Careers in Logistics Offer Unlimited OpportunitiesKasey Chisholm, MAE&T Correspondent
When looking at goods and services, consumers often don’t think about the considerable organization and planning that has gone in to making it available to them. However, the logistics needed in manufacturing, trucking, railroads, ocean shipping, airlines, tourism, healthcare, retail and more require specialized skills and training, and more than ever, employers need qualified candidates to fill these critical roles. Divakar Rajamani, Program Director of the Executive Master of Science Supply Chain Management program at the University of Texas at Dallas noted that “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects demand for management analysts of logistics, purchasing and operations management to increase up to 83 percent by 2018.” Now is the time to join this on-the-rise career path.
For military veterans, the transition to a career in logistics is often an easy one due to many overlaps between their service to their country and the demands of the career path. Eastern Kentucky University’s Executive Director of Admissions, Dr. Brett Morris, is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel believes that “a for-profit company (take Ford Motor Company as an example) and a non-profit organization (like the US Army) have the same types of challenges: men/women in different parts of the world trying to solve unique challenges while operating with limited resources in a time-constrained environment.” Robert Eugene Perry III, a Master Sergeant in the USAF Reserves with 23 years of service in EKU’s Supply Chain Management Program agrees, sharing that in his mind, his degree in the logistics field focuses on the same thing done by the military during times of war namely “getting our quality products to the right place, at the right time, using the most efficient way possible. In an environment where efficiencies cannot just be seen in cost reduction or shortened lead times, today’s military supply chain professionals are ultimately saving lives with improved operational planning, ensuring quality products from reliable vendors, streamlined manufacturing processes, and efficient delivery methods.” With a wide variety of specializations and career possibilities, a degree in logistics could be the perfect move for former military personnel.
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University has a Global Supply Chain program that includes the four major pillars of the Supply Chain Operating Reference (SCOR) Modelà Planning, Sourcing, Making (Manufacturing or Services), and Delivering (i.e. Logistics). James Kirby Easterling, the Executive-in-Residence in the Global Supply Chain Management program, explained that “Many schools offer a program that focuses primarily on one pillar (ex. Logistics), whereas at EKU we offer a comprehensive SCM degree program that integrates all the components, and our graduates are in high demand accordingly.” The program at EKU is a Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) with a concentration in Global Supply Management, including logistics, strategic procurement, operations management, supply chain planning, information systems, and supply chain network design optimization. A Global Chain Supply certificate is also available for EKU students who have selected a different major, yet still would like to be competent in the SCOR model. Students in the program also have many opportunities to be exposed to industry leaders through paid internships with such companies as Hitachi, Bechtel, Bristol-Myers Squibb and more, as well as during the Global Supply Chain Executive Speaker Series. Easterling believes that the graduates of EKU’s program have unlimited opportunities. “Every organization is bound by its resources, and supply chain students are skilled at managing those limited resources in the most efficient manner, regardless of whether it’s for-profit or non-profit,” he continued, “Many Supply Chain Management students start off their career working as a Materials Analyst, a Production Planner, a Commodity Manager (i.e. Buyer), a Logistician, or Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP).” Robert Perry has found his experience in EKU’s program invaluable as he prepares for his future, sharing that “The faculty team at EKU’s SCM program are ensuring these young professionals are graduating with a complete and extensive knowledge of this vastly expanding career field while standing head and shoulders above the competition and hitting the ground running on their first day on the job.” Perry is also grateful that real-world experts, like Easterling, are brought in to the program to keep things relevant. Easterling himself is a three time EKU graduate with twenty-two years of experience in supply chain management, and he returned to his alma-mater to help them craft a genuinely comprehensive program. ‘
EKU is routinely named one of the “Best for Vets” institutions in the Military Times and has ranked as a top Military-Friendly university by GI Jobs Magazine thanks to their top notch support of military students. The EKU Operation Veteran Success initiative provides a number of benefits to military students seeking their academic dreams, including a highly acclaimed one-stop-shop Veterans Success Center to serve all your transition needs, no application processing fee for undergraduate veterans or their dependents, in-state tuition for all Post 9-11 eligible military personnel, veterans and dependents using the benefit, maximum credit hours for military experience documented on your Joint Service Transcript (JST), priority (early) registration for classes to keep you on track to graduate, military friendly withdrawal and readmission policy due to unanticipated deployment orders, transition housing assistance for newly discharged veterans, and an active Student Veterans of America Chapter – EKU VETS. The Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at EKU is retired Army Major Dr. Bryan Cole, so he understands the military experience. Perry explained the comfort he felt at EKU as a veteran, stating that “Being one of the over 1200 veterans that are currently enrolled at its campus, it is a welcoming feeling the moment you arrive on campus. There is a wealth of knowledge at the Veteran Affairs office and access to the staff is second to none.” EKU takes great pride in its dedication to service men and women.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
