Dr. Thomas DeCarlo Discusses the Online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution Program

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UAB Collat School of Business. Knowledge that will change your world. Online Industrial Distribution Program.

Thomas DeCarlo:

The Industrial Distribution Program was born from industry essentially, with the idea that was Charles Collat, who was our benefactor, started this program with the help of the administration about 25 years ago. And it’s been just a phenomenal success through those years. Industry loves our program. They come and they hire our students in droves. The reason being is that we’re one of the best programs in the country. There’s only about 15-20 programs that teach a major in Industrial Distribution, and we’re one of the best. This program is excellent for the online environment for a couple of reasons. Number one is: we’re the only online undergraduate program currently, in the nation. So if they wanted an Industrial Distribution program and they live outside of the Birmingham area, or even if they want to take it online from Alabama, they have the option to do that; fully online. That’s really an advantage, I think. Second is that we have Fortune 500 companies that are national, international, hiring our students every year. These companies are large, they need people to fill vacancies. We have more companies than we actually have students coming in, to interview our students. It’s unbelievable.

And I think, with the online environment, that’ll open up the door for even more opportunity for the industry folks to interview people from around the country. We have a 100% placement rate. Everybody gets a job, and a good job. Now in the U.S., we have approximately three to four trillion dollars worth of products that are manufactured that go through distribution companies. And manufacturers make product. They don’t have the wherewithal or the expertise to actually take this product to market. What happens is: an industrial distributor buys the product from the manufacturer, turns around, they own it and then they resell it for the manufacturer.

The Industrial Distribution program has two tracks. The first track is the engineering track. And so that’s comprised of four engineering courses that are taught for distribution majors. The second track is the medical distribution track. And that track is unique in a sense that our students take courses in, say, health economics, health care marketing, medical terminology. And what the idea with that program is to take these medical related courses, combine it with our distribution and business courses, and really position the student to become focused on distributing, marketing, and operations in the medical industry. If you want to get into customer facing activities, we have plenty of opportunities available for that. They have a variety of different roles there. If you want to get into operations — that is, you like the idea of how a company works but you want to manage the inventory — those types of opportunities are available, as well.

An online student would feel as much a part of our program as an on-campus student. The way that we use technology to have them really embedded in the course, along with the industry experts that we have speaking in our class, or videotape for the student to watch these interactions with these executives, it’s a real advantage, I think. And I really believe that this is something that an online student would look at and say, “You know what? I’m part of UAB, I’m a Blazer. I’m an ID student.” And they’ll feel just as engaged as, I think, an on campus student would. We’re transforming people’s lives with this degree. I mean, these students are coming out and getting jobs they could never get without this degree.

We’re the only endowed program in the school. What does that mean? That means that we have a lot of resources, scholarship dollars available for our students, so we can do things for our students and for our program that other programs can’t do. We’re real fortunate to be able to be in that situation. There is no other program like it in the country that’s actually doing, and teaching, the content that we have developed here over the years, and it’s second to none.