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Business Administration Supply Chain Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management, or Supply Chain Management?

I'm on my college search process at the moment and I was wondering what's the diffrence between the three majors? Would one be more valuable to an empoyler?

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Laura’s Answer

Hi Andrew! That's a great question - many schools have their own specific names for programs, and they are often very similar! I would suggest gathering information from the colleges you're looking at for each of those majors to understand the type of courses you'd be taking and the types of jobs students have gone into after graduating. In addition, if you're more math-oriented, the operations piece might be something you'd like to consider. Operations Research is a field focused on building mathematical models to help businesses make decisions (such as how to allocate resources in the most optimal way to minimize costs or maximize return). On the other hand, the business supply chain management might focus more on the business side of managing an efficient supply chain. I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Andrew
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Jasheah’s Answer

Hello Andrew,

Great question!

I would like to begin with the fact that you do not need to study supply chain to work in supply chain. Every business out there has a supply chain, whether it is Johnson & Johnson, Apple or Tesla. And even though it is great to have an understanding of how it is all pieced together, I can assure you based on personal experience that you do not need to be confined to the supply chain degree path to work in one. I have worked in supply chain at one point, my role even had the words "supply chain" in it, and I studied chemical engineering. If you would like to study supply chain, you should do it, I just do not want you to feel confined to the degree program or think that this is the only way to work in it.

According to investopedia.com (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/scm.asp), Supply Chain Management ("SCM") is the management of the flow of goods and services and includes all processes that transform raw materials into final products. It involves the active streamlining of a business's supply-side activities to maximize customer value and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Now, I do not know the exact difference between all three of these degrees you have listed above, however, they all seem very comparable. Different schools can have different curriculums for degrees that have the same name, so it all depends. See below for my interpretation of each degree based on their respective names:

1. Business Administration Supply Chain Management
-Supply chain management with a concentration in business administration
2. Operations and Supply Chain Management
-Supply chain management with a concentration in operations
3. Supply Chain Management
-Concentration in supply chain management

Advice: When it comes to recruiting for jobs, a lot of the time the small intricacies, such as the slightly different names of degree programs ("supply chain management" vs "operations and supply chain management") will not make a big difference. The most important things are how you market the degree and the actual experience you obtain with these degrees. Penn State University and Drexel University, both schools are located in Pennsylvania, are two schools with popular supply chain management programs. These programs, if I am not mistaken, require you to get an internship/co-op in supply chain during the course of your degree, which is very helpful. I would recommend looking into these schools and even reaching out to students in the program who can discuss a bit more in detail about SCM and answer more questions that you may have. You can find these students on LinkedIn - "cold emailing" or "cold in-mailing" ( an "in-mail" is a message sent on LinkedIn) is how I did a lot of research for schools, degree programs and jobs.

Thank you for reading and good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Andrew
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Jill’s Answer

Hi Andrew!

I have found that supply chain careers with a Supply chain management degree tend to have 4 major entry level points:

Operations - these teams work inside the four walls of a facility like a warehouse, manufacturing plant, etc.
Procurement - these teams source the products (raw materials, final finished goods, etc.) and work on contracts, etc. with suppliers
Planning - these teams work in the math - they forecast, evaluate capacity plans, etc.
Transportation -these teams work on moving product, equipment, raw materials etc. around the world.

Here is a great resource to look at for careers in supply chain: https://www.ascm.org/membership-community/career-resources/supply-chain-management-careers/

As for programs - I took a quick look at the programs that state "Business Administration Supply Chain Management" vs "Supply Chain Management" and my recommendation would be to focus more on the programs that are "Supply Chain Management." This is due to the courses I see. In the Business Admin SCM programs, SCM looks like it is more of a specialty or minor. Where in the programs where you get a Supply Chain Management degree the courses offered are fully focused on supply chain.

Jill recommends the following next steps:

Review this resource around careers in supply chain: https://www.ascm.org/membership-community/career-resources/supply-chain-management-careers/
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Andrew
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