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CAREER PLANNING

Operations Management Career Path & Best MBA to Advance

It’s no secret that every company includes several departments performing varied functions. 

The departments facilitating seamless coordination between them — ensuring products and services of the highest quality reach consumers at the earliest — are the operations managers.

In most corporations, Business Operations Manager is a designation earned after years of experience. To become one, you need hands-on knowledge of the different aspects of running a business such as customer service, manufacturing, retail, etc which takes years to acquire. 

Moreover, every job description for an operations manager also mentions great communication and organization skills, to be able to coordinate across departments.

But, don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. We wrote this article to simplify matters and help you understand the responsibilities of an operations manager better.

Today, we’ll discuss:

  • The perks of being an operations manager
  • Employment opportunities 
  • Key responsibilities and organizational duties
  • Educational qualifications required
  • Possible career pathways
  • The merits of an MBA

Why Choose Operations Management?

An effective operations manager is an organization’s backbone.

Positions in operations often don’t have a clear job description, and responsibilities span across departments. The lucrative salaries compensate for the challenges.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, operations managers in the USA can earn anywhere between $50,000 to $183,000 per year. This depends on experience and efficiency. The annual median salary is $103,650.

In operations management, the possibilities and career paths are varied and many. You can be an engineer working in the operations arm of a technical company, or a food services expert overseeing the functioning of a restaurant.

In 2020, Business Insider listed operations management among the top 15 jobs in the USA. BLS data supports this with a faster than average projected growth rate of 5-7% for 2019-2029. 

This means 204,400 new jobs can open up in the field by 2029, in addition to the existing 2,486,400 as of 2019.

Operations Management Jobs

Increased organizational diversification in every industry has led to a boom in operations jobs and related titles. Let’s explore some of the common ones.

Supply Chain Management

With the internet melting geographical boundaries, the world is now an open market. Supply chain management bridges the gap between demand and supply in this global bazaar, from procuring raw materials to delivering finished products.

What Careers Are in Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management jobs may involve sourcing raw materials, maintaining inventory; overseeing manufacturing; coordinating storage, transportation, distribution, etc. Supply Chain Management Executives must also be skilled at communication and managing human resources.

Roles in supply chain management include:

  • Purchasing agents
  • Logistics analysts
  • Transportation managers
  • Inventory managers
  • Supply chain designers
  • Storage and distribution manager.

How to Get a Career in Supply Chain Management?

A business degree with a supply chain focus is a great way to gain entry into the field. A degree in logistics is also a good option. While in school, invest time in:

  • Networking and building connections
  • Marketing yourself through hiring platforms
  • Interning at reputed companies.

After gaining experience, students may opt for higher studies via a graduate or MBA program to progress as operations managers.

Operations Management Consulting

Consultants help improve an organization’s value chains by boosting its functioning, efficiency, and growth. They do so by:

  • Studying existing systems
  • Identifying problem areas
  • Formulating new strategies
  • Helping implement them

Internal Auditing

Internal auditors (or operational auditors) help analyze key procedures, optimize management, and use of resources in an organization to boost productivity.

Operations Strategy

Strategists formulate innovative plans and progressible roadmaps to help corporations stay relevant and beat the competition.

Distribution and Logistics Planning

Executives oversee tasks like storage, packaging, and transportation of products via effective delivery channels to ensure they reach consumers at the earliest.

Inventory Planning and Control

This job involves predicting demand, deciding the number of stocks to order, and scheduling their distribution.

Business Process Improvement or Reengineering

Executives implement thoughtful approaches to create robust operational procedures and improve existing ones to manage a corporation’s cost, quality, and time goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planners conduct SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analyses of production networks and design optimal supply chains to boost efficiency.

Manufacturing Strategy

An executive’s duties are to make ‘decisions that, over time, enable a business unit to achieve the desired manufacturing structure, infrastructure, and set of specific capabilities.’ (Hayes and Wheelwright, 1984

Support Activities in the Services/Financial Industry

Aspirants can also become operations managers by working in ancillary services like:

  • Supply chain finance
  • Human resources
  • Quality control
  • Sales and marketing

Operations managers need to be generalists rather than specialists, and recruits often perform similar duties irrespective of initial designations.

Operations Management Career Pathway

Standard organizational designations in leadership roles include vice-presidents of operations or chief operating officers (COOs). They’re a firm’s second-in-command, responsible for bringing the chief executive officer’s (CEO) visions and ideas to fruition.

Let’s show you one of the many routes you can take to get to the top.

What Is an MBA in Operations Management?

