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Supply Chain Management – the course for those with a talent for coordination –
Why study Supply Chain Management?

The Supply Chain Management course is a specialized program that focuses on the value chain of products. You get to know all the areas of logistics, from procurement to distribution. But how is it different to a traditional Logistics degree course, and what topics from the fields of Business Administration and Management does it include?
Various students researching a possible supply chain management degree.

Definition of Supply Chain Management

This specialization has a strong focus on value networks and the international transport routes of goods and information. The aim is to gain an understanding of all logistical tasks along the value chain and to learn to coordinate them in order to optimize processes within and outside the company. These tasks include procurement, planning, production, transport, warehousing and distribution.

On the one hand, SCM examines the relationships with suppliers in order to optimally design and manage the supply of goods, monetary flows and information flows; on the other hand, the rigorous focus on the demand from end customers and continuous cost-reduction efforts across all value-creation stages are among the global tasks that make up the concept. Boosting the flexibility and development capacity of the supply chain represents further long-term potential. From these strategic targets it is possible to derive numerous sub-targets for the company, for example reducing inventories, increasing delivery reliability and cutting lead times. Furthermore, successful supply chain management leads to improved product quality with shorter development times.

The subject is particularly suitable as a specialist Master course because the foundations are covered in traditional Bachelor courses in Business Administration or Management.

What is the difference between a Supply Chain Management degree and a Logistics degree?

The difference between the two courses of study may not be immediately obvious because the two actually build on one another. Logistics cannot function without supply chain management, and vice versa.

In contrast to Logistics, however, SCM takes a cross-company view, covering all business divisions such as purchasing, planning, production, distribution, marketing, controlling and warehousing. The focus is on the strategic aspect of the functional areas.

The Logistics course focuses more on the general safeguarding of supply processes and supply chains, and on ensuring that customers receive a high-quality product.

You’ll also find the content of both study courses covered at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. While the Bachelor in International Business Administration/Management covers the fundamentals of production, purchasing and logistics as a core module, the Master in Management allows you to focus on the topic of supply chain management. That means you don’t have to limit yourself to one subject area; you can also take elective courses in topics such as innovation or business analytics. The Career Center, the best of its kind in Europe, will help you choose your specialization.

What topics are covered in the Supply Chain Management course?

The course includes the following modules:

  • Transport management
  • Delivery management
  • The basics of industry
  • Strategic procurement management
  • Production management
  • Distribution management
  • Sustainable operations management
  • Forward cover

The language of teaching is usually English and an internship or semester abroad is also often part of the curriculum because of the focus on international contexts. At WHU, for example, an internship and an international module at one of our 200 partner universities are integral components of the Bachelor and Master courses.

What are the admission requirements for the Supply Chain Management course?

Formal requirements

To study for a Bachelor degree in Supply Chain Management you will need a general higher education entrance certificate (Abitur/A Level) or a university of applied sciences entrance certificate (Fachabitur/AVCE). However, you won’t find many “pure” Supply Chain Management Bachelor courses because it is such a highly specialized course of study. Ideally, you would acquire foundational knowledge through a Bachelor course in Business Administration, Business Sciences or Management, before going on to specialize with a Master.

You can take a Master’s course in Supply Chain Management (SCM) if you have a Bachelor in any area of Business Science. It is not unusual for state universities to limit admissions by numerus clausus (NC). However, these specialized Master courses are mainly provided by private universities, where internal selection processes are more likely to be used.

Language skills also play an important role because lectures and seminars are often held in English or bilingually. You should by all means find out what the respective university’s requirements are regarding language proficiency.

Personal requirements

If you want to study Supply Chain Management (SCM) it’s important that you not only fulfil the formal admission requirements, but that you are also highly motivated and are fascinated by the subject. The following questions are important in this regard:

  • Are you good with numbers?
  • Would you describe yourself as having a talent for organization work?
  • Do you love logistical processes?
  • Are you good at finding strategic solutions?
  • Do you have a good command of English and German?

Jobs and salary after gaining a degree in Supply Chain Management

A degree in Supply Chain Management will open many doors for you in a range of industries because your skills and knowledge will be highly valued in both industrial and medium-sized companies. You will find jobs in any company that uses logistical processes. For example, supply chain managers are needed in aviation, in the chemicals industry and in the field of electrical engineering. The course for success is often set during your studies, and it is worth completing relevant internships. You can establish contact with prestigious companies at the careers fairs of the WHU Career Center, and supply chain managers are also in high demand among consulting companies and specialist logistics service providers.

After working for three years, most Master’s graduates earn an average annual salary of around €100,000. That represents an increase of 63 percent on the starting salary. The advancement opportunities for those with a Master’s degree are therefore clearly substantially greater than with just a Bachelor’s degree. Incidentally, the average annual salary with a Bachelor’s degree is only €39,300.