FYI: This is how Harvard thinks you should negotiate an internship or job offer (not bad). Do I think students should negotiate an INTERNSHIP or FULL-TIME offer (i.e., a higher salary)? Yes, since some orgs are offering students 20-30% below market value (but only if you know how to negotiate). The avg supply chain internship is $44,918/yr, or $21.6/hr. People on the lower end, bottom 10%, make $37K/yr ($17.80/hr), while the top 10% makes $54K ($25.96/hr).

Over half our students are making over $20/hr. I firmly believe the program avg is around 20-22/hr. You can work in food customer service for $16/hr. Fed Ex is hiring manual part time laborers for 22.50/hr. You can collect unemployment & make around 16 per hour. Why would any company want to pay 20-30% below avg?  
Should college grads negotiate a job offer (i.e., a higher starting salary)? Yes, but only if you know how to negotiate. I do have students that get offers in the $50K-$60K range & many successfully negotiate $60-70K. That is a 10-30% bump before you even start! Many people have to work a few years to get that bump.

Our supply chain program avg is $64K. You need to position yourself within that context. Are you above avg? Why? And, does this org want someone that is above avg? Probably. If someone asked me what the avg WMU ISM student looked like, I might say: they have around a 3.3 – 3.4 GPA, 2-3 internships, a very relevant minor like Business Analytics, etc. So what if you have a 3.1 GPA & only one internship? It’s OK! You can still get the best jobs out there! Maybe you interview great, maybe you really connect w/ the corporate culture, maybe you have stronger soft skills, etc. What if you have a 2.7 GPA & have to take a job with a mom & pop 3PL for $48,600? What’s wrong w/ that?! Yes, there might be consequences for not getting more experience, for not having a higher GPA, for not having a BA minor, etc., but, it is America. You get 2nd+ chances.

Also, the top 20% in our program are getting offers 64K-78K from the F500 types. Not all orgs can compete against these offers & try not to focus too much on $. The $ will come no matter what if you have a challenging job. Try to make an assessment based on things beyond $. I know it is hard to do but you have to think long-term, & long-term the $ will come.

The most important part of your long term earning potential is not what your starting salary is, but what your resume will look like 3-5 years from now. In other words, what will you accomplish & what will you be doing in your first job during the first 3-5 years of your career? An offer for $80K might kill you long term if all you did is sit in a cubicle all day & buy CommodityX. You might stop learning & growing professionally in that kind of job. LEARN!

Hottest MBA Degree Now? Supply Chain Management. That darn MBA degree still has a great ROI!…“Over their lifetime, an MBA grad can expect to earn $3M more than someone with only a bachelor’s.” Note, if you read this article about an MBA SCM degree, it sounds a lot like our undergrad BBA SCM degree.

When is the right time for grad school? The avg age is 33. I find the age stat to not be too meaningful. For anyone <33, you will likely be the first centurion generation. That means you will live to 100 & have a 60+ year work career. Just remember, the older you get, the lesser the chances of starting &/or finishing grad school.

Great ROI!?…
At about 98% of universities that offer MBAs, grads typically made more money 2 years out of school than they had borrowed. That stands in contrast to law schools, where roughly 6% of programs had grads w. higher median earnings than debt in the same time frame.

Hottest MBA Degree Now? SCM

Forget Finance. SCM Is the Pandemic Era’s Must-Have MBA Degree.

Note, I think the MBA route requires careful thought.

Most of our students start their careers in a job rotation for 1-3 years ( If I was 25 & just came off of a job rotation, I would start thinking about a grad degree (part time & let my employer cover it).

Of course, do what is rewarded in the culture of your org. Look at your boss’s resume & your boss’ boss’ resume ( In general, I would not do a general MBA or even an MBA w/ a SCM concentration (especially if I had an undergrad in SCM). I like certs associated w/ ISM, APICS/ASCM, CSCMP, etc., but I suspect that I would not actually learn much from the process of getting certified (assuming I had an undergrad in SCM). These certs however would externally validate you as a subject matter expert & that is worth a lot in industry (especially if you are trying to get your foot in the door for a SCM job & do not have a SCM background). Many of my SCM students go on to get these certs & they often say they have no regrets, but they also say they did not learn a ton. 

I would consider a degree in something that is quicker than the traditional 12 classes (i.e., a mini MBA or MS). I would also get it in something I am weak in & is likely to be important. So as of 2021, what would I do? I would do something like a mini MBA or MS (9 classes, not 12) at a high profile SCM school (i.e., Big 10, massive network) in “Digital” SCM (assuming I was weak in this area).

Great read by Mr. Daniel Stanton:



Dr. Sime (Sheema) Curkovic, Ph.D.,
Professor, Operations/Supply Chain, Lee Honors College Faculty FellowWestern Michigan University, Haworth College of BusinessKalamazoo, MI 49008-5429 | 269.267.3093 |
The Western Way: “Better, faster, cheaper”
WMU: #1 in MI for earnings by graduates
Sample Lectures: What is SCM?

WMU…One of nation’s best undergrad SCM programs (Gartner); 2nd in technology (SoftwareAdvice); 2nd in top global talent (SCM World)


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