Into supply chain straight from college

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Getting a supply chain degree is not as easy as it sounds. Whilst there are many courses in physics, geography or creative writing, you will hardly find a logistics or purchasing degree in most universities. So, what do those of us who want to pursue a career in supply chain management have to do? Well, there are ways.

Higher education

Supply chain management is something that you cannot really do without proper education. Consider traditional business courses with selected modules on transportation or procurement or whatever else you would want to work in. Another way would be through looking at specialised supply chain schools. Quite a few good courses are also offered online. Communication and analytical skills are the two top qualities you need if wishing to work in supply chain – consider taking a few modules on that, too. Statistics classes work just fine to provide you with a basis for advancing your analytics skills.

Be different

Taking a supply chain course is already a huge step towards a career in the industry but it will not differentiate you from the other job seekers. However, if you can impress your potential employers with a good knowledge of foreign languages (Mandarin is the top of the list), social sciences (knowing the cultural difference between countries and nations can strengthen the business relationships with your partners), mathematics (as we have already said, statistics is good for analytical skills), and business law will be helpful as well. Sustainability has become a number one discussion topic in the past few years so if you have a module/course on it in your school, take it!

Time to find a job

If all your education is sorted out and skills are as perfect as ever, it is time to think of finding an internship. Many companies prefer to employ their interns later on rather than looking for someone new. Show yourself from the best way possible, ask when something is not clear and do not be afraid of taking initiative. Such internships offer great insights into the industry and let you decide what area you want to work in.

People come to supply chain management from many different sectors: purchasing, IT, manufacturing, management consulting and a few others. It might be easier for you to find a job in one of those markets first and move to supply chain a few years after. By that time you will gain all the necessary experience and skills.

Image © Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
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