4 New Innovative SCM Education Trends

As supply chain education is transforming, Supply Chain Management Review came up with four innovative supply chain education trends - commented on by Penn State Center for Supply Chain Research™ Executive Director, Steve Tracey, CorpU partners, and many others.

As supply chain education is transforming, Supply Chain Management Review identified four innovative supply chain education trends. Today's supply chain education network looks a lot different than it did five to ten years ago. Education delivery is changing the way students access executive education, incorporating massive open online courses (MOOCs), along with educational development by universities and third party contractors. CSCR™ Executive Director, Steve Tracey, CorpU partners, and other experts weigh in on the new models of higher education.

Higher Education and Third-Party Provider Collaboration

Companies have begun greater collaboration with higher education programs to develop stronger executive education programs. In 2015, Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business broke grounds when it partnered with CorpU to create new, supply-chain focused and connected learning programs. Alan Todd, CorpU CEO, said: “… partnering with Penn State University was based [on the idea] of growing demand for supply chain content on the part of companies…” Supply Chain Leadership Academy has been working with Penn State to reinvent everything the university has been doing from start to finish, to then adapt it onto a virtual platform, a full 18 week supply chain program. Steve Tracey, executive director of Penn State’s Center for Supply Chain Research™, says “the platform has helped the school deliver strategic and collaborative education online to the masses … [the partnering with CorpU] was serendipitous.”  Combining the demand for supply chain courses with a proper delivery mechanism, the platform for this program was created by CorpU and populated with Penn State’s supply chain materials.

"...it was serendipitous" Executive Director of the Center for Supply Chain Research, Steve Tracey, commenting on the partnership with CorpU.

Getting “Massive” Online

In 2008, the first massive open online course “MOOC” came into the educational scene. These new interactive learning spaces have eradicated limits on the class sizes and have helped create a scalable and affordable way to deliver all forms of education. MOOC’s are also useful to contradict the idea that learning takes place “between the ages of 18-22 in a classroom setting… they change the way education can be delivered…” They allow professionals who cannot afford to take time away from work to earn their higher education degrees on their own time frame. Students are able to watch presentations at 1.5-2 times the normal rate of lecture in a traditional classroom while engaging in a very flexible schedule. Granted, not everything can successfully be taught online, but a shift toward a hybrid approach for supply chain education continues to take over the education sector.

Accelerated Pace of Online Learning

In recent years with the technology booms, there has been an acceleration of movement into the online training space. Don Klock, Rutgers Business Professor, comments on this by saying: “I’m a supply chain guy and Google knows this from my cookies… Everytime I log in I get an advertisement for a new educational offering from some institution…” Many more institutions and people are beginning to explore the online learning platform. A traditional classroom has been more interactive than a virtual one, but with the advancements in today’s technologies, the virtual setting is becoming closer to being a networking hub. Many experienced supply chain professionals who take online courses like these are no longer looking for a way to expand their collection of business cards, to get into a new environment, rather they find benefits in an online network to piece the puzzle together.

Skills and Evolution

Today, supply chain professionals need to have skills such as: executive leadership roles, team building, budget management, and impact outcomes. The overall skill set has been shifting from technical to soft skills with today’s environment. From an organizational level, large companies have begun focusing on rotational programs to show employees the entirety of the supply chain, to foster relationships and gain hands-on appreciation for different sectors in the field. It’s up to a transforming education curriculum to teach students these skills in order to make them successful future business leaders.

Here are just four examples how executive education is evolving to meet the changing and growing needs of supply chain executives, and bridge knowledge gaps that are needed to take organizations to the next level. To read the complete article and learn more, read the Supply Chain Management Review Magazine in the January/February 2016 issue.