MBA Jobs: Business Operations Manager
Operations management is a field that’s key to business. While it has nothing to do with operations in a medical sense—obviously, this is an MBA website after all—the field’s multidisciplinary nature may make it difficult to understand at first. So let’s get to it!
What Is Operations Management?
Operations management is the backbone of a well-run business and a popular MBA specialization. Operations managers are tasked with planning, organizing and supervising in the production, manufacturing or the provision of services that a company provides. In a production-based industry, this job is extremely important. The job also includes hiring new employees, negotiating contracts, addressing budget matters, understanding general business operations and guiding employees’ company projects.
The job really boils down to supply chain management and logistics. Supply chain management is the management of the flow of goods and services and involves the movement and storage of materials, inventory and finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Logistics is the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving many people, facilities or supplies.
With that in mind, an operations manager’s duties include acquiring goods or services, managing relations with vendors and clients and improving a company’s sustainability. Those in charge of this aspect of a business must understand every facet of the company and must be very organized.
Some Employment/Salary Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), operations management employment is projected to grow 7 percent between now and 2024—growth that will be driven by the creation of new businesses. During that period, an additional 151,100 jobs will need to be filled.
Operations managers also have one of the highest-paying occupations in the United States, according to the BLS. Operations managers earned a median of $97,730 in 2015, with the highest-paid 10 percent earning more than $187,200 per year and the lowest-paid earning less than $44,190. The best-paying jobs are typically found in the Northeast.
According to Bloomberg, while salaries for MBAs taking operations management jobs after graduation are almost never as high as the salaries that consultants and banking associates receive at first, there is room to grow. Operations managers are highly visible—if a company succeeds, it’s often because of the performance of the operations manager. In other words, perform well and you’ll be rewarded handsomely.
What type of companies can an MBA focused on operations management expect to work for? Well, really any any production-based company—and some of world’s biggest companies regularly recruit interns in operations, supply chain management and logistics positions. Some of these top employers include:
- Bank of America
- Goldman Sachs
- HP (Hewlett-Packard)
- JP Morgan
Operations Management Degree Programs
Many operations managers have a bachelor’s degree or an MBA. For those with MBAs, many business schools offer specialized operations management programs or concentrations. Specializations in logistics or supply chain management are also helpful. These specialized degree programs often emphasize the importance of strategic thinking, focus on globalized industry trends and help make students aware of any financial regulations or political uncertainties that could impact an organization.
Examples of business schools in the United States that offer an MBA with the ability to specialize in operations management include:
- Harvard Business School
- Sloan School of Management – MIT
- The Wharton School
- Stanford University Graduate School of Business
- Chicago Booth
Here’s how Chicago Booth describes its Operation Management MBA:
We approach operations by examining the impact of management decisions on the day-to-day running of a company, as well as the reverse: how the daily workings affect management decisions. Through this two-way lens, you will learn to successfully manage an organization’s resources—its human capital, plants and facilities, processes, machinery and technology, raw materials, and other “inputs”—in order to maximize the four value creators: time, price, quality and variety. In learning to combine concepts, models and data to develop better systems, you will be equipped to make better operations decisions.
Booth students pursuing an Operation Management MBA will take classes such as “Business Process Fundamentals,” “Healthcare Management Analytics Lab,” “Managerial Decision Modeling” and “Revenue Management.”