Preparing to connect the weakest link in the trade chain with educated and skilled manpower.
--BY KRISHANA PRASAIN
From manufacturing companies to trading houses, systematic supply management plays a crucial role in the flow of finished goods to the customers. Understanding the importance of establishing an academic programme to generate skilled manpower in this field of business, Presidential Business School (PBS) is starting an MBA in Supply Chain Management for the first time in Nepal.
Affiliated to Westcliff University, USA, PBS introduced the programme to teach students how to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage in terms of managing the supply and demand of products.
“The graduates of the MBA in Supply Chain Management will be able to analyse and manage the associated risks to provide assurance of finished goods and services to the retailers and customers,” says Laxman KC, Executive Director of PBS. According to him, the programme focuses in channelising processes from product development, sourcing, production to logistics as well as the information systems required to coordinate these activities in the best ways possible.
Kalpana Gurung, director of Academic Affairs at PBS says that the college has been introducing new MBA programmes on a timely basis. “Observing the new market trends, we have been introducing new concentrations in MBA since 2017 intake such as Supply Chain Management, e-Business Management and Organizational Management,” she says. PBS students who have enrolled in the MBA programme in the spring intake of 2017 will be studying the Supply Chain Management course.
“Supply chain management covers the overall process between production of goods and services to supplying the market. This includes storage of raw materials, inventory management and making the goods and services available to the consumers,” she mentions, adding, “We introduced the course observing the growing trading business and gradual growth of manufacturing activities in the country.”
PBS Executive Director KC clears the misconception people have about the supply chain management programme. “They think the programme is similar to sales and marketing which is not true,” he says. “This course in fact is different as the programme specialises in the study of the movement and storage of raw materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption based on efforts of multiple business organisations,” he adds.
The overall supply chain management process includes designing, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities that targets on creating net value, leveraging logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring the performance. It also deals with getting competitive advantages and provides value added services to customers.
Why Supply Chain Management?
Most of the manufacturing industries in Nepal at present import raw materials to produce different products from various countries. Limited dry port space, frequent strikes and poor road infrastructures create big problems in the supply of raw materials. Similarly, natural disasters sometimes create difficulties in the transportation of the finished goods to the market. “So it is very important to manage the overall supply chain for the proper availability of raw materials and to maintain a smooth flow of finished goods,” states KC.
KC says that it is important for producers and suppliers to have a comprehensive know-how on how to make the availability of goods and services as fast as possible by minimising the cost of production in order to compete in the market. Foods and beverages, for example, have a short shelf life, and the producers have to bear a huge loss if such products do not reach the market on time. “The improper management particularly of food and beverages can create question marks over brand images as well,” he mentions. “The fuel crisis we have been facing many times over the years is also primarily due to improper management in terms of supply, distribution and storage,” he adds.
He sees higher production costs as one of the mains reasons behind Nepali products being less competitive in the global market. “The higher production cost is due to the fact that Nepali producers have not been able to manage the supply chain efficiently. The course is aimed at producing skilled human resources that can manage the supply of goods and services properly,” he says.
The scope of conventional management courses has become limited to meet the needs of the present day with its diversifying market structure. The major objective of the programme is on the overall process of maximizing customer value to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage by emphasising on product development, sourcing, production, and logistics and also information systems required to coordinate the overall activities.
According to Gurung, Westcliff University already has a concentration course in supply chain management and the institution has been helping in developing the curriculum. “We requested them to develop a course suitable for the context of Nepal,” she informs.
About the Programme
MBA in Supply Chain Management is a concentration course of 12 credits. The programme includes courses such as Managerial Communication, Managerial Accounting, Organizational Behavior, Data Analysis and Business Intelligence, Financial Management, Marketing Management, Human Resource Management, Managerial Accounting, Operations Management, Managing Information System and Technology, Organizational Leadership, Business Research Methodology, Entrepreneurship and New Ventures, Business Law. Similarly, Introduction to Supply Chain Management, Purchasing and Inventory Management, Transportation and Logistics Management, Supply Chain Risk Management, Strategic Management in a Globalized Economy and Applied Method of Capstone are also taught under the programme.
According to Gurung, students of the2017 intake will be specialising in the supply chain management course in 2018.
The college provides orientation classes before joining the concentration classes so that it will be easy for the students to make a decision while selecting the course.
According to KC, students are showing their interest in the programme. “We are approaching the big corporate houses for partnerships as well. We can assure students that they will get jobs upon the completion of the MBA .
The college has a dual faculty system. One is the university faculty and another being the college faculty. The college will invite highly experienced professionals who have worked in the field of supply chain management to share their knowledge. “University professors from USA will also provide their inputs in this regard,” Gurung shares.
The teaching/learning method of the college is research oriented. Similarly, the course of study is updated every three years. The college also has library information research network (LIRN) facilities where the students can get free access to a large number of scholarly articles for their research.
Since MBA is a multidisciplinary course, graduate students from any academic stream can join the programme except from Bachelors of Nursing. Student need to secure a 45 percent at graduation or a minimum 2.0 GPA. PSB conducts entrance exams via the graduate management admission test (GMAT) format and conducts personal interview.
The college admits students in two intakes over spring and fall with 35 students in each intake. The college takes admissions in July/August for fall and in January/February for spring intake.
Fee structure and Scholarship
The total fee for the two-year MBA in Supply Chain Management is Rs 615,000. The college is providing two types of scholarships. “We provide scholarships during admission on the basis of scores obtained at undergraduate level and entrance exam,” informs Gurung. Similarly, the batch topper will also get a scholarship where the student receives a tuition fee waiver for the next trimester.
The duration of the MBA in Supply Chain Management is 24 months.
There is an MBA capstone in the American education system. Capstone is a major requirement for graduation in te MBA and is a stimulation course. In te MBA capstone students need to apply all the theoretical knowledge obtained from the start of their course. The capstone is graded by professors from Westcliff University and PSB. Thesis is optional after finishing te MBA capstone. “MBA capstone is three times more rigorous compared to the thesis,” says Gurung.
PBS located at New Baneshwor runs classes from 6:30am to 9am from Monday to Friday while there are extra classes on Saturdays.