Operations Management MBA Graduates: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to work in operations management. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Operations Manager?

An operations manager is in charge of the general operations of a business or organization. This includes daily operation, necessary resources, policies and administration. They may work in tandem with other management personnel, such as human resource managers, administration, and purchasing managers.

A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in operations management prepares you to work as a business professional controlling the production and distribution of goods and services. This graduate degree program combines courses in supply chain management, manufacturing systems, logistics, information management and quality control with typical business courses in finance, economics and project management. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career in operations management is right for you.

Degree Required Master's degree preferred by most employers
Education Field of Study Engineering, computer science, math, or physics
Key Skills Analytical, critical thinking, math, and problem solving skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 30% for operations research analysts*
Median Salary (2015) $78,630 for operations research analysts*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Certifications Do I Need?

If you're interested in being certified in operations management, the Association for Operations Management offers professional certifications in production and inventory management and in supply chain management (www.apics.org). The Institute for Supply Management offers a Certified Professional in Supply Management Program (www.ism.ws). Certification from both associations is granted after successfully taking an exam. Although certifications are desired by some employers, they are not required for all jobs.

What Careers are Available?

With an MBA in Operations Management, your job may be at the top-level of a business managing all operations or it may be focused on one specific operations function. For instance, you might consider a job as top-level manager or director of operations. In this type of job you will be a top executive making policy and planning decisions. You will also coordinate with department managers in your company.

If focusing on just one aspect of operations interests you, you may choose a career in inventory control, supply chain management or operations management engineering. As an inventory control manager, you would order and receive supplies and reconcile inventory statements to ensure that you have adequate amounts of your product to sell.

As a supply-chain manager you would be in charge of forecasting your company's material and service needs and coordinating with all business departments to make your business as cost efficient and profitable as possible. Strategic planning for needs such as warehousing and transportation will likely be part of your job.

Operations management engineers concentrate on manufacturing processes and on developing and designing products. If you choose this type of career, you should have an undergraduate degree related to engineering. Other jobs available to you after you complete an MBA in Operations Management include operations, logistics and inventory analyst. Operations analysts work with companies to evaluate business functions and recommend business process improvements.

How Much Could I Expect to Earn?

The type of operations management job you take will dictate your salary level. According to Salary.com in 2017, as an inventory control analyst, your median annual income might be $40,029. If you are a general or operations manager, your median yearly salary might be $97,730, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Education matters in this type of job. With an MBA in hand, you might make more than your colleagues with only a bachelor's degree.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Many companies typically have a variety of different positions that are similar to operations managers. Administrative managers are usually in charge of such factors as records, basic supplies, correspondence and workplace upkeep and safety. Compensation and benefits managers ensure that employees receive the pay, health insurance, retirement plans, and any other benefits offered by the company. Sales managers are in charge of sales personnel, setting sales quotas and tracking customer preferences to optimize sales. These three careers require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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