Supply chain is really quite a broad subject.
You know there’s finance, there’s budgeting, there’s scheduling, there’s management.
Supply chain and supply chain management is more well established as a field and pretty
well served by business schools but they’re not offering the same sort of interdisciplinary
approach that we are. With the kind of flexibility we have with an online program we’re able
to offer a more specialized program. Ours is the first one that I’ve seen that offers
a specific focus on the logistics and the transportation of the supply chain. We’ve
spent a lot of time here at the University developing personal relationships with people
across disciplines but then also understanding those fields and what they bring to the problem.
It’s a little overwhelming how effective our advisory board is. I mean these are really
top notch people who don’t get to be in the positions that they’re in without being very
insightful, very focused, and when they put their attention on something, they’re effective.
Our primary goal in engaging them is to ensure that the curriculum is relevant, to make sure
that students we produce have the skills that they want to hire. And they know that better
than we do. The first third of the work load is really foundations to the fundamental tradeoff
that you have to address when you’re designing an efficient supply chain. The second third
of the program are what I think of as the sort of strategic advantages once you have
that foundation. In the last part you get to practice doing that on your own not you
know through some structured homework assignment but a partnership between the student and
their employer. One of the assets to our online program, it
actually allows us to more individualize the program for them. Students who have had different
backgrounds, you know some with more extensive professional training, some with an undergraduate
degree in industrial engineering, some with an undergraduate degree in business. When
we match with the right student who wants a focused program on supply chain transportation
and logistics, we can provide it to them in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to with
a traditional program. We really want students to walk away with
sort of what I call “strategic knowledge” so they don’t just know how to apply this
software tool and figure out which route is the cheapest, but they have an intuition for
what those tradeoffs are and how they play off in the supply chain and they can be sort
of ahead of the computer.