WMU supply chain program named top program for 13th straight year

Contact: Stacey Anderson

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's integrated supply management program recently ranked No. 14 on national researcher Gartner's list of Top 25 U.S. Supply Chain Undergraduate Programs. This distinction places it within the top tier of programs nationwide—an honor that WMU has enjoyed since 2009, and which celebrates the exceptional caliber of the program.

Western's high standing on the list places the University among elite programs such as University of Arkansas, University of Tennessee, Northeastern University, Pennsylvania State University and others. The ranking is released biennially and considers program size, a program's scope and its industry value as a highly recruited school. At No. 14, WMU Haworth is the top school in Michigan on the list.

“Our program's continued ranking as the best supply chain program in Michigan and one of the top programs in the nation is a testament to our mission to provide students with an experiential and real-world-focused learning environment,” says Dr. Marcel Zondag, director of the program and associate professor of marketing. “We are confident that recent program innovations will keep our curriculum relevant in the post-COVID-19 economy so that we can continue to deliver a world-class supply chain management education.”

Notably, WMU’s own career outcome data from 2020-21 shows that 98% of students were employed or in graduate school within three months of graduation and median salary crested $65,000, with many students commanding top salaries for entry-level positions.

“Entering the WMU ISM program was one of the best decisions I made when starting my professional development journey” says Hanna Downs, team lead, facilities programs and engagement, for electric vehicle and technology company Rivian Automotive Inc. “The program ensures you leave WMU highly prepared to enter the workforce, with the confidence that you would be able to contribute at your new employer. One of the program’s strengths is ensuring its students leave with a network across many industries, as well as a continued support system. I was honored to have been actively involved in the program, awarded scholarships and recognition awards, which only allowed me to excel further. Giving back to a program and the university that gave me so much is one the easiest things I’ll ever be asked to do.”

Supply chains have consistently been in the spotlight as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the challenges inherent in supply chain management and pointed out the need for professionals in the field to oversee many areas, including supply chain risk management.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought the importance of strategic supply chain management into sharp focus for us all,” says Dr. Kelley O’Reilly, chair of the Department of Marketing. “From a business perspective, a well-managed supply chain is vital as it can significantly reduce a company’s operating expenses, which helps to strengthen profits. When supply chains are highly efficient, that efficiency extends into every aspect of the chain, from idea creation to the marketing of the final product.”

Gartner ranking methodology

Three factors are each given weight in how undergraduate programs are evaluated by Gartner as part of the listing of Top 25 U.S. Supply Chain Undergraduate Programs.

Program size (20%)

The size of the program is considered, including full-time and part-time students and the number of full-time faculty members.

Program scope (40%)

The specific curriculum at the institution is analyzed. Western has an advantage in offering an extensive supply chain management curriculum with more credit hours than many other institutions. As curricula become more universal across schools, skills in global problem solving and critical thinking help students stand out and rise to the top.

Industry value (40%)

This is an area where WMU Haworth shines. Industry value assesses how employers, alumni and leaders in supply chain rate the top institutions, looking at internships, experiential projects, diversity of student body and faculty, starting salary for graduates and the brand value of the school within the industry. WMU’s highly experiential focus in its curriculum, internship requirement and strong hiring partnerships catapult it above all schools in the state of Michigan.

“For me, this ranking means that our program offers a best-in-class education—and we are committed to continuing to do so,” says Dr. Sime Curkovic, professor of supply chain management. The industry reputation of our program means our graduates have access to great career opportunities. With continued support from industry, alumni and friends of the program, we can take supply chain management at WMU Haworth to the next level.”

About WMU's 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. WMU's curriculum combines engineering, information technology, logistics, supply chain and business education. The program includes student consulting projects for companies, which give students experience in solving real supply chain challenges. In addition, internships are required for all students, which improve the job readiness of WMU supply chain graduates. The WMU supply chain program was established in 1993. The WMU Center for Integrated Supply Management was founded in 2014 by the Haworth College of Business and convenes resources for students and employers in the supply chain space.

Visit wmich.edu/supplychain for more information on the program.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.