If there are three letters that hold the key to success in your business career, they would be M-B-A.
The Master of Business Administration remains the most highly respected educational credential available in the business world. Look at the executive ranks of any Fortune 500 corporation. You’ll find those three letters next to the names of an awful lot of big decision-makers.
That’s just as true in the supply chain world as it is in the business world as a whole. At the same time, becoming a supply chain manager demands an elite command of some very specialized knowledge and skills:
These aren’t subjects that the typical MBA program covers. But they are available in MBA programs with concentrations in supply chain management. And we have put together a list of the top picks our editors have found across the United States in this valuable specialization.
What Makes an MBA in Supply Chain Management Exceptional
The typical MBA program has a lot to offer any executive in terms of management and leadership skills. They cover advanced topics critical to business administration including:
They are also available in all kinds of different specializations. Since executives in most organizations run departments that require specific understanding of a particular function, MBAs have evolved to support them.
Supply chain management is one of those functions. MBAs with a supply chain or logistics specialization take the general business administration education and build on it with additional coursework in transportation systems and storage, in supplier diversification and contract negotiation, and in forecasting and operations management.
Put together all those skills, and you get a ticket that can lead to the very top of the biggest companies. Your combination of business acumen and supply chain mastery can take you right out of supply chain organizations and into senior management.
But it takes more than just the average MBA program to get you there. That’s why finding the very best should be at the top of your to-do list.
How We Identified the Crème de la Crème of Supply Chain Management MBAs in the United States
There are a lot of MBA programs in the United States today, over 1,000 according to a 2019 analysis by the Wall Street Journal.
Not all of those offer a supply chain management concentration, however. And of those, only a few have the right combination of factors to put them on our top list.
What are those factors?
Instructors With Both Academic and Professional Expertise in Supply Chain Management
One thing that differentiates MBAs from many master’s programs is an intensive focus on current business conditions and trends out in the real world. That means it’s critical to get your instruction from professors who have recent, active experience in a going business operation.
But you need the best of both worlds—they should also have deep academic expertise and broad research skills. You want to be learning from people whose journal articles are must-reads, whose phone numbers are in the contact list for top consultants and executives.
These schools check that box, with expert instructors who not only know the supply chain business, but who also make it their business to ensure you come out of their classes prepared for every challenge and eventuality that could come your way.
A Sterling Reputation in the Supply Chain Business
Sometimes it seems like reputation is everything in business education. When interviewers spot names like Harvard or Wharton on a resume, your stock instantly goes up.
But there are good reasons for that. Reputation wraps up all these other elements and ties them together. It’s the sum of what the business community perceives your value to be. That’s powerful not just because of what it can do for your career, but also what it says about the training you’ll get.
So, we looked for schools that make hiring committees sit up and take notice. They frequently make the lists of third-part evaluators like U.S. News & World Report. And they have accomplished alumni scattered all over the industry who can put in a word for you when you join them.
Strong Connections to Relevant Supply Chain Organizations
That abundance of accomplished alums fits in with the next criteria, too. With experiential learning being an essential part of supply chain management career preparation, you want those experiences to happen in reputable companies and relevant industries.
That means close ties to active supply chain organizations that offer training opportunities in your specialty are essential. This doesn’t just open up chances for you to get relevant real-world experience. It also allows you to make valuable contacts who will be able to offer mentoring and advice as you find your feet. It also ensures that the education you are getting is truly state-of-the-art in your field.
Effective Academic Support and Counseling
An MBA has such a fearsome reputation in part because it’s not easy to earn one. That’s particularly true in these tough, high-stakes programs. An MBA from these schools has extra value because it was hard to get. You must prove yourself daily in these programs.
But fortunately, you don’t have to do it all on your own. We picked programs that give you all the tools you need to be successful. No matter how demanding your coursework is, these are places where academic support and counseling is always on tap to help you through it. Someone is available to explain hard concepts; guidance is offered in putting together the right schedule of classes.
Offering the Information You Need to Find Your Personal Top Pick Among MBA Degrees in Supply Chain Management
Naturally, you’re going to look at a lot more factors than these in your choice of supply chain MBA degrees. Your career is unique, and you’ll have a unique set of requirements and decisions to make along the way. Even the most elite MBA degree isn’t going to be worthwhile if it doesn’t match all the dozens of details that are important to you.
So, although we built the list based on general indicators of quality in supply chain management and business education, we’re giving you all the data you need to dive into the details.
That includes information such as:
On top of that, we give you a snapshot of why we think it is that these programs stand out above the rest of the field. If they are getting mentioned a lot by third-party evaluation organizations like U.S. News & World Report, we’ll note it. If they have a stand-out faculty roster, you’ll read about it here. If there are extra options for fast-track or part-time completion, this is where you will see them.
And we call out some of the unique extras that come out of excellent MBA programs… things like international or other experiential learning opportunities, notable guest speakers, industry-connected consulting projects, and all the other little details that made us sit up and take notice.
Our Top Picks for the Best MBA Programs in Supply Chain Management in the United States
Any MBA in Supply Chain Management can get you off and running with a career in supply chain management. Only one of them will be perfect. There’s a good chance you’ll find it somewhere on this list.
