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Blazing a Trail

Someone must be the first to veer off the established route.

Blazing a Trail

Someone must be the first to veer off the established route.

In all great accomplishments and discoveries, someone must be the first to veer off the established route and strike out in a bold, new direction.

In the world of supply chain management, the trailblazers were Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business faculty. They created one of the first programs in teaching and research and laid the groundwork that propelled MSU’s supply chain management program to #1 in the U.S. News and World Report rankings since 2012.

Alumni support helped build the necessary momentum, establishing three endowed chair positions in MSU’s Department of Supply Chain Management at critical junctures.

But the trailblazing is far from over. The department’s leadership in opening the Midland Research Institute for Value Chain Creation is a new success marker along MSU’s more than 60-year journey in supply chain. In short, MSU’s early leadership has become a driving force that is revitalizing business in Michigan and influencing how supply chain is practiced and taught worldwide.

MSU is a world leader in scope and balance, says David Closs, the John McConnell Chair and department chairperson, who earned his Ph.D. in the department.  He is also a leading author and presenter of world-class logistics and supply chain capabilities and applications, and took part in a 2012 White House supply chain panel on sustainability.

“Our perspective is very broad as we consider the supply chain system from end to end, and at the same time keeping all the functions in balance. We train our students to have a broad, highly integrated approach,” he says.

This has placed MSU supply chain graduates in great demand in business and industry as well as in higher education. The 2012 graduating class boasted a 95 percent placement rate.

Closs says the department’s reputation is often summed up this way: “If you came from MSU supply chain you never get questioned; if you are not from MSU supply chain you never have the answers.”

Author: Lois Furry