Bachelor’s degree in logistics provides students with applied experience

11/21/2018  | 
MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES

When Ball State University built its bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management, program planners did so with the help of business executives who knew the needs of the industry.

Finding qualified logistics professionals may be the most critical need, according to the executives. While there are employees in the field without college degrees, Ball State’s program is designed to prepare graduates to work in areas such as marketing, sales, finance, operations, and customer service, to name a few.

“We’re tasked as being problem solvers every day and having four years of true higher education learning is absolutely critical,” says Nick Hoagland, director of supply chain for FULLBEAUTY Brands and one of several executives who endorse the program.

Earning that degree, which Ball State has offered on its Muncie, Ind., campus for several years, became more doable recently when the program became available online. One of its target audiences is members of the military who are seeking civilian employment.

Pat Rondeau, assistant professor of information systems and operations management, thinks it’s only natural that the degree in logistics should go online since the university has the technology “to bring people together to meet and collaborate.”

“In a lot of companies today you have teams working remotely from multiple locations,” he says.

Students in the online logistics program can study from locations around the globe with no trips to campus required. Core classes provide a foundation in logistics, science, technology, and management. The only time students leave their laptops is to fulfill a required industry internship and a senior capstone project.

Internships can be served with an existing employer or government organization. Megan Mills, residential mechanical business leader for Allegion and a Ball State alumnus, explains that she looks for interns to become full-time employees. “They [internships] are really, truly a three-month job interview for us,” she says.

Cathy Langham, president and CEO of Langham Logistics, advises students to complete two or three internships by graduation.

Made possible by the program’s connections with industry leaders, Senior Capstone Projects place students with a company or an organization to work on a high-level, real-world supply chain assignment. 

Joe Weigel, director of communications and employee engagement for Celadon Logistics, recalled a Ball State student team presenting to his company.

“We had our CEO there and all of the executive management team listening to the presentation,” he says. “That’s something you’re not going to have happen for every university.”

Rondeau says companies today want graduates who can make an immediate impact. He says internships and capstone experiences provide students with “applied experience that they can ¬-not only talk about but that they can also replicate.”

“All of our recent grads have had jobs well before graduation, most of them multiple job offers, some four, five, or six offers,” he says. “If you get that four-year degree, your opportunities are limitless.”

Consider Placement Rate, Salaries

A 100 percent placement rate for Ball State graduates and the fact that median pay for logistics positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, is $75,000 and more than $120,000 for the highest 10 percent of jobs, means the logistics bachelor’s degree deserves a second look.

Logistics Professionals Needed
“The logistics field is hot. If you’re looking for a job today, chances are you’re going to be hired tomorrow because there are not enough professionals out there.”--Thiago Scantamburlo, director of logistics operations, Roche Diagnostics

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