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The big issue in supply-chain education at Missouri State University today is obtaining adequate faculty resources, Kent says. The recession put a freeze on hiring, delaying plans to build out a graduate program in logistics and transportation. The focus today, he says, is on the university's undergraduate program. "We've seen it grow from zero to almost 125 undergrad students today. That's up from 60 just in the past four years."
Kent sees more of an awareness among students of supply-chain management as a career. Previously, he says, the choice of supply chain as a major was made almost exclusively by college juniors and seniors. Today, there are a handful of freshmen in the program, indicating an earlier interest in the topic.
The curriculum is changing, too. Like many others around the country, the university's program began with a focus on logistics and transportation. That approach reflected the large number of trucking companies around Springfield, Missouri. And while the topic has remained at the forefront, the subsequent years have seen a broadening of the program's emphasis to include marketing, leading toward a comprehensive major in logistics and supply-chain management.
The university is seeking out students with "a positive attitude," embracing marketing and customer service as much as the discipline of logistics, says Kent. "We're looking for people who can help to add value, and have a passion for our field."
For a student studying supply-chain management, the future is bright, he says. Demand by business for trained graduates still exceeds the available supply, although "we think we've made a lot of progress in meeting that demand."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain careers, supply chain education, supply chain planning
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