Executive Briefings

Talent Shortage: More Universities Offer Online Supply Chain Programs

Analyst Insight: Today's supply-chain industry is currently dealing with a shortage of talent to fill critical positions. Unfortunately, many companies are also finding the skills in their current workforce lacking in order to manage today's complex business environment. In light of this, many universities are offering more educational opportunities to assist developing the talent base in the supply chain through online master's programs. – Karl Manrodt, professor of logistics and supply chain management, Georgia College, and Donnie Williams, assistant professor of logistics and supply chain management, Georgia College

Three years ago, Georgia College moved its in-person Masters of Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree to 100-percent online. With this change we now have students from across the globe sharing and interacting with one another. Students in our most recent cohort had an average age of 43, and are established in their career. Which led us to ask, why do this? Some reasons are easy to identify, like the desire to make money, or needing an advanced degree to be considered for promotion. Some are more subtle — and perhaps surprising.

Challenge current thinking. What can a 20+ year logistics veteran learn from taking the introductory course in logistics required for a masters degree? The answer is, surprisingly, a lot. The fact is, we are living in an unprecedented time of rapid technological change, and the impact it is having on the way supply chains are designed, developed and managed is changing daily. In order to stay current with the skills needed to operate in this dynamic environment, supply-chain professionals must adopt continuous learning as an active strategy in their business toolbox.

Connect. What has surprised us the most about our online students is their ability to connect and network with each other. This is important because future leaders in the supply chain will need to be able to connect and build relationships quickly in the modern supply chain. While logistics and supply chain has always been a relationship business, perhaps no greater skill needed for supply-chain leaders moving forward is the ability to network across the globe. For those in the same town, they meet for lunch. Students from different cohorts have talked, met and connected. Job opportunities are shared with students and alumni. We’ve even had a reunion — organized entirely by the students — across multiple cohorts. Students and alumni meet at conferences to catch up and help each other. Networking can, and will, happen when encouraged.

Career opportunities. Academia is going through a lot of changes. Accrediting bodies, such as AACSB, are encouraging greater engagement between faculty and practitioners. The use of clinical faculty (non-tenure track faculty) is on the rise, as is the average age of academics. For those considering a career change, and giving back through teaching, a master’s degree from an accredited body can help. We now have alumni teaching, part time and full time, from Georgia to Texas.

The Outlook

Educational opportunities continue to expand and become more accessible to a wide range of individuals. The skills needed to manage today’s supply chain are continuing to expand, requiring everyone to continually refresh their skills. Online master’s programs offer more benefits than you would expect. Challenge your thinking, connect across industries and retire with a purpose.

Three years ago, Georgia College moved its in-person Masters of Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree to 100-percent online. With this change we now have students from across the globe sharing and interacting with one another. Students in our most recent cohort had an average age of 43, and are established in their career. Which led us to ask, why do this? Some reasons are easy to identify, like the desire to make money, or needing an advanced degree to be considered for promotion. Some are more subtle — and perhaps surprising.

Challenge current thinking. What can a 20+ year logistics veteran learn from taking the introductory course in logistics required for a masters degree? The answer is, surprisingly, a lot. The fact is, we are living in an unprecedented time of rapid technological change, and the impact it is having on the way supply chains are designed, developed and managed is changing daily. In order to stay current with the skills needed to operate in this dynamic environment, supply-chain professionals must adopt continuous learning as an active strategy in their business toolbox.

Connect. What has surprised us the most about our online students is their ability to connect and network with each other. This is important because future leaders in the supply chain will need to be able to connect and build relationships quickly in the modern supply chain. While logistics and supply chain has always been a relationship business, perhaps no greater skill needed for supply-chain leaders moving forward is the ability to network across the globe. For those in the same town, they meet for lunch. Students from different cohorts have talked, met and connected. Job opportunities are shared with students and alumni. We’ve even had a reunion — organized entirely by the students — across multiple cohorts. Students and alumni meet at conferences to catch up and help each other. Networking can, and will, happen when encouraged.

Career opportunities. Academia is going through a lot of changes. Accrediting bodies, such as AACSB, are encouraging greater engagement between faculty and practitioners. The use of clinical faculty (non-tenure track faculty) is on the rise, as is the average age of academics. For those considering a career change, and giving back through teaching, a master’s degree from an accredited body can help. We now have alumni teaching, part time and full time, from Georgia to Texas.

The Outlook

Educational opportunities continue to expand and become more accessible to a wide range of individuals. The skills needed to manage today’s supply chain are continuing to expand, requiring everyone to continually refresh their skills. Online master’s programs offer more benefits than you would expect. Challenge your thinking, connect across industries and retire with a purpose.