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Appalachian’s Walker College of Business expands curriculum to meet growing demands of industry in supply chain management and data analytics

By Haley Childers

BOONE—Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business will offer two new degree programs to meet a growing demand by businesses and organizations for graduates with technological skills in supply chain management and data analytics.

The programs, a Bachelor of Science Business Administration (BSBA) in Supply Chain Management and a Master of Science (MS) in Applied Data Analytics, were unanimously approved by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors during its spring session in April. The bachelor’s degree will be offered beginning this fall. The master’s program will be offered beginning in spring 2017.

“These programs will serve a growing demand, both by industry and by our students, to fill an existing knowledge gap,” said Dean Heather Norris. “The Walker College is preparing graduates for productive careers in highly sought-after fields.”

Students wishing to pursue one of these programs must officially change to a 2016-17 or later course catalog and must meet all requirements in that catalog. Interested students should consult with their advisor or contact the Walker College’s Academic Advising Center at 828-262-2700.

MS in Applied Data Analytics

As organizations increasingly rely upon both structured and unstructured large-scale data for operational and strategic decision-making, they must have employees who possess the requisite skills. To help bridge the gap between demand and skills, Appalachian will offer a Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts a 24 percent increase in demand for jobs with data analytics skills over the next eight years.

The 36-hour degree program is designed to provide students with the technical skills not only to work with data, but to do so within the business context. The program also will develop business professionals who understand and can apply data analytics concepts, techniques and tools to promote effective organizational decision-making and problem-solving. Graduates of the program will have an integrated knowledge of business and analytics concepts, approaches and tools.

“Established research centers and relationships with companies through Appalachian will provide opportunities for students to work with the business community on projects,” said Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Sandy Vannoy. “This will allow students to learn firsthand how to apply knowledge gained through the curriculum in a real-world setting.”

The new program offers concentrations in supply chain analytics and sustainability analytics. Students wishing to pursue a more general approach to the degree may choose an interdisciplinary track.

Students will gain understanding of working not only with data but also important domestic and global policy initiatives that emphasize the importance of understanding, collecting and analyzing data in specific contexts. For example, through the program concentrations, students will learn how to apply analytical skills in the context of recognizing and developing supply chain and sustainability strategies and implementing measures for improved organizational performance.

BSBA in Supply Chain Management

The Department of Computer Information Systems and Supply Chain Management (CISSCM) in the Walker College of Business will provide Appalachian students the opportunity to major in supply chain management. Previously, the department had offered the curriculum as a minor.

The major is designed to prepare professionals who can contribute to organization success through various aspects of supply chain management, including procurement, sourcing, logistics, manufacturing, distribution and quality management.

“As companies increasingly focus on supply chain management as a way not only to reduce costs and improve profits but also expand into international markets, they are realizing that supply chain management is an integral part of overall strategy,” said Department Chair Dawn Medlin.

With the increasing complexity and globalization of supply chains, the demand for supply chain professionals is growing, and many industries are reporting significant shortages in talent. Appalachian’s BSBA in Supply Chain management will prepare students to help fill these economic needs.

Required courses will include Principles of Supply Chain Management, Six Sigma and Quality Management, Global Supply Chain and Logistics, and Strategic Procurement and Global Sourcing. Students may also select courses including Supply Chain Technologies in a Global Environment, Analytical Models for Supply Chain Management, Project Management, Database Management, Risk Management, Human Resource Management, Managing Distribution Channels and Business to Business Marketing. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above in the Supply Chain Management major.

For more information about all degrees at Appalachian, visit