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Friday, July 10, 2020

As COVID-19 PPE supply shortages emerge, we’re going to need this

URI launches master of science program in supply chain management this fall

A look into the PPE supply chain amid life-threatening shortages ...The University of Rhode Island College of Business debuts this fall a new online master’s program in supply chain management centered on teaching students the skills to enhance the resiliency of supply chains – an area shown vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Professional Master of Science in Supply Chain Management and Applied Analytics – the first online program of its kind in the U.S. – is a rigorous, one-year program that will train students to analyze and develop innovative solutions to global supply chain problems. 

Distinguishing the program, students will integrate technology and data analysis for strategic solutions and complete a two-week internship with a global company.

“With the overwhelming disruptions we’ve seen to global supply chains caused by the COVID-19 crisis, this program couldn’t come at a better time,” said Maling Ebrahimpour, dean of the College of Business

“This program will give our students the analytic tools and the real-world experience to build resilient supply chains, along with providing them skills that put them in high demand in a growing global industry.”

“In supply chain management, what’s needed right now, especially with the current crisis, is the ability for managers to make adequate risk management decisions and use analytical applications toward building resilient supply chains,” said Dara Schniederjans, associate professor and director of the master’s program. 

“Our program combines a STEM designation with real-world experience and training in analytics, all things employers are looking for right now.”

Supply chain management is a more than $1 trillion industry that continues to grow with more than 11 million workers in the U.S. Such positions as non-managerial jobs as logisticians, analyzing and overseeing of a company’s flow of supplies and products, are estimated to grow at 5%, or by about 8,400 jobs, by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Jobs as transportation, storage, distribution and logistics managers are predicted to grow by about 6%, or about 7,400 new jobs.

The master’s program will prepare graduates for such high-level jobs as distribution vice presidents, operations supervisors, import/export specialists, analysts, and product lifecycle managers.

“Typically, students with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management start at a salary between $50,000 and $60,000. Getting your master’s significantly increases that,” said Schniederjans, who is also area coordinator of the College’s supply chain management department. “You have a lot more doors open to you.”

Students in the master’s program complete 30 credits, taking 10 courses in such areas as resiliency, accounting and finance, global supply chains strategy, international transportation management, and analytics and data mining. 

The courses’ seven-week, asynchronous, online format provides students the flexibility to fit the program into full-time work schedules, while the accelerated structure allows them to complete the program in one year.

“There are not a lot of courses – or even textbooks — on supply chain resilience or supply risk management. Our program is really the first focused on what we call the uncertainty framework, which provides students with a basic framework on how to build resiliency in supply and introducing them to when to use those strategies depending on the type, process and product,” Schniederjans said. “Subsequent classes build on that information.”

Students apply those skills in the program’s closing courses – supply chain network design and Lean Six Sigma Innovation Protocol, in which students take part in a two-week internship where they analyze and improve on a company’s supply chain process. 

Students may organize their own internship or seek a placement through the College of Business’ Supply Chain Management Advisory Board, which includes about 30-member institutions in New England.

The program’s courses were designed by College of Business professors with years of experience in their disciplines, along with industry experts, Schniederjans said.

“Our department is very lucky in the amount of expertise that we have in each of our different fields,” she said. “For example, we have Professor Mehmet Yalcin teaching our Lean Six Sigma course. He’s not only an expert in theory and a prolific researcher, but he’s a blackbelt in Lean Six Sigma. We also have Koray Özpolat, who is teaching one of our first courses, global supply chain management. He’s extremely well-traveled and he’s incredibly knowledgeable in the global issues.”

The application deadline for the Professional Master of Science in Supply Chain Management and Applied Analytics is Aug. 4. Classes for the first seven-week session begin Sept. 1. For more information, contact Dara Schniederjans at or (401) 874-5280.

The Professional Master of Science in Supply Chain Management is offered through URI Online, which provides students and professionals access to a URI education anywhere, anytime across the globe. URI Online offers fully-online undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in areas such as communications, health care management, cybersecurity, cannabis studies, dietetics and nursing.