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Darla Moore School of Business

Operations and supply chain undergrad program climbs to No. 5 in Gartner ranking

June 25, 2020

The Moore School’s undergraduate operations and supply chain program is ranked No. 5 in North America, according to the Gartner Top 25 Supply Chain University Programs for 2020 released on Wednesday. The Moore School’s graduate operations and supply chain program is ranked No. 22 in North America, according to Gartner.

The undergraduate ranking increased eight spots since the 2018 biennial list was released.

“Our emphasis on building both broad perspectives on global supply chain and operations strategies using process perspective as well as deep analytical skills makes our students uniquely competent,” said Sanjay Ahire, co-director of the Moore School’s Operations and Supply Chain Center and professor of operations and supply chain management. “We owe this impressive progress to the vision and incessant efforts by our dedicated faculty to provide cutting-edge skills and competencies to the students as well as provide them comprehensive career mentoring.”

For inclusion in the rankings, the North American universities eligible for the Gartner Top 25 Supply Chain University Programs must offer a four-year undergraduate supply chain degree and either an MBA with supply chain specialization or Master of Science in Supply Chain Management degree. The qualifying programs must offer degrees or specializations that include the words “supply chain”; provide an on-campus or hybrid model (not strictly online); have one completed year of data to share for each program; complete a large, detailed report of the program details.

“Providing a top five supply chain program results from the shared vision of our world-class research and project-focused faculty, our industry-leading corporate partners and our very talented yet hard-working student body,” said Mark Ferguson, the chair of the management science department and the Dewey H. Johnson Professor of management science.

The top 25 universities are ranked according to their program scope, including curriculum and global problem-solving; their industry value, including industry perspectives, internship participation, projects, years of experience, starting salaries and the diversity of their faculty and student body; and their program size, including part-time and full-time enrollment and the number of full-time professors.

Within the three main categories, USC’s supply chain program tied for second-highest in the program scope category and tied for highest among the program size leaders. The Moore School’s operations and supply chain program added three undergraduate courses since the last ranking in 2018, which along with other intentional efforts, contributed to their eight-spot jump in the rankings. The Moore School major has also seen an increase to 700+ enrolled students in 2018-2019 compared to just 100 enrolled students a decade ago. The number of students in the program also contribute to the ranking.

A further measure of its quality, the program boasts the highest salary to student loan debt ratio of all undergraduate majors at USC, according to College Scorecard, a U.S. Department of Education website that utilizes IRS salary and federal debt data to report salary to debt levels for university program graduates across the U.S.

At the Moore School, the operations and supply chain major combines classroom and real-world, experiential learning to produce top-notch graduates. The Operations and Supply Chain Center facilitates students’ real-world experience in strategic partner organizations that include BMW, Coca-Cola Bottling, Continental Tire, Cummins, Delta Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, Michelin, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Siemens, Sonoco, UPS and Walmart.

Each semester, the faculty lead senior student groups who work on capstone consulting projects with Operations and Supply Chain Center partner organizations to optimize their supply chain networks, remove waste and procedural inefficiencies and implement new process strategies. The students present their findings to company executives, and since the projects began more than a decade ago, the student groups have helped the partner organizations achieve more than $275 million in collective recurring cost savings.

Preparing students to design, implement, manage and improve operations, supply chain and business processes, the capstone consulting projects involve end-to-end problem solving, including compilation and detailed analyses of complex data sets that students can interpret and transform into insights to guide decision-making and add value to organizations. As part of a curriculum shift four years ago, the Moore School prepares graduates to leave the school data proficient, analytically capable and functionally based, skills that are crucial for high-value business jobs.

Moore School operations and supply chain students also compete to earn an industry-validated Sonoco-USC Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification which gives students advanced problem-solving skills and the statistical tools needed to effectively lead process improvement projects. More than 1,000 undergraduate and more than 200 graduate students have earned this unique certification through the operations and supply chain program.

All of these strengths have enabled the program to place well-trained talent in several leading employers. Examples of those organizations include 3M, Accenture, Amazon, Bank of America, Boston Consulting Group, BMW, Coca-Cola, Collins Aerospace, Continental Tire, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Manhattan Associates, Mercedes-Benz, McKinsey & Company, Nephron, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rolls Royce, Siemens, Sonoco and Tesla. 

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