Have you recently earned an undergraduate degree in supply chain management? Trying to decide what you should do next? You are probably wondering if a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management is worth it.
As you likely already know, supply chain management is the task of actively monitoring and managing all of the activities and procedures involved in a supply chain. To put it more simply, supply chain management is the job of ensuring the activities involved in the supply chain are performed to their fullest potential.
Working in supply chain management, you would be tasked with various responsibilities, but the two biggest aspects of the work are maximizing consumer satisfaction and maintaining a sustainable advantage over all competitors. You would be making sure anyone who buys products from your supply chain is satisfied with the quality and price of the product.
Some of the more popular companies that hire a lot of supply chain managers include places like Amazon, Frito-Lay, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, PepsiCo, and Intel.
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If you decide to go into supply chain management, you will be happy to hear that the average salary in this field is around $83,000 per year. The range falls anywhere between $54,000 to $118,000 per year, but what you earn is largely based on your experience in the field and your education level.
For instance, entry-level workers often earn salaries of around $60,000 per year while people working in the field with five to nine years of experience can earn around $84,000 per year. Those with 20 or more years of experience often make around $94,000 per year or higher.
More importantly, these higher salaries can be unlocked sooner if you upgrade your education from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management. With this in mind, read on for all the information you need to decide whether you should pursue an online Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management.
Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management Benefits
An online Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management will allow you to continue working while you study. When you decide to pursue online degrees, your classes can more easily fit into your schedule. You will likely have a list of due dates for all assignments provided to you at the start of each class, but with little to no regular meeting dates and times. This allows you to decide when completing assignments is best for you, rather than meeting an exact date and time.
Another great aspect of an online Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management is that you will be given the option to fast track your degree. This is great for anyone who wants to earn their degree in less time than the standard two years. Many fast track programs allow you to complete your degree in 1 to 1.5 years, helping you earn your way into those higher job positions much faster.
With a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management completed, you will easily gain access to all of the higher-level positions that pay higher salaries. Since you will have completed a higher level of education, employers will likely feel that you are more qualified for these desirable positions, which gives you an advantage over competing job hunters who only have bachelor’s degrees.
In order to gain access to an online program and reap these benefits, you will need to have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Supply Chain Management or a similar field, maintained a GPA of around 3.0 or higher, and have a few years of work experience–most programs prefer three to five years but every one of them is different.
These online programs typically take about two years to complete, but some take as little as 12 to 18 months. They could also take up to five or 10 years; it’s really up to you as online learning allows you to set your own schedule.
If you can confidently enroll in online courses and manage your time well enough to complete all your assignments while doing a lot of self-teaching, an online degree would be great for you.
Most online courses offer video lectures, narrated presentations, and discussion boards to aid in your learning, so it is by no means always self-taught. You just need the discipline to help teach yourself concepts that you don’t quite grasp during lectures or presentations.
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In an online master’s degree program in supply chain management, you will focus a lot on learning skills like logistics, forecasting, data analysis, communication, and leadership. You will also likely complete a capstone project toward the end of your degree, giving you more experience and the opportunity to conduct your own research.
On top of this advanced education in supply chain management, you’ll also need some other industry and soft skills to succeed as a supply chain manager.
Supply Chain Management Skills
A huge part of applying for jobs is listing relevant skills on your resume. While certain skills look good for any job, like time management and conflict resolution skills, supply chain management requires a more specific skill set.
Most of the skills required for a job in this field are heavily focused on within a master’s degree program, such as:
- Decision Making
- Process Optimization
- Process Analysis
- Data Analysis
If you have job experience that emphasizes any of these skills, or if you have developed them in your personal life, they are great to list on supply chain management resumes.
Being able to prove that your skillset matches the necessary skills for the job you want will make a fantastic impression on potential employers. This will also help set you apart from the competition, as many people create resumes with very basic skills listed.
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Having a more defined skillset, as well as a master’s degree, puts you one step (or more) ahead of the pack when it comes time to apply to some of the supply chain management jobs we’ll now list below.
Careers with a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management
Most supply chain management positions are available to you as long as you have a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, if you earn a master’s degree, employers are more likely to hire you and you can potentially demand a higher salary.
The master’s degree you earned online in supply chain management will also allow higher positions to be available to you with less work experience. With only a bachelor’s degree, potential employers will be looking for much more experience in the field than they would be if you have a graduate-level degree.
That said, let’s now explore some of the exciting career paths you can pursue using the Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management you earned online.
Forecasting/Business Planning Analyst
Forecasting analysts and business planning analysts do very similar work involving the analysis of a company’s operations to help make decisions that result in lower costs and higher revenue.
Forecasting analysts use data about the company’s inventory levels, speed of production, and demand for products to determine what a company should do to increase its productivity and sales. The goal of this job is to help a company reach its most ideal production chain.
Business planning analysts use a lot of the same data as forecasting analysts, but they focus more on marketing strategies to improve sales. The primary goal of a business planning analyst is to determine how a company can bring in higher profits.
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Warehouse and Logistics Manager
Warehouse and logistics managers plan and keep an eye on the logistical aspects of a supply chain, like warehouse productions, inventory, and transportation details. Warehouse and logistics managers are often surrounded by a team of other logistics specialists and warehouse staff that they are expected to manage.
In this job, managers are expected to do everything from processing orders to working with IT systems. Training and supervising new staff members also falls under the job description. They are essential to keeping warehouses running and functioning optimally.
Strategic Category Analyst
A strategic category analyst is sometimes known as a category management analyst. People working in this job are expected to analyze and compare consumer and market trends to a company’s trends. They then use that data to help a company optimize everything from its new product ideas to distribution to promotions.
Strategic category analysts help companies stay up-to-date with current market trends in order to keep their customer base in a state of constant growth and satisfaction.
Global Supply Chain Analyst
If you decide to be a global supply chain analyst, you will be responsible for tracking and analyzing data from the global supply market to help understand and predict processes in the supply chain.
Global supply chain analysts identify problems within supply chains by organizing data from around the world. While global supply chain analysts do not implement any decisions, their opinions are highly valued in the decision-making process.
Supply Chain Operations Manager
Supply chain operations managers do the same job as warehouse and logistics managers, except on a larger scale. They oversee everything that happens within a supply chain and help create and implement necessary processes for optimal production.
As a supply chain operations manager, supply chain analysts, operations specialists, and all other analysts or managers would report to you. This gives you the power to make a lot of well-informed decisions.
Operations specialists are the ones who focus on the daily flow of work within a supply chain. They study workflow and the general operations of a company and work to create solutions for more efficient daily work.
They also use budgeting reports and department metrics to help make decisions that lead to more optimal use of resources. Operations specialists play a critical role in the productivity of any company’s supply chain.
With a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management, you would be able to work in a larger variety of industries, from manufacturing to transportation to healthcare or consulting. If you decide you would rather employ yourself, you could easily become a consultant with a master’s degree.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management may not be a necessity to get into the field, but it does have a lot of benefits. If you are hoping to earn your degree while working and gaining job experience to advance your career, then an online Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management is definitely for you.