Back in 1999, supply chain and operations faculty and staff in the Poole College of Management were faced with a dilemma: they knew employers wanted graduates with a high degree of experience, yet the rigidity of the classroom model made that impractical.
They also recognized that the industry was integrating the practices of operations, purchasing and logistics, and that tomorrow’s supply chain practitioners needed to understand these disciplines while seeing the bigger picture. They had several advantages when they were kicking around solutions to this problem, one being that they were out-of-the-box thinkers. They were also subscribers to Peter Drucker’s theory of management, which he once described this way:
“Management is a practice, like medicine, and the model should have been the medical school, where the bulk of the most important teaching… is performed by practitioners. Unlike medicine, where you can bring sick patients into the hospital, business education does not allow you to bring an organization into the classroom. You can, however, bring experience in through your faculty and students. Business educators should be out as practitioners where the problems and results are.”
Meet Robert Handfield
Robert Handfield, Ph.D., is the Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at NC State’s Poole College of Management. He established the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative in 2000.
Encouraged by the enthusiastic support of companies with an interest in contributing to both their own bottom lines and the practice of supply chain management, these leaders created the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (SCRC) within the Poole College of Management. Four visionary companies signed on as founding supporters willing to share their resources and their challenges.
Today, numbers tell the story of the SCRC’s success. The SCRC proudly claims 20 supporting companies whose charitable, tax-deductible contributions make possible the SCRC’s program, resources, and dissemination of research and other thought leadership. And since 2000, over 2200 Poole College of Management students, most in the MBA program offered through the college’s Jenkins Graduate School, have completed over 630 research projects. Not surprisingly, Jenkins MBA graduates with a supply chain concentration enjoy a 98 percent placement rate in supply chain related positions.