Arkansas State University (PU)
MBA with a concentration in Supply Chain Management (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $16,500 (in-state, out-of-state)
Arkansas State University’s MBA offers a concentration in Supply Chain Management and an online design that’s sure to align with your busy, professional life. This exciting course of study features an in-depth exploration of the process of developing supply chain solutions at both the domestic and international levels. Students here become confident decision-makers and leaders who deftly examine the organized movement of goods between international firms. A fast-paced, dynamic program, the MBA with a concentration in Supply Chain Management boasts an industry-focused curriculum that includes topics like ethical leadership, international business, enterprising technology, and social responsibility. This online, accelerated program also includes multiple start dates throughout the year so you can begin earning your MBA right away!
Arizona State University (PU)
Full-Time MBA with a Supply Chain Management concentration (online, on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $60,390 ($3,329 per credit out-of-state)
Arizona State University’s Full-Time MBA with a concentration in Supply Chain Management is where you’ll hone your leadership skills as you build the robust skillset that will prepare you to assume top-level leadership positions in supply chain management. Featuring a Forward Focus curriculum, this program offers a superior exploration of relevant, industry-specific areas of study. Choose ASU’s MBA with a concentration in Supply Chain Management and you’ll enjoy superb support and guidance that includes career management resources and one-on-one career coaching (through the Executive Connections program). Earn your MBA here in just 21 months!
California State University Long Beach (PU)
Evening MBA with a specialization in Supply Chain Management (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $30,744 ($1,448 per credit out-of-state)
California State University Long Beach’s Evening MBA comes complete with a specialization in Supply Chain Management and a self-paced, flexible format that allows students to choose the number of courses they take each semester. Complete the degree on a full-time or part-time basis – the choice is yours! Expertly designed to meet the needs of today’s busy, working professionals, the Evening MBA features opportunities to work on exciting, real-world business problems and gain the skills to become a top-level manager/leader of supply chains.
University of San Diego (PR)
MBA with a concentration in Supply Chain Management (on-campus, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $68,860
The University of San Diego’s MBA features a concentration in Supply Chain Management and no less than three formats to suit your specific needs. Students here can choose full-time, part-time, or the unique Flex format, which offers a full-time program with a flexible, hybrid format that combines once-monthly on-campus weekend meetings with online coursework. Regardless of which format you choose, you’ll enjoy outstanding support and guidance that includes personal attention from professors and unmatched career services from the Student Success team. The Knauss MBA is highly personalized and industry-focused with real-world international consulting projects and study abroad opportunities.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Hartford (PR)
MBA with a Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain and Logistics (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $146,520
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford is home to an MBA that comes complete with a Graduate Certificate in Supply Chain and Logistics for a superb course of graduate study in the intricacies of supply chain management. This MBA program prepares the next generation of visionary and inspiring leaders who deftly lead dynamic and innovative organizations. We love the industry-focused curriculum here that boasts real-world projects and outstanding instructor-mentors who are there to provide students with real-world expertise and advice. Offered in a fully online design, this program allows students to study anytime, anywhere through the Rensselaer Studio, an engaging digital learning environment.
Florida A&M University (PU)
One-Year MBA in Supply Chain Management (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $17,864 ($1,022 per credit out-of-state)
Florida A&M University’s One-Year MBA in Supply Chain Management offers the best in graduate learning for aspiring and practicing supply chain managers! We love this program’s commitment to excellence that includes an esteemed faculty who’s dedicated to the practical application of business disciplines… a curriculum that’s designed to prepare students to gain the skills necessary for leadership positions in global business, industry, and commerce… and a one-year design that will take you from the classroom to the board room in no time flat!
Florida Southern College (PR)
MBA in Supply Chain Management (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $34,155
Florida Southern College’s MBA in Supply Chain Management is flexible (complete your MBA in 12 to 24 months); globally focused (opportunities to participate in international field experiences); and personalized (work with an executive mentor for unmatched guidance and support). This award-winning course of study is designed to expertly blend study in operations management, supply chain management, and Six Sigma certification preparation to prepare students to become top-level leaders in supply chain management and logistics. This hybrid MBA combines Saturday courses that meet every other week with online courses for a truly convenient program for busy, working professionals.
University of St. Francis (PR)
MBA in Supply Chain Management (online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $28,764
The MBA in Supply Chain Management through the University of St. Francis boasts a relevant, industry-focused curriculum, your choice of a fully online or hybrid course design, and a laser focus on preparing analytical decision-makers who deftly meet global and competitive challenges. Just some of the other reasons why we love the MBA through the University of St. Francis include an accelerated format (earn your MBA in as little as a year); faculty-mentors with extensive corporate expertise; advanced leadership and communication training; and an engaging curriculum that features case studies, directed discussions, and team projects.
Michigan State University (PU)
MBA with a Supply Chain Management concentration (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $108,765 ($3,353 per credit out-of-state)
Michigan State University’s Full-Time MBA features a Supply Chain Management concentration and a rigorous, industry-focused course of graduate study that is expertly designed to prepare you with the skills needed to excel in today’s competitive, global business climate. This program, which is just 21 months long, is home to a world-class faculty, a team-focused learning environment, and a well-rounded, theory-based curriculum that’s blended with experiential learning opportunities.
Madonna University (PR)
MBA plus Graduate Certificate in Operations and Global Supply Chain Management (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $41,160
Add a Graduate Certificate in Operations and Global Supply Chain to Madonna University’s famed MBA and you’ll be prepared to excel in top-level supply chain leadership positions in a wide array of industries. Madonna’s MBA is a Business Degree by Design program, which offers your choice of a one-year accelerated, traditional, full- or part-time format. MBA students enjoy outstanding, hands-on learning experiences through case studies, group projects, and executive guest speakers for a truly engaging course of graduate study.