A Master’s degree in supply chain management is a great choice for those who want to enjoy fast-paced jobs that pay well. As in any other specialty field, there are core skills in supply chain management that employers expect job candidates to master while in school. While not every supply chain management program is the same, most schools have core programs of similar courses. Here are five of the most essential and popular courses in the world of supply chain management.

Resource: Top 10 Online Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Degree Programs 2014


A solid understanding of logistics forms the foundation for success in the world of supply chain management. After all, understanding not just what needs to get done but how it will get done is essential to success. In a logistics course, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the planning and coordination of shipments and inventory in business and warehouse settings. Different approaches to logistics management are generally highlighted, and you’ll have the opportunity to read case studies about logistics in the real world too.

Applied Data Analysis

Anyone who works in supply chain management will deal with a great deal of data on a daily basis. Knowing what data means and how to make data-driven decisions makes the difference between success and failure in logistics and supply chain management. In a course on applied data analysis, you’ll gain familiarity with the different types of data commonly used in supply chain management. The basics of quantitative analysis and situation-specific analysis are covered in depth. At most schools, you’ll also receive training on programs that can be used to analyze data. In fact, students who are deeply interested in this aspect may want to consider a full-blown degree in in data analytics or the increasingly popular discipline of data science. Resource: 30 Best Online Master’s in Data Analytics Degree Programs.

Global Supply Chain Management

An essential skill for students who want to excel in the business world today is understanding the global market. There’s no exception when it comes to supply chain management. Many companies now do business on a global scale, which means that logistics and supply chain professionals must understand the regulatory and culture environments of not just the U.S. but of other countries as well. A course in global supply chain management covers the basics of working on an international level. Considerations regarding producers, handlers and distributers are covered in depth.

Project Management

While logistics and supply chain management specialists share a set of overarching responsibilities, they’re also required to handle special projects and needs for their employers. Courses in this area cover the full spectrum of project initiation, plan, launch and closing. You’ll learn about what makes a successful project, and you’ll likely learn about tactics for dealing with teams too. Of course, another key component of a project management course is training on evaluating the success of individual projects.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing, also known as lean production, is a method that centers on eliminating waste in a manufacturing system. Understanding how to apply lean principles to manufacturing and warehouse environments is essential in today’s business world. In a course on lean manufacturing, you’ll learn how to identify and eliminate waste in business environments. Courses focus on showing students how to identify opportunities to deliver cost savings and other significant results. You’ll learn about how too much process variation can hurt a business and what can be done to cut back on it. Of course, comprehensive information about planning and implementing lean programs is also covered.

Demonstrating mastery in these five areas is essential to a successful job search after you graduate from a Master’s program in supply chain management. While these foundational skills are important, you’ll also have opportunities to explore other areas during your time in school. Prioritize specialty areas that correspond to the industries in which you want to work