Best MBA in Supply Chain Management Online Programs

Discover the top online MBA in supply chain management programs, how you’ll access the online content, career and salary opportunities after graduation, and more in this guide.

Unused materials and unsold or undelivered products cut into a company’s bottom line. The challenge will be to streamline processes and build in efficiencies to get raw materials quickly, manufacture products economically, and get them in customers’ hands—fast.

If those challenges appeal to you, then earning an MBA in supply chain management online makes sense. Getting your degree online will give you more flexibility compared to traditional in-person programs, making it easier to continue working and fulfill other personal responsibilities. An online MBA degree in supply chain management may cost you less than an in-person program, too.

Whether you’re already a supply chain professional or you’re looking to get into the field, earning an online MBA degree in supply chain management will give you the business skills to be a company leader. And that opens up lots of high-paying job options in this rapidly growing field.

Your first step is to choose the program that’s right for you. We’ve created this guide so you can have all the information you’ll need to confidently move forward with your decision. Read on to learn about three of the top MBA supply chain management online programs, some common courses you’ll encounter, financial aid options, and careers this degree will prepare you for.

B-School Spotlights: Best Supply Chain Management MBA Online Programs in 2021

It’s important to find a program that fits your need for maximum flexibility and affordability and has a great reputation in the supply chain management field. We’re spotlighting three such programs below; our full list of online MBA degree in supply chain management rankings will be available later in 2021. Be sure to check back for an even more detailed listing.

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland (UMD) offers an online MBA degree in supply chain management, which is just one of five concentrations available. It’s taught by a world-renowned faculty and can be completed in as little as 24 months. All courses are available online with the exception of the opening residency, which is a three-day, on-campus introductory class.

Students will complete 54 credits covering entrepreneurship, data analytics, management, information systems, ethics, global economic environment, financial accounting, operations, negotiation, leadership, human capital, and more. Graduates from UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will join a network of over 66,000 alumni worldwide.

To be admitted to the program, students need a professional letter of recommendation, several years of professional work experience, essays, quantitative preparation (demonstrated through previous education, a GRE/GMAT score, or professional experience), official transcripts, and a completed application and fee. Classes start in January, May, and September.

Syracuse University

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University is home to the nation’s first supply chain management program, which was established in 1919. Today students can complete their online MBA with a supply chain management specialization in as little as 24 months. It requires 36 credits of core courses and an additional three courses to fulfill the supply chain management specialization.

This program includes three in-person residencies during which MBA students are given the opportunity to use their skills and network with classmates and professors. These multiday events take place at major cities around the world.

By the time students have completed their online MBA degree in supply chain management, they have an understanding of how to use logistics resources, including transportation, warehousing, materials management, and inventory, to meet customer expectations in a cost-effective way; hands-on experience using advanced Excel tools to solve complex problems; and solid knowledge of enterprise resource planning systems, project management, and/or the Lean Six Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) process.

Governors State University

The Governors State University 100% online MBA in supply chain management has no residencies or on-campus requirements. If studying full-time, a student can complete the 36-credit program in as little as 18 months. Part-time options are available for more flexibility as well.

The online MBA is offered through the College of Business, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (a goal achieved by fewer than 5% of business schools worldwide). To be admitted, students need a bachelor’s degree, a letter of intent, a resume, a GRE/GMAT score (though you may qualify to have it waived), and two professional letters of recommendation. Students also must complete prerequisite math, business, and written communication classes.

Students complete a capstone course at the end of their program, which includes a standardized assessment test, and they participate in two online professional development seminars.

What to Expect from an Online MBA in Supply Chain Management Program

Supply chain management MBA online programs cover foundational topics in finance, economics, leadership, statistics, organizational behavior, data analysis, international business, information systems and technology, and marketing. In addition, students take several specialization courses in supply chain management that cover topics like warehouse management, transportation of goods, logistics, and materials management.

A few MBA in supply chain management online programs offer students a thesis option, but most programs culminate in a capstone project and comprehensive exam. Upon graduation students have the ability to develop, adjust, and implement logistical plans; communicate and coordinate with suppliers and customers in a professional manner; strategically solve problems; and operate industry tools.

Online lectures, discussion boards, and homework are typically hosted on an online learning platform such as Blackboard. Whether the classes are streamed live or recorded for viewing later depends on the program you choose. Though online courses are more flexible than in-person courses, most programs require students to turn in homework and participate in group discussions by certain deadlines.

As you scan course listings for MBA in supply chain management online programs, you’re likely to see classes like those listed below.

Common Courses in Online Supply Chain Management MBA Programs

  • Operations and Supply Chain Management

    This course introduces students to the field of supply chain management from an operations perspective. It covers the terminology, concepts, problems, and tools that support decision-making in the context of four major supply chain processes: obtaining inputs, including materials and support services; creating finished goods and services; processing and delivering customer orders; and supporting those goods and services after delivery. The course emphasizes the strategic role of supply chains within a firm and between firms and demonstrates how supply chains can be designed to create competitive advantages.

  • Data Analysis and Decision Making

    This course teaches students to become information-based decision makers. Students learn basic statistical techniques such as confidence intervals and hypothesis testing and how to summarize and present data. By the course’s end students know how to implement these techniques using spreadsheets and how to become active users of data analysis in making managerial decisions.

  • Financial Accounting

    Financial accounting provides students with an understanding of the theory, concepts, principles, and practices underlying the preparation and interpretation of financial statements. These statements report a company’s profitability and financial health. Students also develop communication, analytical, problem-solving, and technical skills related to these important financial documents.

