Why the Supply Chain Boom Matters to MBA Students

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Dr. Morgan Swink, Executive Director SVCC
In the past 20 years, technology has opened the door for the growth of supply chain management and the need for high-level managers and executives in the field. Communications, fiber optic cables and transportation have all played a significant role in the supply chain boom in recent decades. The opening up of societies such as India and China to international markets has also had a major impact on the rise of supply chains.

“These factors have created all this opportunity for the growth of global supply chains,” says Dr. Morgan Swink, Executive Director of the Neeley Supply and Value Chain Center and James L. and Eunice West Chair in Supply Chain Management at TCU.

There is now ample opportunity to source globally, fostering competition and prompting companies to focus on core competencies, explains Swink.

What used to be internal operations management has evolved into supply chain management, and opportunities are opening up for leadership positions in the field. “These are very strategic roles in companies,” says Swink. “The added value comes through partnerships and relationships with external organizations.”

In the past, companies had Chief Operations Officers, but a growing number of companies now have Chief Purchasing Officers and Chief Supply Chain Officers, and businesses have integrated functions to create seamless supply chain processes. 

"Globalization has enabled all of this," Swink says.

Swink came to TCU in 2010 to help build the existing supply chain program, which the Neeley School of Business has offered to MBA students for about 12 years. Since Swink’s arrival, the program has seen exceptional growth and achieved national recognition.

Why MBA students should consider supply chain management

The supply chain focus is "the only concentration that gives [students] the end-to-end view of the organization," says Swink. The field of study involves negotiations, partnerships and customer service, among various other aspects of business. It requires a combination of critical thinking and analytical skills, coupled with people skills. 

Companies are looking for generalists, with a mix of left-brain and right-brain qualities, says Swink. “The field is best for candidates who can solve problems and interact with people and conduct other functions.”

When Swink observes these qualities in a student, he tries to steer them toward the supply chain management concentration. But a lot of students have misconceptions about what supply chain is. “It’s more than working in a warehouse,” says Swink.

“Part of my job is to give students an idea of what the opportunities are in supply chain,” he says. “More of [the supply chain students] are majors because we convert them.”

Supply chain management is a global field and provides students chances to work internationally with many big-picture opportunities. “You’re not going to be locked into a functional silo,” Swink says. "From a student’s perspective, someone who speaks another language and wants to travel will have a lot of opportunity in supply chain.”

Do you think supply chain management might be right for you?

“Do the research; learn the lingo; read trade journals; study supply chain management in companies that appeal to you,” recommends Swink.

Learn more about the Supply and Value Chain Management concentration here or request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program.
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