Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
As a Supply Chain student at the University of Arkansas, I have made some observations about how students view jobs with a transportation focus. I have seen other students gravitate towards jobs on the consumer-side of the supply chain job market, with many joining large companies like Walmart and Amazon. The university itself has helped instill this feeling in me as well, due to their focus more on the consumer-side of supply chains. There have only been two classes offered to me thus far in my degree plan that I felt truly addressed transportation-side supply chains at all, with them focusing far more on simply teaching us what each mode of transportation is good at and making sure we understand the proper value of modern strategies like intermodal.
An important question to answer before going any further is how I would define a transportation-side supply chain job. When I state this term, I am referring to jobs that focus entirely on moving products from one location to another for a customer. This can be by any mode of transport like rail, road, water, air, or pipeline. This also would include jobs such as ones at J.B. Hunt, BNSF, Transplace, ArcBest, and any other company that fits the criteria. I am also referring to the roles that only someone with a college degree in Supply Chain Management would be expected to fill within these companies.
On the other hand, when I talk about consumer-side Supply Chain I am referring to companies that would have you more focused on serving the needs of retail consumers. This includes jobs like being a vendor that interfaces with a retail chain and making sure that your product category stays stocked as much as possible. These jobs have a narrow focus on a few product categories and are much less focused on how the product will get to the distribution center than someone who works at a transportation company that is purely focused on moving products for the customer.
This seeming bias towards consumer-facing supply chain roles has even been noticed by my thesis advisor, someone who has previously taught the class SCMT 3443 which focused entirely on learning the different forms of transportation and what they each held as a competitive advantage over each other.
This anecdotal evidence was the main inspiration for trying to find if students truly held any specific biases when it came to different modes of transport, what a transportation job might expect of them, or where they might have to live for a transportation job. The first way we tried to gain some answers on how many students were taking transportation jobs was by asking the Career Center here at the University of Arkansas how many students were taking these positions. Unfortunately, they declined to comment on how many students were taking the different job types, leading to the creation of a survey to learn from students themselves what specific feelings they had.
Transportation jobs, student bias, understanding roles, student interest
Mahosky, D. (2021). Supply Chain Student Biases Regarding Transportation Jobs. Information Systems Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/isysuht/8