A new degree program in supply chain management at California State University, Long Beach offers students an education in some of the business behind the city’s record-breaking ports and how to handle the management of goods and services along the production line.
Sabine Reddy, a longtime business professor at CSULB with knowledge in economics and finance, is the new director of the master’s program.
The Daily 49er spoke with Reddy about the new degree, her role in the program and what students can expect.
What exactly is supply chain management?
Supply chain management is a discipline in business where you’re looking at how goods get to the consumer all the way from the production and sourcing of the raw materials to making components, shipping, transportation, logistics, and warehousing and distribution. So if you think about Target or some company like that, they buy all sorts of stuff in China… they manage their suppliers in China, tell them what they should make, when they should make it, when they should ship it… They find the best efficient way to get the things here, they monitor that it’s actually being shipped and what it costs and so forth, and then they deal with warehousing and distribution… all the way into their stores.
What inspired you to start this program at CSULB?
The program actually has grown out of an earlier program that the economics department was running called the Masters in Global Logistics… And theirs was very logistics focused and they had a small cohort of students, about maybe 12-15, but they wanted to grow. And so they approached us to see if we wanted to maybe revise the program and sort of re-issue it. So we went back and forth – are we going to revise it or are we going to make something new? And we decided we’d make something new and it is a collaboration between economics and the college of business.
What does your role as the program director encompass?
I have to do with the scheduling of faculty for the classes. I participate in the admission of the students, so I get to review their materials, their statement of purpose, their resume… We do a lot of marketing because it’s a new program so we have to let people know that it’s there. We run information sessions once a month… We are present with our sponsors, industry sponsors. We have an advisory board, for example for our undergraduate program… We represent to them what it is that we want, solicit internships, things like that, work with placement.
How do you think this program will benefits students at Cal State Long Beach?
It is certainly a great preparation for the job market all around us. Given the fact that, the management of the supplies of the stuff that is being used and sold here, about 40 percent of all containerized goods come through the ports of Long Beach and LA that I used in the US. It’s a huge area for managing the process, and there are lots of different jobs such as logisticians, purchasing managers, supply chain manager. So there are many, many positions within supply chain management that our students will be well qualified for. We think it serves a need within the area and the businesses around us.
What is the biggest adjustment for students since it is a new program?
Most of the classes are new so they will be taught for the very first time, especially with that focus, and it always takes a little time until you get the classes just right and the materials just right so that’s for the instructors, and we hope the students help with constructive suggestions. I think that’s pretty much it is the content, we want to find out are we really serving the need, is what we designed really helping the students.