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A Successful Supply Chain Management Career: What Skills You Should Learn at the University?

Supply chain management is a crucial aspect of modern-day business operations, but it's a complex field that requires a deep understanding of a wide range of disciplines. Unfortunately, many supply chain management professionals find that their university education didn't adequately prepare them for the challenges they face in the real world. Here are a few key things that supply chain management professionals often wish they had learned at university.

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Image author: fauxels

The importance of data analysis

Supply chain management professionals often find that they could have benefited from a stronger background in data analysis. The importance of making data-driven decisions in real business is often crucial as it allows them to run business operations efficiently and profitably. Thus, understanding how to work with large sets of data and how to use data to inform decision-making is critical when studying supply chain management.

Hands-on experience

While universities can provide a strong foundation in the theory of supply chain management, there's often no real-world experience. Supply chain management professionals often wish they had had more opportunities to work on real-life projects while they were still in school.

One way of gaining hands-on experience during studies is learning with business simulations. Real-time processed business simulations that illustrate the end-to-end process from purchases to customer deliveries are particularly effective at providing an authentic view on the practical work of supply chain professionals and their crucial role in creating cost-efficient business processes.

Soft skills and networking

Networking is critical in any field, but it's particularly important in supply chain management. Being able to communicate effectively with team members, suppliers, and customers is critical to ensuring the smooth operation of the supply chain. Supply chain management professionals often wish they had learned more about how to build and maintain professional relationships, both inside and outside of their organization.

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Image author: Kampus Production

Operating on international markets

The global nature of modern business means that supply chain management professionals must have a deep understanding of various markets that have different demands, cultures and business practices. Supply chain management professionals often wish they had learned more about the complexities of international trade and how to navigate the various regulations and customs that are involved.

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Image author: Tom Fisk

While university education can provide a strong theoretical foundation in supply chain management, it's important to keep in mind that there are many aspects of the field that can only be learned through practical experience. Modern technologies provide multiple ways for providing students with immersive, hand-on experiences in the classroom environments. One of them is business simulations. They create an immersive, close to reality environment, where students can get experience by running virtual companies, solving challenges and seeing how their actions impact overall results and the competitive situation in the common market.

Learn more about the ways to embed necessary skills for future supply chain professionals with RealGame business simulations.

This text was created by the RealGame Business Simulation team.

RealGame is a Finnish business simulation provider. RealGame creates simulations based on decades of experience and latest academic research. Business simulations by RealGame are created by educators for educators with a purpose of providing hands-on experiences and an understanding of how supply chain operations evolve continuously, hour by hour. RealGame is unique in that it has a clock-driven operational mode, which allows for generating transaction-specific data for business analysis and strategic planning.

Please cite this as:

RealGame (2023). A successful supply chain management career: what skills you should learn at the university? , Retrieved [Date], from


Dittman , P. D. (2022, May 16). Five core competencies every supply chain manager should master. Inbound Logistics. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from

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Wang, B., & Ha-Brookshire, J. E. (2018). Exploration of digital competency requirements within the fashion supply chain with an anticipation of industry 4.0. International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, 11(3), 333-342

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