What can I do with my operations and supply chain management degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with an operations and supply chain management degree and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your study of Operations and Supply Chain Management will provide you with knowledge and skills that are valuable to employers, both in terms of directly-relevant technical skills in addition to broader soft skills, such as:

  • Strategic planning
  • Networking, business development and relationship management
  • Agile thinking and creative problem solving
  • Time management
  • Resilience under pressure
  • Entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial skills
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Commercial awareness

Career options

Degrees relating to Operations and Supply Chain Management can prepare you for very specific and/or technical career options, in addition to equipping you with skills that will prepare you for a wide range of career opportunities. Roles within Operations and Supply Chain Management can be varied and exciting, requiring adaptability in sometimes pressured environments. Due to the nature of Operations and Supply Chain Management you could choose to work in many different areas of the world, such as the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.

Job options that relate directly to these degrees include:

  • operations manager
  • production manager
  • logistics and distribution manager
  • supply chain manager
  • freight forwarder
  • quality assurance manager
  • project manager.

Some of the sectors where these roles may be particularly prominent include: engineering and manufacturing; food science and technology; textile and trade industries. However, with so many different goods and products exported between countries on a daily basis you could work for any number of different companies. Additionally, roles in Operations can be found across the public, private and charity/third sectors, opening up a huge range of opportunities throughout your career from Universities to food manufacturing and distribution companies and animal rescue charities, to name just a few.

You could also apply the broader skills developed during your degree to many other opportunities: it is estimated that although graduate employers often specify a minimum degree classification as part of their shortlisting, approximately 70% of graduate employers do not specify that you must have studied a particular subject to work for them. However, graduate employers do highly prize skills such as strategic planning, resilience under pressure, creative problem-solving and commercial awareness which are some of the key skills you can develop during your course. Therefore, you could use your degree to access work in a multitude of sectors or industries.

Researching your career options   

With such a wide range of careers open to you as an Operations and Supply Chain Management graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.     

Take a look at the Prospects, TargetJobs and the professional associations websites for inspiration:     

You can also find useful information at:

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth Operations and Supply Chain Management graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.

  • Graduate Management Scheme
  • Logistic manager
  • Account Manager
  • Assistant Crewing Officer
  • Regional Manager
  • Logistics CUM Operation Executive
  • Production Planner
  • Buyer
  • Supply Chain Planner
  • Project Manager
  • Consultant

Employers

Some employers in this sector use recruitment agencies to support their recruitment. The following may be helpful sources of information; however, while agencies can tell you about the employer they will usually not advise who the job is with until interview stage:

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Operations and Supply Chain Management graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to graduates:  

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation.  

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;  

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs & Societies     

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to operations and supply chain management, such as the very active Shipping Society or broader Business Society/Enactus, or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.