  • Global Trade Logistics

    Many firms want to globalize their operations, so in this course students learn about international distribution systems, governmental restrictions on the movement of goods, export and import documentation, and the players involved in worldwide trade. Students apply case and theoretical material to examine international issues, all with a goal of helping companies succeed in global competition.

  • Information Systems and Technology

    This course teaches students how to participate in an organization’s information systems and information technology (IT) decisions. They learn about the strategic value of information resources, the alignment of IT and business strategies, the role of the IT department in an organization, the performance and process improvements that can result from top-notch information systems, and the ethical use of information resources. Using case studies, students also learn to identify transformational technologies and develop strategies to take advantage of them.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Supply Chain Management

It’s possible to work within a company’s supply chain without a graduate degree, but a supply chain management MBA online program will prepare you for new leadership and managerial roles. Graduates with this degree work with companies to make their supply chains more efficient and oversee the work of researchers, sellers, buyers, transporters, and others involved in the process of fulfilling customer requirements. These jobs typically pay well and require an analytical eye with a knack for communication and technology. Be aware that careers in supply chain management, including the ones we’ve spotlighted below, often overlap and may have several different names.

Logistician

Logisticians, also known as supply chain analysts, analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain using software. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, allocated, and delivered. They also direct the disbursement of materials, supplies, and products; develop business relationships with suppliers and clients; identify areas for improvement; and recommend strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$44,020 $74,750 $120,400

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain managers are similar to logisticians, except logisticians are focused on customer requirements and supply chain managers (SCMs) work with other companies to link major business processes into a high-performance business model. Logisticians are focused on customer requirements; SCMs are focused on competitive advantage. An SCM formulates policies, manages daily operations, and plans the use of materials and human resources.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$44,510 $100,410 $208,000+

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Global Inventory Manager

The global inventory manager is in charge of planning, directing, and coordinating the different activities of a company’s buyers, purchasing officers, and related workers involved in purchasing materials, products, and services. Activities include evaluating suppliers and visiting their plants and distribution centers; attending trade shows, meetings, and conferences to learn about new industry trends; analyzing price proposals and negotiating contracts; and evaluating and monitoring contracts to ensure vendors and suppliers comply with the terms.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$71,450 $121,110 $193,400

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Management Consultant

Management consultants, also known as management analysts, suggest ways that an organization can improve its efficiency, resulting in reduced costs and increased revenue. Most work as consultants or on a contractual basis. Their job includes gathering and organizing information, interviewing personnel and conducting onsite observations, analyzing financial and other data, developing solutions or alternative practices, and recommending new procedures, systems, or organizational changes.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$49,700 $85,260 $154,310

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager

Transportation, storage, and distribution managers direct the movement of goods. They may be in charge of warehouses or fleets of trucks, airplanes, trains, ships, or pipelines—or all of the above. Their goal is for all shipments to be handled quickly, safely, and within budget.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$55,850 $94,560 $160,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBA Degrees in Supply Chain Management

It’s important to go into your online MBA in supply chain management with a financial plan so you’re not caught scrambling once classes are underway. Graduate students can look into Federal Direct PLUS loans, school scholarships, private scholarships, grants, fellowships, personal loans, veterans benefits (if applicable), and employer-sponsored tuition assistance. Contacting the university’s financial aid office is a great place to start; most have financial aid counselors ready to walk you through the process. Visit our financial aid page for more info.

How Much Your Online MBA in Supply Chain Management Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

University of Maryland

54

$1,644

$88,776

Syracuse University

36

$1,683

$60,588

Governors State University

36

$406

$14,616

FAQs About Online MBA Degrees in Supply Chain Management

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in supply chain management?

You probably already know that admission requirements vary based on the school. These are some of the most common admission requirements among the best supply chain management online MBA degrees:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Letter of intent
  • Professional references
  • Transcripts
  • Work experience
  • GRE/GMAT score (may be waived)

Are there quality online supply chain management MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

The short answer is yes. Many MBA programs require a GMAT or GRE test score, but many schools, like Governors University, waive that requirement if applicants show excellent quantitative and analytical skills through academic records or professional experience. Some, like Syracuse University and Johnson & Wales University, don’t require a test score at all.

How long will it take to complete my MBA in supply chain management online?

Your timeline depends on both your personal schedule and the program you choose. Some schools have MBA in supply chain management online programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. Others require two years of full-time study. Still others are part-time only, taking students three to five years to complete.

Can I earn my MBA in supply chain management completely online?

It depends on the program. Governors State University, for example, has everything students need 100% online. Other online MBA degree in supply chain management programs have courses online but require one or more short on-campus residencies to introduce students to the program or to give students the opportunity to apply their skills and network with classmates and faculty.

What’s the difference between an MBA in supply chain management and a master’s in supply chain management?

The main difference between an MBA in supply chain management and a master’s in supply chain management is the specificity of the courses. The MBA option includes general business classes and an opportunity to specialize in supply chain management by taking concentration courses or electives. A master of science in supply chain management will have more classes that are focused on the skills needed for a career in supply chain management, such as data analysis and data-driven management practices, but won’t include as many core business courses.

An MBA offers more flexibility with potential careers and would be best for those who have a strong interest in finances or accounting. The master of science in supply chain management degree may be best for those already working as supply chain professionals and who want to advance their careers within that field or those who have a strong interest in data analysis and data-driven management practices.

Does a master’s in supply chain management sound like the better choice for you? Check out our guide to online master’s degrees in supply chain management.