Wayne State introduces MBA concentration in healthcare supply chain management

Can you please share a bit about yourself and your experience? What led to your interest in this subject area?

I teach global supply chain management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business, with a special focus on healthcare. My experience in this area is industry-based. At different points, I owned a clinical research site management organization, a healthcare inventory management company, and a marketing agency focused on healthcare clients. I enjoy connecting with industry professionals and bringing these perspectives to students and alumni through courses and events at Wayne State University.

Can you talk about the role of healthcare supply chain in today’s economy? 

During this COVID crisis, supply chain management plays a critical role in making sure our front-line medical professionals have the personal protective equipment, supplies, and other tools needed to treat COVID patients, and also administer vaccines. Under extraordinary and extremely difficult circumstances, our healthcare providers and their suppliers play a key role in moving our economy and society toward recovery. For many, it is more than a regular job—it is a personal mission to serve our community. 

Why did Wayne State University decide to add a concentration in healthcare supply chain management as an option for MBA students? 

We hosted our first annual Healthcare Supply Chain Forum by partnering with the great people of the Michigan Association of Healthcare Resource and Materials Management (MAHRMM) at the Mike Ilitch School of Business in the fall of 2019, but the focus really came in the last year because of COVID. It was too big to ignore, and our administration was able to move quickly to add new classes and the MBA concentration. 

Are there opportunities for undergraduate students to learn more about healthcare supply chain management?

Yes. The course we have, which covers the broad healthcare supply chain industry, is also offered to undergraduate students. Students have been very excited to learn about this additional career option.

If a student decides to pursue a concentration in healthcare supply chain management, what can they expect from the curriculum?

MBA students take our healthcare supply chain overview class (accelerated 11-week course) in the fall and the healthcare lean six sigma class (accelerated 4-week course) in the winter. Through these courses, students will learn about medical device/pharma production and supply chains, quality management, lean six sigma, healthcare purchasing, logistics, warehousing, transportation, hospital materials management, and disaster preparedness. We will certainly be talking about COVID and what we’ve learned from it for a long time.

What type of career fields can the healthcare supply chain management concentration be applied to?

Students can pursue careers in healthcare purchasing, hospital materials management, transportation, warehousing/distribution, analytics, or project management. We work with hospitals and suppliers to help place students while in school to gain experience and then obtain jobs post-graduation. We have a healthcare industry advisory committee made up of supply chain executives that guide us on the needs of the industry, and give us direction on curriculum and programming. Our Global Supply Chain Management Student Association is run by outstanding undergraduate student leaders who also do a great job hosting career events that connect students to these employers.  

What are the learning options available to obtain the healthcare supply chain management concentration? How flexible is the learning environment for someone who may not be a full-time student? 

Right now, the courses are delivered live online. The classes have a high level of engagement and can be taken from anywhere with a computer and internet connection. This will eventually move into a hybrid format, depending on the COVID situation. In the future, we could visit hospitals, healthcare distribution facilities, etc., while much of the course content would still be delivered dynamically online. These courses are also offered in the accelerated 11-week and 4-week formats to maximize flexibility.

For those interested in learning more, what steps should be taken?

For more information, you can visit I am also happy to answer any questions at [email protected]