Among its portfolio of academic programs, BSM-Pompeu Fabra University offers a new MSc in Management specialization in Operations and Supply Chain Management. To better understand what this specialization is all about, we had the pleasure of meeting its academic coordinator Professor Jésica de Armas, who explained the specialization’s main features.   


Professor Jésica de Armas is Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) at the Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Before working at UPF, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), after completing other postdoctoral years at the University of La Laguna (ULL). 


What does Operations and Supply Chain Management really mean? 


The world has clearly moved from a manufacturing focus to a more digital and tech orientation. For the operation and supply chain management profession,  this translates into the need of shifting the focus too. In fact, we could definitely say that the era of the logistics dominated by tracks and huge storehouses is about to end leaving space to e-commerce and digital economy. Therefore, the new version of the operation and supply chain manager is someone with technical knowledge and a strategic view. This professional will need to not only coordinate the classical logistics and operational activities of the company, but also to strategically make decisions. This figure will constantly be assessing which one among the many is the most efficient way to satisfy customers’ logistics and operational needs. A task that is becoming every day more challenging due to the increasing trend for  products produced on demand and the various shipping options customers can choose from when buying a product online for instance.


Just to mention some facts, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field is projected to  grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026. Employment growth will be driven by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy. The annual wage for logisticians was  $74,590 in May 2017. 


BSM already seized this opportunity for training technical professionals with a more strategic perspective. In fact, students choosing to specialize in Operations and Supply Chain Management will have first a strong business base that they will earn through the core courses in Statistics, Accounting, Finance and Marketing. Then, they will be able to tackle more technical and quantitative courses. Hence, they will first be required to develop a broad and strategic view of business before entering the technical part required for operation and supply chain managers.


Using Professor De Armas words: Depending on the size of the organization, operations managers oversee the day-to-day operations for an entire business, or they may manage a specific part of the production process. Operations has a more internal company focus relative to supply chain. Operations managers make key decisions on design, production, planning, workflow, and staffing. Supply chain managers instead, work more externally than operations managers. In todays global market, supply chain managers are expected to understand working with suppliers, logistics, and customers all over the world. They make key decisions on suppliers, coordinate purchasing, warehousing, and forecasting. 


Even though these are two different profiles, they require very similar skills and they are very much interrelated. BSM is offering a specialization that prepares students to perform both tasks. Students choosing to obtain this specialization can enter positions such as inventory manager, operations consultant or purchasing manager, just to mention a few of them. 


Why do this specialization at BSM – Pompeu Fabra University? 


Professor De Armas was very clear about this: Nowadays, operations and supply chain are present in almost every company. The proper management of them is one of the keys to obtain good results. This specialization aims to provide this demanding profile in the job market. Therefore, we are dealing with a profile very much in demand in the business world and BSM is trying to fill this gap. 


BSM is filling this gap by offering elective courses addressing the traditional needs of an operation and supply chain manager as well as the needs for a tech oriented business world. To build the basic skills needed, students study Quantitative Methods and Practical Data Science for Operations Managers. To be prepared to operate in a highly technological environment, students can choose to join courses such as Management of Technology based Organizations and E-business Technology and Management. Additionally, they have the opportunity to complete their academic journey with a curricular internship which would give them practical exposure after building a strong academic background.


Another competitive advantage BSM and this particular MSc specialization have is definitely location. Barcelona is currently considered one of the European cities leader in the the field of operations and supply chain management. SIL 2019, eDelivery Barcelona 2019 and InTrade Summit BCN, three big international events in the field of operations and logistics will be held in Barcelona.


For whom is this program designed? 


This is a program designed to train professionals both able to apply and interpret quantitative models, but also capable to see their use within a business environment, therefore this specialization is open to students coming from different academic backgrounds such as mathematics, engineering, economics or business.Mathematicians and engineers understand the math of the model first, but economists and business graduates understand better the business analytics behind them. 


High job market demand, the promise of building a strong quantitative and analytical basis along with the BSM brand recognition makes this MSc specialization a safe bet for the future. 


UPF Operation Management Faculties