Overseeing Every Detail of Business: Operations Management

Operations managers oversee entire aspects of an organizations business, for example, production operations or the company’s supply chain operations. Some company CEO’s also have operations management backgrounds.

You will need a strong grounding in business basics, including finance, accounting, business law and organizational behavior. You may want to add specialized areas of interest such as supply chain management or international operations, which will have additional required coursework

You may be required to negotiate and manage contracts with key suppliers and partners, or to oversee large numbers of an organization’s workforce. Most operations managers have responsibility for an organizations P&L (profit and loss).

An inclination for detail and order is a key trait for those wishing to earn a degree in operations management. As the driving force behind any corporate entity, an operations manager is expected to devise, implement and coordinate activities within an organization with most of these skills attainable from an accredited online school.

Operations Management Degree Information

In addition to basic business courses, you will be required to study supply chain and logistics management, international business, decision support analytics and management of inventory and production resources.

You can earn operations management degrees at the Associate, Bachelor’s or Master’s level. The highest levels of operations management usually require a Master’s degree, often an MBA.

Online Operations Management Curriculum

Operational management requires a good understanding of how an entire organization works together, so you will require a broad base of business courses. You will major in business with a specialization in operations management, which means you will need to take courses in accounting, economics, finance, management, organizational psychology, and marketing.

Beyond the basics of business, you will want to add courses in business law and contract management, supply chain and logistics management, and inventory and production control. International business and finance are important because most companies have global operations.

Earning a Degree Online

It is easily possible to earn an operations management degree entirely online. You can complete the online degree program in whatever time frame meets your schedule, although an Associate’s degree generally takes two years, while a bachelor’s takes four years.

Even if you plan to go on to earn a Master’s degree in operations management, you should earn your bachelor’s in Business Administration so you have grounding in key concepts and skills.

online education is a great choice if you have already started your career and want to branch out, or if you live very far away from good schools offering the program you need.

Bachelor’s

You can shorten the time it takes to earn your Bachelor’s degree by taking courses during the summer or during semester breaks.

You should plan to take as many accounting and finance courses as you can fit in to your curriculum, since operations managers need to be adept at reading, but not preparing, a company’s financial statements.

Specialized courses in warehouse management, supply chain, contract negotiation, and inventory management will give you skills required in your future role.

Master’s

A master’s level degree for operations management is an MBA. You will take more in-depth courses in decision support, economics, financial analysis and organizational behavior. You will be required to analyze case studies, and perhaps submit both group and solo cap stone projects. You can tailor your master’s program to reflect your areas of interest, such as supply chain management or international operations.

Many companies view a Master’s degree as a requirement for top-level operations management roles.

An MBA program requires 18 months to two years to complete.

Further Education

You may choose to pursue a PhD in operations management. This allows for greater specialization in your area of interest. This degree will prepare you for top management roles in a company, or for teaching operations management at the university level.

Coursework

Your courses will center around business courses, including organizational behavior, accounting, finance, economics, negotiation and, operations research and decision support. You will want to include courses in areas of particular interest to you such as supply chain management or production management.

Career Opportunities

Operations management roles exist in every type and size of organization. You may choose to specialize in international business, purchasing and contract management, labor negotiations or supply chain management, among many other areas.

An inclination for detail and order is a key trait for those wishing to earn a degree in operations management. As the driving force behind any corporate entity, an operations manager is expected to devise, implement and coordinate activities within an organization, with most of these skills attainable from an accredited online school.

Earning Potential

Wages for operations management roles ranges from a low of $47,000 per year to nearly $200,000 per year depending on the organizational level and the size of the organization. There are operational management opportunities in every state and in a variety of industries.

According to US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics, top operational management employment is growing at about 5 percent per year. Industrial operations management growth is expected to be about 9 percent as companies put more emphasis on improving the efficiency of the organization.

Operations Management Degree FAQ

What Characteristics Should an Operations Manager possess?

A graduate of a degree in operations management will be expected to show an ability to communicate clearly and concisely, strong leadership skills as well as an eye and head for problem-solving.

What Career Options Can I Pursue an Operations Management Degree?

Graduates can expect to move into management roles within private or nonprofit organizations. Among other roles they can work as production controllers overseeing the supply chain. Most others can develop into industrial relations managers, CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) and in some cases, sit at the helm of an organization as the CEO.

Must I Have A Master’s Degree For Success In Operations Management?

An MBA may be required for operations management positions at the highest levels of an organization, but you can enjoy an exciting and interesting career in mid-range operations roles such as supply chain manager or manufacturing operations manager.

What Types Of Organizations Have Operations Management Roles?

Any organization, whether profit or nonprofit, may have operations management roles, but the emphasis will differ. Manufacturing companies may have roles that focus on inventory or supply chain management, while nonprofits may consider fundraising to be the operations management focus. An operations management degree is a versatile credential that will enable you to enjoy a lucrative and rewarding career in a variety of organizations.

Related Sections

More Schools and Programs