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Global Connections

By Zach Watson for The Island Eye News

A quick drive from The Citadel over the Cooper River Bridge demonstrates the global connections within the modern world.

According to the South Carolina Ports Authority, about five cargo ships enter Charleston Harbor every day, carrying cargo worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Another example can be found anywhere on America’s interstates, where drivers regularly share lanes with an unknowable number of semis transporting goods from point to point.

 Supply chain management is essential for almost every business or organization.

That’s why The Citadel’s Tommy and Victoria Baker School of Business is working to meet the need by offering a degree in supply chain management, guided by professors who are experts in the field.

What can leaders working in the supply chain management functions do?

 The options are extensive:

  • Forecasting and planning;
  • Purchasing and procurement;
  • Logistics;
  • Operations;
  • Inventory management;
  • Transportation;
  • Warehousing;
  • Customer service.

Not only does the supply chain field offer a wide variety of professions, it also offers business graduates a lucrative range of salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a general/operations manager – a career classification that includes supply chain managers – could expect to earn an average salary of $123,880 in 2019. It’s also one of the most popular positions for the industry, employing nearly 2,300,000 people.

 A few other popular supply chain professions and their average salaries are:

  • Logistician: $74,750;
  • Management Aanalysts: $85,260;
  • Purchasing manager: $128,400;
  • Transportation, storage and distribution manager: $102,850.

The Citadel awarded its first supply chain management degrees to seven cadets during the 2020 virtual commencement. Thanks to the wide variety of curriculum in the Baker School of Business, the graduates were able to seamlessly transition their general business administration studies into the newly developed supply chain management major and earn a more specialized degree.

Two of those graduates are now serving as officers in the U.S. military. Supply chain management is a natural fit for those who are called to serve in the military but who want to enter business later in their careers.

“From my standpoint, supply chain management is probably the major that most quickly translates to either the military or the private sector,” said Robert “Bob” Riggle, Ph.D., head of the Baker School of Business’s Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Management & Economics. “If a cadet wants to major in supply chain and also wants to enter the military, the natural progression of that is to be a supply officer. Then, when they leave the military, they can seamlessly transfer those skills from The Citadel and the military into the private sector for any number of companies.”

Riggle’s expertise comes from years of working in the supply chain. Some of the positions he held prior to becoming a professor included working with CocaCola Enterprises and Naylor Publications and as a consultant for several large American businesses.

Those considering careers in supply chain can clearly see just how vital the field is, with the pandemic affecting almost every industry.

“COVID-19 really exposed the supply chain resiliencies and deficiencies for different companies,” said Riggle. “An easy example of this is something like toilet paper, when demand outstripped supply and it was almost impossible to find – it takes time to get that stuff made and shipped. The shipping process is a critical factor, and that’s why supply chain management – knowing what, when and how to ship something – is so important.”

 For more information about The Citadel’s supply chain management program, contact Riggle at 843-953-6978 or


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