CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 17, 2017
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Academics discuss ways to bridge the talent gap

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Business school deans talk about ways companies and academics can collaborate to bring qualified professionals into the supply chain management profession.

During a lively discussion among five university business school deans and audience members that included practitioners, students, and other academics, Brent Williams, associate dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas pointed out that "we need to be omnichannel retailers of our content." In other words, much as retailers deliver information via multiple platforms to consumers, universities must deliver classroom content and information about their supply chain programs to current and prospective students by such means as social media, websites, and other forms of outreach.

In order to recruit interested and talented students into the supply chain profession and, in turn, provide quality workers to companies, academics and practitioners need to develop more strategic relationships, the panelists said. The deans suggested that companies seeking qualified talent should get involved with local schools, offer internships to students, and provide case studies to universities so their students can learn to solve real-life problems. Most importantly, they added, companies should consider investing in supply chain programs by becoming corporate sponsors or contributing money for scholarships.

The panel also discussed how important it is for schools offering supply chain management programs to reach out to high schools and junior colleges to get students excited about all the possibilities a career in supply chain management can offer.

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