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About Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University

Supply Chain Management has a rich history at Syracuse University, who is home of the nation's first supply chain management program. In 1919, at the time of the founding of Syracuse University's College of Business, a "specialization" in Traffic and Transportation was offered to SU students. In 1920, a local industrialist and founder of the Franklin Automobile Company, provided an $80,000 endowment for the H. H. Franklin Chaired Professorship in Transportation. In 1921, SU's College of Business introduced majors, one of which was Transportation. The transportation curriculum consisted of 16 different courses.

Since 1949, the Harry E. Salzberg Memorial Program, held at Syracuse University, has been presenting Salzberg Medallions to individuals and companies in recognition of outstanding achievement in or contributions to the fields of transportation, logistics, and supply chain management. The Salzberg Medallion has come to be recognized as one of the most prestigious awards in the field of transportation and supply chain management. The Harry E. Salzberg Memorial Program is made possible by a grant made to Syracuse University by Murray M. Salzberg '37 BS, honoring his father's distinguished career in transportation.

The Salzberg Program is a central component of the Whitman School of Management's program in Supply Chain Management which combines rigorous course experiences with exceptional opportunities for student involvement in the professional transportation and supply chain management communities - spearheading student participation in professional associations, internships, competitions, and corporate visits.

Some more recent historical events include:

  • 1969: Professor Theodore Wallin begins 27-year leadership role in the Franklin and Salzberg programs, strengthening ties with industry and broadening professional opportunities for students.
  • 1972: The Transportation major is renamed as Transportation and Distribution Management.
  • 1987: The Whitman School establishes its chapter of APICS-The Educational Society for Resource Management, recognized globally for its knowledge and expertise across the supply chain for manufacturing and service industries. In addition to varied opportunities to interact with resource practitioners, the chapter offers educational and financial support for professional certification.
  • 1988: Alumnus Robert H. Brethen, Chairman and CEO of Phillips Industries, establishes the Robert H. Brethen Institute to create and disseminate knowledge that improves the management of operating systems.
  • 1989: The September issue of Transportation and Distribution Management includes Syracuse University in an unranked list of the top 7 logistics programs in the country.
  • 1995: Ranked as the 15th best transportation and logistics program in a study published by the Journal of Business Logistics.
  • 1998: The major of Transportation and Distribution Management is renamed as Supply Chain Management and the current curriculum is introduced.
  • 2003: The September issue of World Trade includes Syracuse University in an unranked list of 15 logistics "Programs at the Head of the Class."
  • 2005: Ranked as the 10th best supply chain management program in a study published in the September issue of Supply Chain Management Review.
  • 2007: Undergraduate program receives blanket waiver for CTL certification from AST&L. Students who take qualifying courses can apply and receive their Certification in Transportation and Logistics.
  • 2009: Listed as one of the top 15 programs in operations by The Princeton Review's "Student Opinion Honors for Business Schools." The results are published in the April issue of Entrepreneur.
  • 2009: Ranked as the 9th best U.S. supply chain program in a study by AMR Research. Ranked 1st in the research area of risk management and 3rd in the research area of sustainability.
  • 2009: Hosts the 4th annual Behavioral Operations Management Conference.
  • 2010: Ranked as the 17th best operations management program in the undergraduate specialty rankings by Business Week.
  • 2010: Hosts the 6th annual conference on Integrated Risk Management in Operations and Global Supply Chains.
  • 2011: Ranked as the 26th best operations management program in the undergraduate specialty rankings by Business Week.
  • 2011: Ranked as the 16th best supply chain undergraduate program in a study by Gartner.
  • 2011: Ranked as the 6th best supply chain masters program in a study by Gartner.
  • 2012: Ranked as the 25th best supply chain graduate program in US News & World Report.

Frequently Asked Questions

See some of the frequently asked questions on the Supply Chain industry and our curriculum.

What is supply chain management?

A supply chain is two or more parties linked by a flow of goods, information, and/or money. There are parts of a supply chain within organizations (e.g., flow between sanding and painting departments) and between organizations (e.g., Intel and Dell). Supply chain management, then, is the management of flows. Supply chain management is also known as logistics management, though some people argue that there are differences.

Why is supply chain management important?

Two main reasons – money and opportunity. In the US about 10 percent of gross domestic product, or almost $1 trillion, is spent on supply chain activities. Advances in information technology (IT) and the expanding IT infrastructure are introducing new possibilities to improve service and efficiencies, and given the amount of money at stake, the opportunities are high. Some people view the IT tools that underlie supply chain management as the backbone of e-commerce.

Is supply chain management for me?

Characteristics that tend to match well with the area are: (1) tolerant of change, (2) enjoy problem solving, (3) interested in information technology, (4) strong analytical and people skills.

What are the requirements for the major?

See the details for degrees in Supply Chain Management.

Should I select supply chain management as a single major, or incorporate into a double major program?

With the exception of students who have a deep interest in the field, we recommend combining SCM with a functional major (e.g., accounting, finance, marketing, MIS). If you plan your courses wisely, you may double major with the same total credits as a single major program. As you plan your program, be aware that you cannot double count courses between two majors.

What type of jobs do students get, and what are the career paths? 

Visit our Career Services Center for more information, or visit our SCM career page.