“Logistics and supply chain as a whole, is around us constantly. From the clothes we wear and the food we buy, to the services we purchase,” explained Constantine M. Koursaris, Assistant Professor and Program Chair of the Logistics and Supply Management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. He continued, “In an industry valued at $1.3 trillion, careers in logistics and supply chain are in high demand according to a fortune.com article, a projected 1.4 million jobs need to be filled by 2018.” In an effort to prepare students for this booming industry, Embry-Riddle has a variety of academic programs in the field. An Associate of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management ensures graduates are prepared for pre-entry level work in logistics. The Bachelor of Science of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management prepares graduates for key industry roles, and allows students to choose minors in Air Cargo Management or Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Logistics. B.S. students will learn a strong foundation in “transportation, logistics and air cargo management, advanced professional logistics, management science, operations management, supply chain management, airport and airline management, aviation maintenance, air transportation economics and systems, disaster planning and control, humanitarian logistics, hazard mitigation in emergency management, and material management in contingency operations.” Additionally, Embry-Riddle offers a Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. This program seeks to develop leaders with expertise to handle complex environments. Koursaris detailed, “MS LSCM students will cover managerial level topics in purchasing, transportation, integrated logistics, global logistics and supply chain, management science, production and procurement, modeling and simulation, as well as electives chosen from a list of available courses.” Graduates of Embry-Riddle’s LSCM programs are likely to have a very successful career, as “The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates the 2015 mean annual wage of logistics & SCM professionals at $77,470 with the top 10% earning a mean annual wage of $115,960” according to Koursaris. The career paths for a graduate are wide ranging, from the federal government, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, transportation equipment manufacturing, general manufacturing, and professional, scientific, and technical services. Many graduates seek certifications as well, noted Koursaris, “such as a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) offered by the Association for Operations Management or APICS; Certified Professional Logistics (CPL) certification program offered by the International Society of Logistics (SOLE); Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).”
Susan Ancona, the Assistant Director of Military Student Services at Embry-Riddle, detailed a variety of supports for military students. Many of Embry-Riddle’s over 130 campus locations around the globe are located on military bases, and also offer face-to-face and virtual learning which adds flexibility. 342 active duty and veteran students are currently enrolled in the Logistics and Supply Chain Management programs at Embry-Riddle. “Students with a military background possess specialized knowledge of all facets of logistics and supply chain management from a vast scope and magnitude perspective to ensure needed mission critical supply and demand success,” continued Ancona, “Students with a military background are ideal candidates for pursuing a degree in logistics and supply chain management because they understand the science behind the strategic, tactical, and operational planning levels that is required to implement for improving efficiency and performance in the LSCM career path.” Embry-Riddle has a Veterans Student Services center at both residential campuses, as well as many online academic advising programs for distance learners. Additionally, supporting active-duty military and veterans with their educational funding is a top priority for Embry-Riddle. They have lowered their undergraduate military tuition rate to $250 per credit hour, and they offer that reduced rate to spouses and dependents. They also assist students with utilizing their GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program entitlements.
The University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas offers two graduate level options for students considering a career in logistics. The Executive Master of Science Supply Chain Management program “focuses on educating executives and industry-sponsored employees in the disciplines of product lifecycle and supply chain management by combining theory and practice,” explained Rajamani. To meet these goals, students will utilize lectures, case studies, site visits, and work projects synthesizing their learning. Attending an international trip with a partnering university allows executive students to gain global experience. The second option is a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, a 36 credit hour STEM degree that can be completed in 18-24 months. Athena Alimirzaei, the Program Director of the MS SCM at UT Dallas, detailed that it “focuses on the management of business activities from product development, sourcing, production and logistics to managing the resources and related capabilities the organization needs to accomplish its strategic objectives.” A capstone project or internship completes the degree. Graduates of both degrees will be prepared for both analytical and managerial roles. Career paths chosen by graduates of the UT Dallas Supply Chain Management programs include product manager, sourcing manager, logistics manager, inventory manager, warehouse manager, operations manager, supply chain manager, general manager and business partner. Rajamani also shared that there “opportunities to graduate with certificates, including the SAS Certificate in Data Mining and Business Intelligence, Certificate of Logistics and Transportation (CTL), and participating in CPIM Prep Courses to prepare for the APICS exam” making them more employable. In addition to the graduate degrees, UT Dallas offers a Professional Certificate Program in Supply Chain Management, Lean Six Sigma and a Graduate Certificate in Product Lifecycle and Supply Chain Management. Alimirzaei explained what graduates entering the field of logistics might do in their day to day work, such as “demand planning, supply planning, transportation planning, and inventory planning” and more.
Rajamani and Alimirzaei both feel that students with military experience can make an excellent transition to a career in logistics. “Being able to multitask, discover efficiencies, and solve problems are key traits to being successful in the logistics field,” continued Alimirzaei, “Also, leading an operation and making sound judgment calls is important, and experience in the military prepares you for facing those challenges.” UT Dallas offers many supports for their military students, including events and career fairs tailored to their needs. They are one of six universities that are partnered with the United States Army Logistics Management College, and offer financial assistance via scholarship opportunities. A number of groups, such as a chapter of the Student Veterans of America and a Veterans Advisory Council, are in place to help ensure student veteran success. The school has even instituted “Green Zone” training as a means to ensure a campus culture that is genuinely military-friendly. UT Dallas has a strong commitment to its military students.
- Issue: 12
- Volume: 1