Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Christina Stamper

Second Advisor

Sime Curkovic

Third Advisor

Paula Eckert


This thesis project aims to identify the gap(s) between supply chain students and employers for both the preparedness and relative importance of the critical job skills employers seek in graduating students. This research is relevant because students view college as an investment that will pay off through better job placement and higher pay upon graduation. The problem is that some employers feel students do not have the skills necessary to be successful on the job. While there has been extensive research regarding a skills gap in graduating students and common criteria employer’s use to rank these students, there is minimal research analyzing the gap specifically within the supply chain industry.

The methodology of this study includes the analysis of existing research and original data collected from a sample of employers and students. The first step involves leveraging existing research to determine the top ten skills employers seek in recent supply chain management graduates. Next, an electronic survey will be created that seeks to identify both the feeling of preparedness and relative importance of the predetermined skills. This survey will be sent to a sample of juniors and seniors majoring in Integrated Supply Management and employers that hire students to fill supply chain-related roles from Western Michigan University. The results of the survey will be analyzed to establish if there is a significant difference in responses between students and employers. Finally, recommendations will be given that aim to bridge the gap(s).

The overall goal of this research is to help students understand employer’s expectations and how they can capitalize on their time in college to meet those expectations. As mentioned previously, college is a large investment of time and money, and it is critical students can achieve the best return on that investment.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Honors Thesis Presentation_Bules.pdf (1570 kB)
Defense Presentation