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Earning a Graduate Degree at ILE

Intermediate-level education students now can earn a master’s degree in supply chain management and logistics from the University of Kansas while they attend the Army Command and General Staff College.

On 12 June, 10 logistics officers and 1 international officer graduated from both the University of Kansas (KU) School of Business and intermediate-level education (ILE) at the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC). They were the first officers to take advantage of a new opportunity for ILE students to expand their future potential with a new specialized graduate degree in supply chain management (SCM) and logistics.

When Did the SCM Degree Program Begin?

The key organizations involved in developing the new degree program are the KU School of Business, located in Lawrence, Kansas; the Department of Logistics and Resource Operations (DLRO), one of five teaching departments at CGSC, which is located near Lawrence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and the Army Logistics Management College (ALMC) at Fort Lee, Virginia, which is the administrator for the Army’s National Logistics Curriculum (NLC).

In August 2007, DLRO began talking with ALMC about becoming certified as an NLC school, primarily for the Logistics Corps officers attending ILE. After the idea was accepted, the KU School of Business, in coordination with DLRO and ALMC, developed a program plan for a master of science in business (MSB) degree with an SCM and logistics concentration. The NLC approved the proposed curriculum on 16 October. The pilot year began in August 2008 and concluded with awarding the first degrees in June 2009.

How Does the Program Work?

The KU MSB–SCM program is a 30-credit-hour program of study. Professors from the KU School of Business teach 24 credit hours directly, and DLRO faculty teach 6 hours during ILE. The curriculum program is shown at right. All courses are taught in the Lewis and Clark Center at Fort Leavenworth. The course is designed around the 10½-month “CGSC year.” Many students have commented on the great advantage of having both the KU and ILE programs conducted at the same location.

The KU program is designed primarily for the logisticians attending ILE to enhance their existing expertise and knowledge of logistics. The courses apply best business practices from the civilian sector, relate them to the SCM arena, and then apply them to Army theater distribution operations. Although the program is developed primarily for the logistics major (O–4), it is open to any major attending ILE who has the background and credentials to be admitted to KU. According to the KU School of Business website:

The Master of Science in Business with a Supply Chain Management and Logistics concentration is aimed specifically toward Army Majors and Major-eligible Captains. The degree will complement the quality military supply chain education officers enjoy while enabling a broader, civilian economy focus for those who plan to pursue logistics careers after military service.

The KU School of Business is one of 168 schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The MSB–SCM degree is fully accredited as a new concentration under the school’s existing MSB degree. The program’s content and accomplishments will be addressed for continued accreditation during a scheduled AACSB assessment in approximately 3 years.

Why Is the SCM Degree Valuable?

Why should officers consider an advanced civilian degree? Department of the Army Pamphlet 600–3, Commissioned Officer Professional Development and Career Management, states:

Self-development is the responsibility of every officer and ranges from professional reading during off-duty time to aggressively seeking positions of increased responsibility. Each officer, with support from mentors, should develop career goals and clearly articulate those goals to the commander and the assignments officer at the AHRC [Army Human Resources Command] … Officers are encouraged to continue to broaden their logistics experience by … Obtain[ing] a civilian degree in logistics-related fields.

The KU School of Business MSB–SCM program combines the business and military logistics environments to develop future thinkers. The program presents instruction in the required foundational courses as well as advanced graduate courses. When students graduate from this program, they are ready to function as leaders with knowledge of business foundations and best business practices in supply chain management, transportation, procurement, information systems, change management, and project management.

How Does a Prospective Student Get Accepted?

For ILE students to be considered for the MSB–SCM program, they first must be accepted as graduate candidates into the School of Business graduate degree program. To be accepted, ILE students must—

  • Have an undergraduate degree awarded at the bachelor’s degree level.
  • Complete a KU Graduate School application on line. As part of the application process, the graduate candidate is required to answer three essay questions on line.
  • Provide an official transcript.
  • Provide two letters of recommendation.
  • Include a current officer record brief.
  • Include a signed KU Academic Code of Honor form.

More information on the application process can be found on the KU School of Business homepage, www.business.ku.edu/

How Does the Degree Program Work With ILE?

The Dean of the School of Business and the Director of the MSB–SCM program are dedicated to the success of the degree program at ILE. The KU program director, Greg Freix, and the CGSC DLRO deputy director, Willis Jackson, Jr., collaborated on the class schedule to reduce workload conflicts between the two educational programs. The ILE curriculum workload is, in effect, a full master’s degree program. To make the KU MSB–SCM program successful, coordination and mutual understanding between both campuses enables the students to manage both programs. The students complete their ILE classes during the day at Lewis and Clark and then pursue their degrees in the evening. For example, when students are involved in their ILE exercise, from 0830 hours to 1730 hours daily, KU MSB–SCM classes are not scheduled. This gives students time to focus on the ILE exercise and also to spend time with their families.

The future of the KU MSB–SCM program will be determined by the success of the logisticians attending ILE at Fort Leavenworth. With a student population of approximately 175 logisticians filling 2 ILE courses a year, the expectation is that the demand for the MSB–SCM degree program will increase. The plan for the upcoming August 2009 class is to offer the program
to 32 logisticians; the possibility exists that the program could also be offered to future February ILE class attendees.

Students can choose from nine different advanced degree programs while attending ILE to fulfill career goals and to broaden their logistics experience. An advanced degree in supply chain management and logistics will allow ILE students to expand their professional development, apply this experience in the operational military, and perhaps one day fashion a highly desirable civilian career.

Willis F. Jackson, Jr., is Deputy Director of the Department of Logistics and Resource Operations at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

Gerald J. Leonard is an assistant professor in the Department of Logistics and Resource Operations at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

Gina Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Logistics and Resource Operations at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She is a retired Army lieutenant colonel.