AJIBM  Vol.6 No.6 , June 2016
Closing the Gap in Undergraduate Supply Chain Education through Live Experiential Learning
Abstract: With the supply chain industry suffering from a lack of available managerial talent, U.S. companies are stepping up efforts to recruit qualified and skilled professionals from universities. The supply chain industry will need to fill about 1.4 million new jobs over the next four years, but there are concerns regarding where the talent will come from given that demand greatly exceeds supply. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for supply chain management will increase by 20 percent through 2018, which is nearly twice as fast as the 11 percent average for all industries combined. The Georgia Center of Innovation also reports that the U.S. will be short one million supply chain workers in 2016 alone. Related to the talent shortage, industry has also made clear that they are struggling to evolve their supply chain processes to match business needs. Nearly a third of all supply chain processes are inadequate, according to research from Crimson & Co. In response to these industry demands, Western Michigan University’s Integrated Supply Management Program has placed a strong focus on process management through lean problem-solving techniques. This paper reflects on the industry factors that are currently hampering the process of matching new college graduates with professional positions. It also describes how WMU’s ISM undergraduate program is successfully bridging those gaps and preparing its students by partnering with local businesses on live experiential learning projects.
Cite this paper: Curkovic, S. and Fernandez, N. (2016) Closing the Gap in Undergraduate Supply Chain Education through Live Experiential Learning. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 6, 697-708. doi: 10.4236/ajibm.2016.66064.

[1]   U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) (2012) Fall Enrollment Survey (IPEDS-EF:96-99). IPEDS Spring 2001 through Spring 2011, Enrollment Component; and Enrollment in Degree-Granting Institutions Model, 1980-2010.

[2]   Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey (2015) Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[3]   Pohlen, T.L. (2011) Meeting the Challenge of Educating the Transportation and Logistics Professional. Transportation Journal, 50, 84-90.

[4]   Cecere, L. (2012) Supply Chain Talent: The Missing Link? Supply Chain Insights, LLC.

[5]   (2015) 17th Annual Global CEO Survey: Fit for the Future, Capitalizing on Global Trends. Price Water House Coopers International, Limited.

[6]   (2014) The University of Tennessee. Global Supply Chain Institute, Bending the Chain, Knoxville.




[10]   10 Questions State Legislators Should Ask about Higher Education. Are College Students Prepared to Enter the Workforce?

[11]   Driscoll, E. (2014) What Employers Want from College Grads. Fox Business.

[12]   (2006) Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century Workforce, the Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Society for Human Resource Management, 38. _REPORT_PDF09-29-06.pdf

[13]   Hart, P.D. (2006) How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy?

[14]   Barr, T.F. and McNeilly, K.M. (2002) The Value of Students’ Classroom Experience from the Eyes of the Recruiter: Information, Implications, and Recommendations for Marketing Recruiters. Journal of Marketing Education, 24, 168-173.

[15]   Barrows, H.S. and Tamblyn, R.M. (1980) Problem-Based Learning: An Approach to Medical Education. Springer, New York.

[16]   Bell, S. (2010) Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future. The Clearing House, 83, 39-43.

[17]   DeFillippi, R. and Milter, R. (2009) Problem-Based and Project-Based Learning. In: Armstrong, S.J. and Fukami, C.V., Eds., Sage Handbook of Management Learning, Education and Development, Sage Publications Ltd., London, 344-363.

[18]   Dallimore, E.J. and Souze, T.S. (2002) Consulting Course Design: Theoretical Frameworks and Pedagogical Strategies. Business Communication Quarterly, 65, 86-113.

[19]   Heriot, K.C., Cook, R., Jones, R.C. and Simpson, L. (2008) The Use of Student Consulting Projects as an Active Learning Pedagogy: A Case Study in a Production/Operations Management Course. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 6, 463-481.

[20]   Hmelo-Silver, C.E. (2004) Problem-Based Learning: What and How Do Students Learn? Educational Psychology Review, 16, 235-266.

[21]   Kanet, J. and Barut, M. (2003) Problem-Based Learning for Production and Operations Management. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 1, 99-118.

[22]   Lehmann, M., Christensen, P., Du, X. and Thrane, M. (2008) Problem-Oriented and Project-Based Learning (POPBL) as an Innovative Learning Strategy for Sustainable Development in Engineering Education. European Journal of Engineering Education, 33, 283-295.

[23]   Savery, J. (2006) Overview of Problem-Based Learning: Definitions and Distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1, 9-20.

[24]   Senge, P., Lichtenstein, B., Kaeufer, K., Bradbufy, H. and Carroll, J. (2007) Collaborating for Systemic Change. Sloan Management Review, 48, 44-53.

[25]   Sroufe, R. and Ramos, D. (2011) MBA Program Trends and Best Practices in Teaching Sustainability: Live Project Courses. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 9, 349-369.

[26]   Ramos, D.P. and Sroufe, R. (2015) Leveraging Collaborative, Thematic Problem-Based Learning to Integrate Curricula. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 13, 151-176.

[27]   Rubrich, L. (2010) A3 Problem Solving: What It Is ... and What It Isn’t.