Which Masters Program to Choose and How?
Making a good decision on which masters program to choose is a tough thing. This is usually a one shot action! Very few people would have the chance to change their minds after they start a program. So you should make sure you won’t regret your choice. But how?
You can either be a fresh graduate or a supply chain professional with some years of experience. Your decision should be about what you want to be, not what you are! Your background an experience will support you no matter what field you choose for the future, even if it doesn’t seem related.
While choosing a masters program, first you should ask yourself your career objective. When we are talking about Supply Chain Careers, you mainly have three options:
- Do you want to work in companies that operate in Supply Chain Business?
These can be Global Supply Chain firms as well as local ones; like transportation companies, 3PL companies, Logistics service providers, cargo and shipping companies, freight forwarders, etc. If you are willing to make a career in one of these companies, you have many options. If you want to be in this business area but you don’t feel like being too technical (let’s say you want to be Sales&Marketing Manager) you should choose a masters degree which can help advance your sales and marketing skills along with detailed information on how to build a successful supply chain. Also you would need to have general information about topics like finance, strategic management, organizational behavior, international business and so on. These differentiated knowledge in different topics will give you the confidence to easily communicate with other departments in your Supply Chain Company. Also you will increase your chance to become one of the top managers one day! So it would be better to select a “Supply Chain Management Masters Program” in this case.
- Would you rather work in different business sector than supply chain but manage the firm’s Supply Chain processes?
If this is the case then you should ask yourself if you want to advance your technical skills or business skills.
There are many masters programs about International Transport, Export and Import, Logistics and Operations Management, Operational Research and Applied Statistics, etc. These kind of masters programs will give you detailed information about the related subject so you can have expertise on that area. In the final you can be a real expert in the supply chain about the area you have been practicing.
Also Supply Chain Management Programs can be a good option for you if you don’t feel like being too technical but to have a general sense of the Supply Chain Management area so you can understand other dynamics in you company that drives challenges to the supply chain processes. This way you can find out solutions or collaboration opportunities to solve issues together with other departments.
- A third option can be being a business consultant about Supply Chain Management.
In this case your background is really important. Being a consultant usually happens after working in other business areas for some years. In this case you should check your background. If you have been making analysis for the past years to improve your Supply Chain, then putting a Masters of Operational Research, Applied Statistics or Data Management can make you a real expert. You can easily point shot problems of a consulting firm and act like a wizard! Even if your background does not support this, but you feel like becoming this kind of consultant, you should still go with it of course! The most important thing is what you desire.
If you have not been a very analytic person lately and this doesn’t give you joy, you should choose a more business management related programs.
Other important issue can be your financial situation. Can you pay for your masters degree fee or should you apply for scholarships? If you need a scholarship, you might need to eliminate the programs which do not offer any scholarships.
Do you want to work part-time, while you are doing your masters? In this case you need to ask for a detailed schedule of the courses in the programs you consider applying, so you can see if you will have enough time for both. Another option can be going to work daytime and taking evening courses. Many universities which have business related masters are offering evening courses.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts, advice, suggestions, experience… Leave a comment!
Edit (11.03.2016): I have just seen a blog post about this subject for the UK. I am adding the link in case anyone from UK would check it.
Masters in Supply Chain Management – Top 6 Universities in the U.K. by Dr. Muddassir Ahmed