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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Launches Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

Photo courtesy of Newell Rubbermaid


Media Relations

September 23, 2013

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Launches Master of Science in Supply Chain Management

Program Launch Will Feature Keynote Talk from Rensselaer Alumna and Newell Rubbermaid Chief Supply Chain Officer Meredith Stevens

The Lally School of Management and Technology, the business school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, recently launched a new Master of Science in Supply Chain Management program for fall 2013. To celebrate the start of the program, Meredith Stevens ’84, chief supply chain officer at Newell Rubbermaid and a Rensselaer alumna, will deliver a keynote talk titled, “Transforming Supply Chain Leadership from the Back Room to the Boardroom.” The program will be held on the Rensselaer campus on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies auditorium.

“Increasing globalization and outsourcing have led to complex chains that have to be managed effectively to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “The Master of Science in Supply Chain Management will provide Lally School students with an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills needed for a career in the manufacturing and service industries. This program will help students to learn how to design supply chains, optimize supply chain operations, leverage information technology, and enhance demand fulfillment capabilities in firms.”

Meredith “Meri” Stevens joined Newell Rubbermaid in January 2013 in the newly created position of chief supply chain officer to lead all aspects of the company’s global supply chain. Stevens’ key focus is driving a consistent approach to the company’s global operations, unlocking the trapped capacity for growth through improved productivity and working capital management, and building the network to support emerging market expansion.

“We are thrilled to have a distinguished Rensselaer alumna like Meredith Stevens join us for an exciting discussion that will focus on the field of supply chain management, and engage with students, faculty, and alumni and alumnae on this growing field of research and career opportunities,” Begley said. “Developments in information technology and the emergence of the Internet as a medium for commerce present new opportunities for the redesign of supply chains. Consequently, creating and managing an effective supply chain has become a strategic priority for organizations.”

Prior to joining Rubbermaid, Stevens was head of the Global Fire and Security Install and Service Supply Chain at Tyco. In an eight-year career at what was originally a $44 billion conglomerate, she built global procurement teams, drove manufacturing excellence, and led the transformation of the company’s logistics and distribution network.

Before Tyco, Stevens led strategic sourcing for media conglomerate Bertelsmann Inc., where she designed and implemented a new strategic sourcing operation. She began her career at General Electric in a number of operations management and supply chain roles, developing significant expertise in Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. Stevens received a master’s degree in industrial and management engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer.

“I am honored to participate in the launch of the new master of science program in supply chain management.  RPI prepared me well by providing me with a strong foundation not just in the discipline of supply chain, but also in understanding how to solve complex problems and lead people through transformation,” said Stevens. “I treasure my friendships and experiences at RPI and I can’t wait to come back to campus and reconnect with students and faculty.”

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of supply chain management professionals is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the important role of logistics in an increasingly global economy.

“We are rolling out the Master of Science in Supply Chain Management at an ideal time,” said T. Ravichandran, associate dean for research at the Lally School and the faculty director for the new program. “We expect the students in this program to have a solid foundation in the basics of supply chain management as well as practical experience gained through the capstone and other project-based courses.”

The new one-year, 30-credit degree utilizes an interdisciplinary focus and integrates concepts from industrial marketing, operations management, and information systems. The curriculum includes three parts: a business core, a supply chain core, and specialized electives that include real-world project-based courses that allow students to develop expertise in specific areas of supply chain management.

Ravichandran noted that graduates of the program will be able to find careers in supply chain management, logistics, operations management, supply chain practices of consulting firms, and procurement and sourcing functions in manufacturing and service industries.

The Lally School also plans to convene its first advisory board on supply chain management this fall that will include alumni and alumnae and business leaders in the industry.

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit