This year turns out to be the anniversary year of two of the major SCM-related conferences in Europe. First, as summarized by Gyöngyi in her blog, the NOFOMA was held for the 25th time. Second, the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) just celebrated its 20th International Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland this week. I very much liked Mark Pagell’s keynote address. Herein, Mark compared the North American and European systems of training Ph.D. candidates: Both systems have great strengths (i.e., more methodological training in the U.S.; more involvement of faculty members into everyday life in Europe) and great weaknesses (i.e., Ph.D. candidates in the U.S. are students rather than real faculty members; professors in Europe are employer and supervisor at the same time). As part of the conference, several seminars, workshops, special sessions were held (e.g., publishing workshop). I enjoyed the conference and will definitely join the 21st EurOMA Conference in Palermo, Italy in 2014.
You are looking for a business school and you do not know where to enroll? A ranking might help. One of these rankings is from Bloomberg Businessweek. As part of their 2013 Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking, they have now published the top 10 business schools in the area of operations management, an area that focuses on “the processes involved in production and everyday business operations, whether on an assembly line, a supply chain, or even something as common as a movie theater queue”. And these are the top 10 undergraduate business schools for operations management in the U.S.: (1) Pennsylvania (Wharton), (2) Washington (Olin), (3) Carnegie Mellon (Tepper), (4) Worcester Polytechnic, (5) Michigan (Ross), (6) North Carolina State (Poole), (7) North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler), (8) Boston U., (9) Georgia Tech (Scheller), (10) Buffalo. As I have discussed for the case of journal rankings some weeks ago, rankings always have advantages and disadvantages and should, therefore, be handled with care. However, Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking can, at least, provide some indications.
I spent the last couple of days at North Carolina State University to work on a joint research project with my good friend Robert Handfield. I was very impressed by NC State’s Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, an “industry–university partnership dedicated to the development of future supply chain professionals”. Robert and two of his colleagues have published an article to describe how this cooperative works: NC State’s Supply Chain Resource Cooperative educates in the real world (published in Interfaces in 2011). Essentially, it integrates “field-based student course projects with real problems that companies are facing”. The projects are identified by the company, but NCSU narrows the scope and assigns the projects to students. The SCRC’s organizational structure enables projects to be jointly led by SCRC directors and supply chain managers that financially support the SCRC. I believe that this cooperative might become a role model for other industry–university partnerships, as it perfectly combines supply chain theory and practice.
Handfield, R., Edwards, S., & Stonebraker, J. (2011). NC State’s Supply Chain Resource Cooperative Educates in the Real World Interfaces, 41 (6), 548-563 DOI: 10.1287/inte.1110.0584
Being part of Apple’s iTunes Store, iTunes U contains educational audio and video files shared by institutions worldwide. It enables lecturers to create own courses for iPad to be accessed by students. Richard Wilding, Professor of Supply Chain Strategy at the Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Cranfield School of Management, has provided the iTunes U course Supply Chain Management & Logistics: An Introduction to Principles and Concepts. “This course is a collection of enhanced podcasts and videos which provide an introduction to the principles and concepts of logistics and supply chain management. By utilising the material all users will be provided with a foundation of terminology and concepts enabling them to move forward and investigate the topics in more depth.” So, the next time you will see students “playing” with their Apple devices, be sympathetic to them. Maybe they are just accessing a supply chain management course.
Students may not need to learn from PowerPoint slides, if they own a good textbook. But what happens, if a lecture doesn’t follow a textbook? When I was an undergraduate, we were fobbed off by some lecturers with buzzwords and sentence fragments on their PowerPoint slides. We had to learn the 7 advantages and the 6 disadvantages of outsourcing. Sometimes, I even strung together the initial letters of the advantages to memorize all of them for the examination. Sustainable learning? A didactic catastrophe! But how much content should ideally be on slides, if they are used in SCM teaching lessons? One of my former lecturers gave the following answer: “My slides are jam-packed with text. For sure, this is way too much text for a good presentation. But my slides are a hybrid between presentation slides and a textbook. You will like my slides when preparing for the examination.” The lecturer was right. Instead of memorizing disconnected keywords, the slides enabled us to really understand the topic.