WMU ISM program named top 10 in the country for second time in a row

Contact: Stacey Markin
WMU's ISM program is consistently ranked highly on a national scale.

WMU's ISM program is consistently ranked highly on a national scale.

KALAMAZOO, Michigan—Western Michigan University's integrated supply management program is heralding a national accolade that puts it among the top such programs in the country.

The acclaimed WMU program has been ranked No. 9 on Gartner's 2016 list of Top U.S. Supply Chain Undergraduate University Programs. This is the second time in a row that the program has been named among the top 10 in the country.

"Gartner's program rankings are important to the long-term development of our supply chain program," says Dr. Robert Reck, director and co-founder of the program, which was established in 1993. "Supply chain talent is in high demand, and organizations use these rankings to build their recruitment strategies.”

The Gartner report notes that in response to the high demand for supply chain talent, the programs of the top 25 schools on their list have grown 43 percent from 2014 to 2016, reflecting students’ understanding that the supply chain field offers many desirable career opportunities and high placement rates. 

Gartner, the definitive organization dealing with industry supply chains, began ranking universities in 2009 as part of an industry effort to promote the supply chain management field.

Ranking criteria

  •     Industry value (highly recruited schools).
  •     Program scope (students have a broad understanding of industry concepts).
  •     Program size (number of students and professors in a program).

The report highlights the importance of internships and other experiential learning opportunities, particularly in relation to undergraduate programs. Report authors note, "Because far fewer North American students have had paying jobs prior to college, exposure to real professional settings is a must. If you're allocating scarce internship and recruiting resources to a program, you want to know that the program is good at partnering and providing support on internships, and any student you talk to will have had one or more solid professional experiences prior to walking through your door."

WMU was highlighted within the Gartner report for requiring an internship or co-op experience of all students.

"Our students have a variety of opportunities to gain industry experience, from traditional internships to industry consulting, through our Bronco Force program," says Dr. Sime Curkovic, WMU professor of supply chain management. “We are fortunate to have an incredibly strong network of employers who offer meaningful work experiences for our students. And our students are able to deliver a great value to our partners as well.”

In addition, Curkovic says, the WMU program requires several experiential classes to address the critical component of industry experience so central to the field.

"Gartner's methodology included surveying industry leaders to see where they recruit and which programs they hold in high esteem," says Curkovic who collected the data for the ranking. "More than 50 university respondents were also asked to provide information on internships, starting salary, professors and the number of students majoring in the specialty. Gartner also sought to measure the extent to which a school's curriculum aligns with current industry needs."

About the ISM program

WMU's integrated supply management program has been recognized nationally by several organizations and publications for its leadership in preparing students for careers in supply chain management, including a No. 2 ranking by Software Advice for emphasis on technology and quantitative methods, a No. 5 undergraduate program ranking from SCM World, and a No. 9 program ranking by Gartner. Each year, approximately 100 students graduate from the WMU ISM program with nearly all finding positions in the profession. ISM students earn some of the highest salaries among business students, with top students starting at more than $60,000.

To learn more about the program, visit wmich.edu/supplychain.

The complete list

  1. Pennsylvania State University
  2. Michigan State University
  3. University of Tennessee
  4. Arizona State University
  5. Rutgers University
  6. Georgia Institute of Technology
  7. University of South Carolina
  8. The Ohio State University
  9. Western Michigan University
  10. University of Wisconsin, Madison
  11. Texas A&M University
  12. Indiana University
  13. Howard University
  14. University of Illinois
  15. University of North Texas
  16. University of Texas, Austin
  17. Auburn University
  18. Iowa State University
  19. University of Houston
  20. Syracuse University
  21. University of Minnesota
  22. University of Texas, Dallas
  23. Marquette University
  24. Lehigh University
  25. University of Oklahoma

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.