Universities revamping supply chain programs amid COVID-19

Amid the many supply chain disruptions the U.S. has seen during the pandemic — from port closures, to trucker shortages to the just-in-time inventory systems that many health systems have historically relied on failing to meet surges in demand — several universities are reimagining their supply chain programs to ensure future leaders in the field are prepared for similar crises, Bloomberg reported. 

"For years, we had sort of taken logistics for granted. The pandemic caused us to rethink it," Srikant Datar, PhD, dean of Harvard Business School, told Bloomberg

Some schools are now emphasizing risk mitigation, data analytics and production reshoring in their supply chain curricula, according to Bloomberg.

Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University in State College told the publication that it is adding a master's course in supply chain risk management next year that will feature lessons learned from big corporations' pandemic experiences. The course will count toward a new certificate program in risk management. 

"It's not like we don't cover risk already, but this would give them a deeper dive," Kevin Linderman, PhD, chair of Smeal's supply chain and information systems department, told Bloomberg

More than 400 juniors in the Smeal College of Business' undergraduate program have declared their intent to major in supply chain management, up from 270 the previous year, Bloomberg reported. 

The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe told Bloomberg it plans to offer a certificate in supply chain resilience. 

Additionally, 50 companies plan to attend a supply chain career fair at Georgia Tech this month, almost double the number that typically come to recruit students, according to Bloomberg

Leaders of Penn State's supply chain program told Bloomberg that discussions in the classroom will now include such topics as ensuring the U.S. doesn't source too much from a single country as well as the roles technology, like machine learning and artificial intelligence, can play in supply chain management.

"It's time for the profession to wake up. The 20th century was about finance. The 21st century should be about supply chains," Jarrod Goentzel, PhD, the principal research scientist at MIT's  Center for Transportation and Logistics in Cambridge, Mass., told Bloomberg

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