This past academic year was certainly one like no other. Last September we were excited about the launch of our new MS program, engaging with our community on the development of a strategic plan, and looking forward to another year of providing our students with a supply chain educational experience like no other. Then came March 2020 and Grainger Hall froze in time – I had to go into my office recently to get something and the venerable ‘Today in Grainger Hall’ event list was still dated March 13th. The coming academic year will certainly look different as well, and I encourage you to look up UW-Madison’s ‘Smart Restart’ plan online.
Though our methods may be different, we still have a lot on tap for 2020-21, delivering on our mission and vision “To lead in educating, connecting, and inspiring lifelong learners in the supply chain management profession.”
This fall marks our second significant programmatic change in as many years: the replacement of our BBA certificate with a BBA major in supply chain management. Our certificate had academic rigor and a student experience on par with other WSB majors. Designating it as a major rewards students for their efforts, eliminates external confusion, and signals to our community that we are serious about undergraduate supply chain education.
Also this fall, we will welcome the largest class of graduate students in the Center’s history, with a large enrollment in our MS program and with our MBA program holding steady. I’m thrilled with our incoming MS class – we have some recent UW alumni, including one May 2020 graduate from our BBA specialization, other recent undergrads from across the United States, and some great international students. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish, both during their time here and after they graduate.
Lastly, in the 2021 Spring term we’ll be launching a graduate consulting projects course, allowing our students to gain supply chain work experience within their degree. Pairs of students will work on real industry projects throughout the semester. It’s a win for the students as they gain applied supply chain experience, and for the participating companies because they gain additional resources to solve problems and become a foundational experience in our students’ professional journeys in supply chain management. If you are interested in becoming a participating company, please let me know!
One positive outcome of COVID-19 has been that supply chain has finally gotten its due from the business community and from society in general. We look forward to guiding more people on their way into supply chain careers to overcome this challenge, and the ones that lie ahead.