The College of Charleston School of Business is strengthening its supply chain management program to meet the demand predicted by national experts. According to Inc. magazine in June 2012, “the supply chain management industry is now poised for sustained growth.”
The College’s program, which has existed for more than 25 years, added one full-time professor this year, and is currently hiring an additional professor for the 2013-14 academic year. New courses with a strategic focus are being discussed. And, increasing the supply chain component in the School’s accelerated MBA program is also a possibility.
“We’re in a unique position right now because we offer one of the few business-focused programs in the Southeast,” says Professor Kent Gourdin. “Rather than emphasizing the industrial or process engineering aspect, we help students understand the bigger picture – integrating the logistics of several companies so that each partner is working together for the good of the group and end customer.”
Charleston is a unique location to study supply chain management. The College of Charleston is just a few blocks from the Port of Charleston, giving students a true understanding of the Port’s economic impact to our state. Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, is on the School’s Board of Governors and serves as a mentor to students. “As the Port expands and the Panama Canal passes the larger carriers through to our east coast, the demand into Charleston will increase,” says Newsome. “We need even more well-trained logistics professionals who understand the opportunities for our state.”
With access to the Port, comes access to support industries like freight forwarding, transportation companies, and logistics businesses. Students are required to spend a semester shadowing a supply chain management professional, where they get a better understanding of the field.
Students graduate with knowledge of warehousing, inventory management, customer service, and information systems. Graduates now work in logistics at BMW, Sherwin Williams, J.C. Penny and the major steamship lines. The Global Supply Chain Management students also intern at several companies, including Michelin North America.
A global perspective is essential in business, but especially in supply chain management, where some professionals will work with vendors in multiple countries. Students experience this global connectivity lesson during a weeklong, required European study abroad experience. Students visit the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, one of the largest ports in the world with more than 430 million tons going through it annually. The visit exposes students to the trade of resources like coal, natural gas, and ore, in addition to containers and vehicles.
Additionally, students who minor in supply chain management, take the Intermodal Transportation Professional Development Class, a professional certification course that exposes students to every aspect of logistics, transportation, and supply chain management as they are practiced in Charleston. Hundreds of supply chain management professional in Charleston has either graduated from the College with a minor in the supply chain management or completed this certification course.
“We have developed extensive industry relationships both with companies like BMW and Michelin, and with the South Carolina State Ports Authority,” Gourdin says. “Interest in supply chain management is growing across the state and we are proud to help develop the industry’s next leaders.