Supply Chain Management and Logistics in Panama

Image of SCM in Panama
Location: Panama
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Winter Break
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Gain an understanding of the significance of the Panama Canal, one of the world's most important cargo transit zones and a key element in global trade
  • Earn 3 hours of business credit
  • Includes meetings with supply chain professionals, tours of various key business partner facilities, and an excursion to an indigenous community 

KU Business students, primarily those majoring or minoring in supply chain management or international business, will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of supply chain management in the global market through exploration of supply chain and logistics practices of U.S., Panamanian, and businesses from around the world.

Panama is considered one of the world’s most important logistics clusters. This means critical business, logistics, value-added services, and supply chain elements come together to provide unparalleled services for customers. Panama is strategically located with access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is also home to the world’s second largest Foreign Trade Zone, featuring unique store-front access for wholesale sales, and serves as a gateway for Caribbean, Central, and South American distribution, while hosting the world’s most critical canal to speed ocean cargo to the U.S. and beyond.

Three hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program and will be posted to the student's KU transcript as a Spring course. Undergraduate students will enroll in SCM 400, IBUS 500, or BBA 500: Global Business and Supply Chain in Panama. Graduate students will enroll in IBUS 895: Graduate Seminar in Supply Chain in Panama.

Course requirements include several pre-program meetings, most scheduled on campus during the fall semester. The meetings will allow enrolled students to learn about global trade practices, meet representatives from area companies that have operations in Panama to understand their supply chain strategies, and why Panama is part of their business/supply chain strategy. Additionally, these meetings provide an opportunity for students to meet those with whom they will be sharing the experience in Panama.

Students will stay in double or triple occupancy rooms in the City of Knowledge dorms the first few nights and in shared hotel accommodations during the rest of the program.

The group will visit a variety of businesses of varying size and industries to discuss their supply chain strategy and execution and also visit the ocean port terminals in Panama City and Colón. Additionally, students will visit the Panama Canal, the Foreign Free Trade Zone, and the largest air hub in Central America.

Students will enjoy visits to multiple points along the Panama Canal. At the Miraflores Locks, the Miraflores Museum houses an excellent history of the original Panama Canal construction, which was completed more than 100 years ago. The group will visit the new canal expansion observation area, the Gatun Locks, and the new canal that celebrated the first ship passing through in June 2016. An excursion to a nearby indigenous community is also planned. While in Panama City, students will participate on a guided tour to experience its history: the ruins of Panama Viejo, the first city founded in 1519, Casco Viejo, the historic district founded in the 1600s, and the current, modern Panama City.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

This program targets students who are majoring or minoring in supply chain management or international business. Open to students from accredited U.S. colleges or universities who have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Exceptions considered after submission of a petition.

Joe Walden, Associate Teaching Professor, will lead the program. He has led the program multiple times. 

Jana Fitchett, Lecturer, will also lead the program. She has previously led study abroad programs to Israel.

Business School Scholarships

Scholarships may be available for business students on this program through Global Business Studies. Supply Chain Management students will be considered for the Woody/Walden study abroad scholarship.

Passport and Entry Requirements

All U.S. citizens must have a passport to enter Panama that is valid for three months beyond the return date, though the U.S. Department of State recommends six. No tourist visa is required. For students who need to apply for an adult passport, please view the processing times and request one soon. KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement has a Passport Center where students can apply for a U.S. passport.

Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for understanding their entry requirements. Read more about visas and entry requirements on the website of the Embassy of Panama in the U.S. Most students will meet the visa waiver requirement of having a passport with a valid visa from the U.S., but may need to purchase a tourist card upon arrival. Passports must be valid for three months beyond the return date. Please carefully read the information on the website.