Specializations

PURCHASING & SUPPLY
MANAGEMENT

BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION specialization

The specialization in Purchasing & Supply Management is one of the first programmes to focus on preparing students to work in the purchasing departments of firms and public organizations. Combining state-of-the-art science with a practical orientation, you will be prepared to assume a managerial role. You will learn how firms can gain a competitive advantage by adopting smart design for their supply networks and how they can seize the full potential of their suppliers.

This specialization is a part of the Master’s programme in Business Administration. If you are currently studying Business Administration at the University of Twente, you can find additional information on the programme website. 

WHAT IS PURCHASING & SUPPLY MANAGEMENT?

The statement that ‘companies exist by selling, but earn profits by purchasing’ has never been more true than it is now. A typical industrial firm in Central Europe spends almost 60% of its turnover with suppliers. Firms are increasingly recognizing the importance of managing their purchasing volumes professionally, and they are professionalizing their purchasing function accordingly. Nevertheless, many firms are finding it difficult to recruit purchasing staff. Few, if any public universities teach purchasing and supply management. The University of Twente is a leading global centre for research and teaching in the area of purchasing. Together with our partner university in Lappeenranta (Finland), the University of Twente is pioneering education in purchasing at the Master’s level.

The effective management of a firm’s supplies is the responsibility of purchasing and supply managers, who search, select, contract and eventually manage suppliers in order to ensure the supply of materials and services that the firm needs. The importance of supply management has never been greater. In recent years, purchasing has gained considerable importance with firms. As a consequence, firms are in need of adequately trained personnel, and excellent job prospects are emerging for purchasers. The Master’s specialization in purchasing and supply management trains such purchasing managers, thus preparing students for a future in this promising field. This type of management is also an important responsibility of project leaders, production managers, facilities managers and other actors who are involved in some way with purchasing and supply.

The purchasing departments of firms are typically divided into groups for strategic sourcing and operative procurement. The strategic sourcing group is responsible for selecting and contracting suppliers, while the operative procurement group is responsible for the execution of purchasing orders. Technology-oriented companies have recently begun to implement a third group, often referred to as ‘advanced sourcing’ or ‘procurement engineering’. These groups manage the interface between strategic sourcing and the research-and-development department. Purchasing and supply management thus differs from ‘supply-chain management’ (SCM), which is commonly understood as the optimization of logistics processes to ensure the optimal scheduling, transport and storage of supplies. These two types of management require different skills. The Master’s specialization in purchasing and supply management at the University of Twente is one of the few programmes dedicated to the training of purchasers. 

WHY STUDY PSM?

1.  Best job prospects for PSM graduates

Reflecting the growing importance of supply management due to changes in business practices, the relevance of purchasing is increasing steadily. As a consequence, there is a high demand for academically trained purchasing professionals. This demand translates into excellent job prospects for well-educated purchasers.

2.  International topic

The purchasing function is quite international in nature. The option of studying at an international university (in English) in a border region can prepare you for this opportunity. We also offer the unique possibility of broadening your international experience through our double degree programme in cooperation with our partner university in Lappeenranta, Finland.

3.  A job with many interfaces to promote your career

Purchasers are members of many cross-functional teams, typically interfacing with research and development, production, logistics and control, as well as with marketing and other functions. Within a firm, this unique interconnectedness allows purchasers to build good networks, which often serve as a gateway to further managerial responsibilities. Our educational programme is oriented towards educating cross-functionally effective executives who are able to realize this potential.

Double degree

The University of Twente offers a double degree programme in collaboration with Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). Students completing this 120-credit programme receive two Master’s degrees:

  • MSc in Business Administration from the University of Twente (60 credits)
  • MSc in Supply Management fro LUT (60 credits)

The duration of this master programme is two years, which entails a total of four semesters. Students are expected to stay two semesters at each university.

Read more information on this double degree. 

WHY STUDY PSM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE?

1.  Unique offering in Twente

The University of Twente is the only Dutch university to offer a specific specialization in purchasing and supply within its Master’s programme, and it is one of the few public universities in Europe to offer such courses. Taking advantage of the unique offerings at the University of Twente can help you to build a personal competitive advantage.

2.  Study at a centre of excellence

The University of Twente has excellent professors and research groups in the area of purchasing and supply (in industrial purchasing, public procurement and supply management in the construction and project industries, collaborating within the UTIPS centre). There is hardly any other place with such a concentration of purchasing expertise. You are invited to join this centre of excellence.

3.  Combination of theory and practice

The Master’s programme at the University of Twente allows you to combine theory and practice from the early stages of your study. The one-year programme starts with a quarter of classes, after which you can immediately begin work on your thesis in the second quarter. After taking another quarter of courses, you will complete your thesis in the fourth quarter.

4.  Inspiring teachers from academia and practice

Our instructors also combine academic excellence with practical applicability. For example, Prof. Schiele and Prof. Telgen have 10 and 25 years of experience, respectively, in industry and consulting. Dr Loohuis, who offers the course B2B marketing, worked as key accountant with an automotive supplier before completing his PhD. In addition, Dr Pulles, Dr Hoffmann and Dr von Raesfeld-Meier are award-winning researchers. You will also take courses taught by practitioners. Examples include Dr Schotanus and Dr Horn, experts in the field of health purchasing, and Dr Mohr, who is Head of Purchasing Strategy and Systems with a large bearings firm and who teaches a course of the same title in our programme.

5.  Choose a profile: Industrial Purchasing or Public Procurement

Our specializations in the Department of Supply Management offer you the option of preparing to work in either an industrial firm or a public institution (e.g. a ministry, hospital, educational institution or municipality). Students of the industrial variant profit from studying at a technical university. In addition to purchasing, the University of Twente excels in the area of technology and innovation management studies.

6.  Find a job at our recruitment fair

Students of purchasing at the University of Twente regularly organize the only job fair in Europe exclusively dedicated to employer-student bonding in purchasing and supply management: the UTPC (University of Twente Purchasing Conference; www.utpc.eu).

WHO SHOULD STUDY PSM?

Graduates…

…with a background in purchasing: If you already have a background in purchasing, whether through your previous studies at the university or your initial job experience, the Master’s programme in PSM would be ideal for you. Assuming an understanding of commodity management, the Master’s programme will provide you with the additional knowledge needed to assume managerial or staff roles or to prepare for special roles (e.g. procurement engineering or public procurement).

…with a background in general business administration: Students who do not yet have a background in purchasing take an introductory course in purchasing management.

…with a technical background: For students with a technical background, the PSM programme offers an excellent opportunity to acquire management skills. Instead of taking general MBA courses, the PSM programme offers insight into business through the general Master’s courses that are part of the MSc programme in Business Administration. In addition, the programme prepares students for jobs in purchasing or in fields related to or interfacing with purchasing.

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