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Why MBA programs teach supply chain basics

There's much to learn in the pursuit of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and nearly every course that schools have to offer has vital real-world applications. Even courses about supply chain basics can give future leaders the knowledge they need to help businesses succeed.

Powering revolutions

Every day, companies compete with one another to meet consumer demand. One of the strongest competitors in its market in the last decade has been Apple, whose success has been in no small part thanks to Tim Cook's masterful application of supply chain basics to reduce inventory, drive competition and cut costs. Cook reduced Apple's number of suppliers from 100 to 24 and cut the company's inventory on hand to less than a week. These changes allow Apple to better manage its cyclical, focused product line compared with some of its competitors. A poorly managed supply chain supporting a product that ends up failing costs the parent company millions of dollars as a result of unsold inventory.

Many MBA programs now offer courses outlining supply chain basics, in recognition of the global market, its impact across a range of applications and industries, and the growing demand companies have for individuals who can streamline their operations and mimic Apple's success.

A force for good

While it is an essential component to every for-profit business, well-executed supply chains can also be a powerful tool for nonprofits, governments and organizations. Well-managed supply chains can improve the effectiveness of a comprehensive effort to rebuild disaster-struck communities or overcome a preventable disease through a robust vaccination plan. It's here where MBA programs can make a positive impact in the day-to-day lives of people around the world, by going beyond supply chain basics to teach about logistics management, supplier relationships and modeling. These techniques help organizations react to sudden disasters by ramping up production of support goods, or provide insights to governments developing plans to better prepare themselves for emergencies.

A viable alternative

The demand for qualified MBAs with an interest in supply chains is likely to increase as the computer revolution transitions to a big data revolution. Fortunately, there are now part-time MBA programs and even online MBA programs that have been customized to mesh well with the schedule of a busy professional.

MBA programs are constantly adapting to match the needs of the companies and organizations that hire their graduates. It is for this reason that many programs now teach supply chain basics, as the field continues to prove its worth in many industries, serving as a defining factor in many success stories. Today, professionals interested in tapping into this highly demanding, internationally focused branch of operations have a range of options, including a slew of part-time and online MBA programs.

Learn more about Boise State’s online MBA program.


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