With more than 820 hours workload and demanding internships at prominent global companies, the Global Supply Chain Management (GSCM) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) is not for the faint of heart.
The GSCM programme is taught under EPFL’s International Institute for the Management of Logistics (IML) school, which was founded in 1993 with École des Ponts ParisTech and the professional association AFT-IFTIM, along with the active support of 40 international companies. Since its launch, IML has maintained and grown its worldwide network by garnering partnerships with global corporations, organizations, and several universities worldwide. (http://iml.epf.ch) The flourishing GSCM programme is the perfect personification of all of IML’s far-reaching, global objectives.
As opposed to graduate programmes that encourage students to continue working while studying, the GSCM programme is a student’s full-time job for one year. Beginning in January, students engage in six months of theoretical education courses organized into 23 weeklong modules, totaling 820 hours and one exam per week. All courses are taught in English so that students can compete in a predominantly English-speaking business world.
Each module is taught by different kinds of professors—academic and practical— who are often supply chain management directors from companies who support the GSCM programme. The more than 80 lecturers come to Lausanne from all over the world: Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, England, France, Switzerland, and the United States. Practical teachers often come from business giants such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Philip Morris, and Merck, etc. Professors also come from prominent organizations such as the United Nations and the International Red Cross.
Modules include general business courses on value networks and supply chain paradigms, as well as more internationally geared courses on the impact of globalization and global optimization.
“I usually change about 10 percent modules a year in following the trends of the business world. It is necessary for me to anticipate the trends so that our students meet the needs of the companies,” said Prof. Philippe Wieser, IML’s Director. In the second six months of the programme, students take on a practical internship with a company. By December, students have earned their Masters of Advanced Studies.
“It is all made possible with the support of more than 50 companies, like The Swatch Group, Novartis, and Richemont, etc. The relationship with the companies is important because they give us feedback on the programme, teach courses, and find positions for our graduates,” Prof. Wieser said. And if the alumni are any indication, the programme has been quite successful: More than 950 graduates from 75 different nationalities and five continents. Alumni include vice presidents and supply chain directors of major national and international companies.
“It’s also very important to note that the satisfaction index of all of our students is between 85-90 percent,” Prof. Wieser said. Still, the IML professors do not rest on their laurels.
In 2016, IML launched its second global supply chain management programme. This time, a health-oriented CAS (Certificate of Advanced Studies): The Healthcare Supply Chain Academy (HSCA) programme. It was launched in collaboration with Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Merck and Supply Chain Operations SA. The 11-week HSCA programme is designed to provide experienced professionals from the healthcare and life sciences sector an opportunity to learn supply chain management and bring that value back to their employers. At the end of the programme, graduates earn a CAS.
Prof. Wieser said at the programme’s launch that IML “brings 25 years of supply chain research, education, and expertise to the booming healthcare sector around Lake Geneva. The HSCA has been initiated and supported by global industry leaders. I am delighted by such collaboration between academics and business private sector professionals and excited to run the sessions of such a smart and full-bodied academy in June and in October 2017.”
The coursework is broken into modules, beginning with six weeks of remote academic studies and tests that can be completed from home, ending in a weeklong, on-campus module. During this intensive week, students spend 60 hours engaging with fellow students and collaborating over case studies. By the end of the week, students have defined a supply chain business challenge or problem within their existing company to write a report on in the remaining four weeks of the programme. Examples of these projects range from the more analytical—how to advance supply chain quality control—to the practical—improving the transportation of blood samples.
“The goal of this course is to offer students a possibility to improve their position in the company and improve supply chain for the business,” Prof. Wieser said. Participants who successfully complete the programme will receive an official Certificate of Advance Studies (CAS) Diploma from EPFL.
For more information visit: http://hsca.epfl.ch
Article by Paige Baschuk