How can you be sure that the food you eat is safe or responsibly sourced? What about the medicines you buy over the counter? Or even the clothes that you and your family wear?
Safeguarding supply chains and guaranteeing the provenance of the goods and services that we consume as a society falls to a group of men and women – supply chain and logistics specialists whose job it is to ensure that standards are maintained and that quality remains uncompromised. And it’s not easy.
As trade becomes ever more global and flow of goods between countries increases, supply chain professionals have to negotiate a raft of challenges – from political changes like Brexit, though to armed conflict and natural disasters; all of this against the permanent backdrop of measures to reduce environmental impact and climate change.
Yet there has never been a more exciting or potentially rewarding time to launch a career in this fast-developing sector, says UCD Smurfit assistant professor, Enrico Secchi.
“As consumer demand increases, the number of supply chain jobs is on the rise – significantly more than many other sectors. Supply chain opportunities are expanding from both ends, from global sourcing of goods to distribution, sales and fulfilment.”
And that’s not all. Supply chain management pays well, says Enrico. And there are plenty of opportunities for professional growth.
“Average salaries in Ireland range from €40,000 up to €80,000 and beyond depending on the roles and years of experience. And good graduates can expect to advance up the scale to directorships of things like operations, logistics, procurement or planning, where salaries tip that scale at €100,000 and above.”
The key, he says, is getting an industry-recognised qualification that will position you with top recruiters.
Standing out from the crowd
Enrico is programme director for the MSc in Supply Chain Management, an intensive learning experience that equips participants with the real-world understanding, the industry exposure and the rounded, practical skills to stand out in the job market – and secure positions with leading employers.
“Demand for people with these kinds of certified skills is growing. And our graduates go on to find jobs and placements with some of the biggest players in supply chain management, such as Microsoft, GS1, DHL and others,” he says.
The MSc in Supply Chain Management programme has garnered acclaim from employers and the academic community alike, ranking in the top 30 programmes world-wide
Available in both full and part-time formats to optimise flexibility and impact, the programme delivers both the theoretical foundations and the practical knowledge to “contribute to organisational performance from day one,” says Enrico. And it has garnered acclaim from employers and the academic community alike, ranking in the top 30 programmes world-wide according to global ranking body, Eduniversal.
Real-world skills for real-world opportunities
The MSc in Supply Management is built around a core curriculum that builds rock-solid understanding of supply chain fundamentals like procurement and operations, as well as latest developments such as analytics and environmental sustainability.
The entire learning experience fuses theory with practice and leadership development, says Enrico, so that you can deliver impact from day one.
“From class time with your international and diverse cohort, through to project work to specific training opportunities in things like computer and communication skills, the programme is expertly designed to build the kinds of competencies recruiters demand – in multi-cultural leadership, teamwork, negotiation, project management and more.”
To prepare you for the workplace, the programme integrates real-world industry exposure through site visits, interaction with expert speakers and a hands-on consulting project that sees you address a real business challenge posed by a UCD Smurfit industry partner.
“The project work not only gives you a chance to put these developing competencies into practice,” says Enrico. “It is a chance to showcase your complex problem-solving capabilities and your capacity to think creatively to a potential employer.”
I love the experiential learning environment - everything is anchored to the real job market and industry
Tanvi Deshpande from India is currently completing the programme. The hands-on learning involved in the project work is a particular bonus, she says.
“I love the experiential learning environment, not only within the MSc but across the school in its entirety. Everything is anchored to the real job market and industry, with real-life case studies and the challenge of solving actual industry problems. It’s this hands-on, practical dimension that makes the Smurfit graduate a standout in the market, I think.”
Yi Zing Tzeng from China agrees: “The different case studies and simulation exercises made me understand the theoretical SCM concepts and increased my inferential ability to tackle future supply chain issues at the workplace. But I’m most looking forward to my summer consulting project with a company which will give me hands-on experience to solve real-world supply chain issues and simultaneously expand my professional and international network.”
Getting you job-ready
On completing the MSc in Supply Chain Management, Smurfit graduates have access to a broad diversity of career services to help them secure a top job, says Enrico.
From determining what kind of role best maps to your aptitudes and aspirations, to writing your CV and nailing the job interview, the Smurfit team are dedicated to smoothing the transition from study to employment. And with more than 78% of graduates in jobs within six months of leaving the programme, the odds are well stacked in your favour, Enrico says.
The career office also provides an excellent platform to connect with 80,000+ business alumni spread across the world in various industries – a world-class mentor-mentee programme that helps you forge ties with former and current UCD students and expand your network.
“We draw on Smurfit’s extensive ecosystem of industry leaders, partner organisations and alumni to organise numerous recruitment events and activities including dedicated supply chain careers fairs where top employers come to UCD Smurfit specifically to hire our graduates and students.”
Michael Sixl from Germany walked into a job with Deloitte on graduating from the programme and is now a senior consultant in strategy and operations. Recent graduate, Dhanashree Kadulkar, currently works for DHL in Ireland. Both attribute their professional success to the programme: “Smurfit provides a professional environment for the candidate, challenging you to continuously apply or relate concepts you learn in school to real-life projects in business.”
Next-generation, global problem solvers
The Smurfit MSc in Supply Chain Management in an opportunity to develop into a well-rounded professional, with the skills and the confidence necessary for tackling the complex problems faced by modern global organisations, says Enrico.
Rather than just learning a limited set of concepts and techniques, he says, you will be encouraged and pushed to become a lifelong learner and to independently face the rapid pace of changes that characterise modern supply chains.
“If you are passionate about the many issues faced by modern, globalised economies and are looking for a rewarding and challenging experience, do not hesitate to inquire about our programme and to consider a career in supply chain management,” says Enrico.
“We have had successful graduates coming from a wide variety of backgrounds, from humanities to engineering, as well as varying degrees of work experience. The world needs responsible and courageous leaders who will reshape global supply chains to face the many challenges in front of us.”
If you are thinking about a springboard to start your career or a jump-start to the next level, contact the UCD Smurfit School to discuss the opportunities the MSc in Supply Chain Management could open to you.
The UCD Smurfit School is ranked 23rd in the Financial Times' ranking of leading European Business Schools and is the only business school in Ireland, and one of an elite group of schools worldwide, to hold the "triple crown" of accreditation from three centres of business and academic excellence: EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. UCD Smurfit School’s alumni communities include more than 84,000 professionals around the globe in 35 international chapters.
Applications are now open for the master in supply chain management programme which begins in September. Learn more about the programme here.