MBA in operations management teaches business administration with a focus on managing operations and logistics. While the curriculum varies among schools, common courses include:

  • Business fundamentals
  • Accounting and finance
  • Leadership
  • Economics
  • Data analysis
  • Quality control processes

Reputed schools provide students with a thorough understanding of all operational aspects of a business – from procurement to delivery processes.

Additionally, top executives across sectors have a 4-year bachelor’s degree, BLS data says. You can earn one in business or allied fields and follow it up with an MBA.

MBA in Operations Management Career Path

While a business degree followed by an MBA is recommended, don’t worry if you’re already employed with a non-business qualification. You can always opt for an executive MBA at Quantic to bridge the gap.

Most MBA programs have six-figure fees – an investment, which usually doesn’t disappoint. Graduates gain an edge over their peers resulting in higher pay and faster promotions.

A winter 2020 report by the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) found MBAs earning average salaries of $115,000 – at least $20,000 more than median figures for other graduates. And the figures are projected to increase.

Research suggests that for an MBA-holding operations manager, salary amounts can be 45% more than others.

Besides business acumen, an MBA in operations teaches students about –

  • Inter-departmental cohesion
  • Data-backed decision-making
  • Complex problem-solving tactics
  • Effective communication methods.

All these skills directly impact responsible leadership abilities, which is why MBA grads often advance faster than their peers.

What Can I Do With an MBA in Operations Management?

The Princeton Review ranks operations among the Most In-Demand MBA Specializations. Here are a few reasons why the degree is worth your time and money.

Aspiring operations managers learn data analysis to formulate long-term strategies. Hiring teams highly value considerable data management skills.

You don many hats, and your job description lists many responsibilities. Manager, IT guy, hiring expert, customer service executive – you’re all in one. Consequently, the accolades you earn are many.

Operations management teaches you teamwork because your duties will need you to oversee several departments and individuals to ensure efficiency and productivity.

It’s a lucrative field for women who comprise over 30% of operations managers in the United States. In 2021, they earned 87% of what their male colleagues did – higher than the 2020 trend of earning 82.3%.

What Is the Scope of an MBA in Operations Management?

An MBA program should be aligned with your expectations and aspirations. There are 3 common paths to earn a degree.

A Dedicated Operations Management MBA

Generally, dedicated courses primarily concern themselves with the internal workings of a corporation. Students learn how to run businesses effectively by:

  • Forecasting sales,
  • Analyzing production techniques,
  • Adhering to quality standards, 
  • Boosting productivity
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction.

Operations management also teaches analytical skills and stresses technological acumen.

Related Programs in Fields Like Supply Chain or Logistics

Supply chain or logistics management focuses on a corporation’s external operations like raw material procurement, storage, and product delivery. An MBA in these disciplines teaches:

  • Negotiation skills to handle vendors and other stakeholders
  • Auditing to evaluate suppliers and manufacturers
  • Resource management
  • Financial acumen to ensure cost optimization

An MBA With Operations Management Modules

Such a program helps graduates build a strong foundation in business administration with enough room for flexibility.

There are courses in business law, finance, accounting, and money markets, besides electives in subjects like HR, logistics, operations, healthcare, and investment banking, to name a few.

Given the generalized job description, this is the best option for aspiring operations managers.

Best MBA to Advance Your Operations Management Career

The right MBA program will be the best thing to happen to your professional life. Pay hikes, promotions, successful entrepreneurial endeavors – an MBA can help you have it all.

With offices progressively migrating to the digital space and embracing a remote work culture, an online MBA is the way to go. If you’re wondering whether hiring teams will accept an online degree, the answer is yes.

At Quantic, we offer a 10-month MBA program and a 12-month executive MBA program; both are taught online. Besides fundamental business courses, we offer specializations in supply chain processes and operations management, imparting skills to meet the job description and fulfill duties as an operations manager.

Our vast interactive network lets you collaborate with classmates from all over the globe and build connections. You also gain access to our career network with multiple job listings from top companies.

Best Companies for Operations Management

While every company requires operations management personnel, 3 firms that have consistently been named among the favorites in the field are –

  1. Management consultants McKinsey & Company — world leaders in almost every practice area they handle.
  2. Financial advisors Deloitte Consulting LLP with most Fortune 500® companies among their clientele
  3. One of the USA’s largest private firms, Boston Consulting Group, who’s also part of Quantic’s career network.

A career as an operations manager might be challenging, but let nothing hold you back on your path to leadership positions. We invite you to find out more about Quantic’s rigorous MBA program with its innovative teaching methods that will prove to be a game-changer.


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