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What Is Acquisition and Contract Management?

By James A. Bryant, Ph.D

Most businesses are built and maintained through relationships—with employees, vendors, suppliers, and regulatory agencies. Acquisition and Contract Management (ACM) creates a framework for timelines, expectations, budgets, and partnerships. ACM forms the basis of our understanding and agreements about services or products we use daily. With a career in ACM, you can help businesses increase their success through analyzing relevant data and the latest information. You will have the opportunity to address the challenges the ACM industry faces today, such as collapsing supply chains or contract breaches.

Is a Career in Acquisition and Contract Management in Demand?  

ACM covers a broad range of fields, and notable skills and tools employers are seeking include the following:   

  • Agile contract management
  • Diversity in sales and licensing models 
  • Cloud-based supply chain management software knowledge 
  • Supply chain operations efficiency 
  • Advanced robotics and machine learning 
  • Acquisition of cyber security software and services 
  • Digital transformation in automated contract management solutions

Market research indicates that supply chain, acquisition, and contract management careers will rely on professionals in the field to plan and implement solutions using cloud-based planning systems, cost effective production planning, and other strategic tools and processes. Complex supply chain and logistics operations will rely on new technologies, such as AI, robotics, and drones in order to complete tasks and will require ACM professionals in their implementation.

My Experience with a Career in Acquisition and Contract Management

As an ACM professional, I began to work in the field as a fuels management officer with the U.S. Air Force. I negotiated over $80 million annually in jet fuel, motor fuels, and cryogenics with suppliers like Exxon and Shell Oil Company. However, there are many ways to begin your career in ACM. Whether you have some prior experience with acquisitions and/or contracts or are just starting, there is a wide range of career paths to choose from. Contract specialists/administrators is a typical path for ACM, with the typical education requirement of a bachelor’s degree in business administration, contract management or logistics. You can gain skills through professional associations such as the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), National Contract Management Association (NCMA) or the World Commerce and Contract Association (WCC). Internships or apprenticeships are often offered by these organizations which can accelerate your career. 

UMGC is Meeting the Demand with a Master’s Degree Program in ACM

When choosing a school for an ACM degree, it is important to select a school that includes a curriculum that echoes the industry. As program director of the ACM master’s degree at University of Maryland

Global Campus (UMGC), I am proud to showcase how we prepare students to succeed in the field. For example, our ACM program implements a computer simulation model known as Supply Chain Management (SCM) Globe that teaches students how to place distribution centers and deliver products to customers in the most effective and efficient ways to improve customer service.

At UMGC, the ACM faculty is comprised of professionals that represent transportation, supply chain management, legal and acquisition management, acquisitions and contract management, and other key aspects of ACM. These experts ensure you receive the support and resources you need, to best understand the world of ACM, and prepare you for the real-life scenarios ACM presents. For students who wish to teach, we mentor and train them in learning management systems that focus on their respective disciplines to achieve their professional teaching goals.

Choosing a master’s degree in acquisition and contract management gives you a broad spectrum of jobs to choose from, and the skills you learn can be applied to many aspects of everyday life. As demand continues to rise for experts in this field, now is the perfect opportunity for you to pursue your career in ACM and earn a degree that will set you up for success.

Reference on this webpage to any third-party entity or product does not constitute or imply endorsement by UMGC nor does it constitute or imply endorsement of UMGC by the third party.