By Bill Keough
Companies concerned with cost control, competitive differentiation, and innovation are more than ever seeking professionals who can drive substantive change.
The field of supply chain management and logistics offers some of the most exciting career opportunities in the marketplace today. Companies concerned with cost control, competitive differentiation, and innovation are more than ever seeking professionals who can drive substantive change to help them achieve these objectives.
However, many young and mid-career professionals, especially in large firms, have held roles only in very specific supply chain functions. Most of these individuals aspire to assume executive roles in supply chain and logistics, but many have spent much of their career in only one or two areas of the supply chain function. Perhaps you have spent the last 5 years of your career in procurement, or in the transportation group specifically focused on LTL. Executives who are responsible for overall supply chain performance invariably have a far broader skill set.
These executives must understand not just procurement, but the impact procurement has on inventory, transportation, production, and all the other facets of the corporate supply chain. They understand the financial implications and the risks of new supply chain initiatives. They understand best practices in developing a network of facilities, and the IT infrastructure required to support best-in-class supply chain and logistics practices. They understand supplier management, and how to build, measure and incentivize great teams. In short, successful executives understand the end-to-end supply chain, and how changes in one function may impact the others.
The Supply Chain Transportation Master's Program (SCTL) at the University of Washington is designed to give students the skills and experience required to realize their career ambitions. This online program was designed to be work-compatible; most of the students in the program are busy supply chain and logistics professionals with families, and many of them travel the globe for their jobs. But the program is different from other online programs. It features live online classes where you collaborate with your professors and other students in real-time over the Internet. The program also offers the opportunity to make real connections.
The SCTL Program begins with an in-person, week-long Residency at the University of Washington in Seattle, where students tour facilities like Amazon's fulfillment center just south of Seattle, take a boat tour of the Seattle port, and attend a cocktail reception with the program's board of advisors—VP-level executives at firms like Starbucks, Boeing, and Costco.
But the primary purpose of the Residency is to enable students to meet the other members of their cohort—the students they will be working with closely over the next two years of the program. Students also meet the SCTL faculty—experienced UW professors as well as supply chain and logistics practitioners with years of experience in consulting, information technology, mergers & acquisitions, and the design of complex transportation networks. The faculty brings a wealth of real-life experience to prepare students to address the complex supply chain challenges they will encounter as they advance in their careers. Program graduates have assumed leadership roles in firms like Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing and may others. Students leverage the advice and deep networks of senior professionals through a mentoring program and more informal collaboration with the program's advisory board and faculty, and program alumni.
Acquiring new skills and advancing your career in the rapidly-changing fields of supply chain, transportation, and logistics is both challenging and exciting. Perhaps an innovative online program is just the solution you're looking for.