, programs can cost more. At Alliance Manchester Business School, for instance, the Master in Operations, Project and Supply Chain Management program costs around US$32,000 for international students.

Programs in the US typically have a higher premium still, with the Michigan Ross Master of Supply Chain Management charging tuition fees of US$58,833, and USC Marshall School of Business charging US$63,000.

So, is a Master of Supply Chain Management worth it?

Financially, the answer is a resounding yes. Graduates from top-ranked Master of Supply Chain Management programs can expect to command impressive salaries, which means you can recoup your initial investment in a relatively short space of time.

A Master of Supply Chain Management also allows you to build connections with relevant employers and peers, and gives you the opportunity to launch a fulfilling, dynamic career.

“Career evolution is interesting since supply chain jobs are multidimensional and offer bridges to many other positions in a company,” reflects Eric David, director of the Master of Science in Supply Chain and Purchasing Management at Emlyon Business School.

Plus, business schools offer generous scholarships allowing you to offset your tuition fees and boost your ROI.

Master of Supply Chain Management admission requirements

To be admitted into a Master of Supply Chain Management program, you’ll usually need:

  • 0-to-3 years’ work experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in management, business, or STEM
  • GMAT exam score
  • To apply, you’ll need to provide a resume, undergraduate transcript, and letters of recommendation. You may also have to submit a personal statement or essays explaining why you want to study the program, and why you think you’re a good fit.

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    Once your application has been reviewed and accepted, you’ll be invited to an interview—whether in-person or over a video call. The interview is a great opportunity to explain your motivations in more detail, and ask more in-depth questions about the program.

    Whichever business school you choose, a Master of Supply Chain Management can lead to a fulfilling and lucrative career with leadership opportunities and an impressive scope to work across industries and locations.

    While the application process can seem daunting, our guide, Applying to Business School as an Undergrad or Recent Graduate, will help you navigate it, with admission tips on everything from essay questions to choosing who should write your letters of recommendation.

    FREE GUIDE

    Bethany Garner

    Bethany Garner - BusinessBecause

    Bethany Garner is an experienced writer at BusinessBecause.com, where she's credited with more than 200 articles covering everything from entrepreneurial stories to mental health at work.

    She also oversees the BusinessBecause Applicant Question, which poses important admission questions to experts in the field, and regularly hosts webinars on various aspects of the business school experience.

    Prior to joining BusinessBecause, Bethany honed her skills as a freelance writer, tackling a wide array of topics from petcare to car maintenance.

    Bethany holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

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