Supply Chain Career: Customs Broker

Supply Chain Career: Customs Broker

Supply Chain Career: Customs Broker banner

Today’s global marketplace demands skilled professionals with expertise in operations and supply chain management. Specialized bachelor, master, and MBA degree programs prepare students for this exciting field, but what can you do with a operations and supply chain management degree?

We asked one of our professors and industry experts, Elizabeth Robson, JD, for her take on a potential direction supply chain graduates could take. Her answer, based on decades in the industry, just might open your eyes to a career path you may never have considered before.

JWU Online: What’s one supply chain management career that you think is particularly interesting?

Professor Robson: When students are considering fields within the operations and supply chain industry, they often overlook the customs brokerage industry, but it is an area with significant opportunity. Custom brokers are involved in nearly every import and export transaction in the U.S. and are empowered by U.S. Customs Border and Protection to act as agents in processing import and export shipments. The rigorous licensing process entails passing a lengthy examination requiring comprehensive knowledge of federal policies and procedures. In addition, customs brokers must undergo a thorough review to determine outstanding character. There are approximately 11,000 licensed customs brokers in the U.S. Most of them are working in approximately 300 customs brokerage firms located throughout the country, but many work in private industry, as well.

JWU Online: How does JWU prepare its students for such a career?

Professor Robson: There are no specific degree requirements to pursue a career in the customs brokerage field, but a degree in operations and supply chain management or international business can certainly provide a great head start.

Students in our MBA program are frequently assigned projects where they analyze issues and propose solutions. The best outcomes in supply chain management arise from the anticipation of potential issues and planning for them before they become impediments. I use cases in my Global Economics class to help students learn to investigate potential issues that are not readily apparent and to propose creative solutions that will satisfy the needs of all parties in the case.

JWU Online: What excites you about the field of OSCM?

Professor Robson: What I have loved about working as a customs broker in the field of OSCM is that no day is ever the same. One day could be spent consulting with a local client on the best places to source a necessary component for their operation. Another could be spent working with another freight forwarder overseas to ensure a client’s shipment makes the deadline for shipping. It always feels great to have a client thank you for having the foresight to have considered potential disruptions that they would not have considered themselves and to then work with them to develop a plan to ensure the best possible outcome. There are certainly days where it seems that whatever could go wrong, does go wrong, but most challenges are overcome by keeping the lines of communication clear and open. Ultimately, all work in OSCM is directly related to the people working in the supply chain, and building trusting relationships will always lead to the best results.

Want to learn more about earning your BSBA – Operations and Supply Chain Management or MBA — Operations and Supply Chain Management degree online with JWU College of Online Education? For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.

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