Delving Into the Operations Management Major
The operations management major will require a good number of courses in business management, including inventory management, management theory and practices, process management, operations analysis, and total quality management. In a course like total quality management, a student would learn how to ensure high-quality production through defining benchmarks for quality and utilizing probability, sampling, charting, and other statistical tools. Of course, marketing and accounting courses like managerial accounting, marketing and logistics, and product development will prove to be very helpful on the field as well.
In addition, mathematics and abstraction courses like systems modeling, systems simulation, linear programming, linear applications, and computer modeling are extremely invaluable. A systems modeling course would teach students a precise and abstract way of specifying the informational and time characteristics of a data processing problem. While most projects for students will be hypothetical problems; the more complex ones being the larger projects that will probably require a presentation while others will simply come in the form of tests.
Students may also find work experience in research projects through their university or through internships with companies located near the school. Ideally, the best internship or project would have a visible connection with the company’s success and allow the student to assist in project management decisions that have an impact.
The reading material for this major will be almost exclusively textbooks, either related to business or modeling. There is, however, the off chance that a professor may throw in a current article related to the industry.
An associate degree in operations management provides students with an overview of the field and prepares them for further training in the field. The curriculum at the associate level generally revolves around foundational liberal arts education, including coursework in composition, mathematics, humanities, arts, humanities, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and sciences.
Students also learn introductory concepts in operations management, including project management, marketing strategy, and production and distribution of goods. An associate degree in management prepares students for advanced degrees in operations management and related majors, such as business management.
Students who decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in operations management will learn various concepts related to the logistics for business production and operations. The curriculum seeks to provide students with an in-depth understanding of how the individual pieces of a business work together to create results.
Coursework may include classes on principles of finance, principles of marketing, design and control of operations, database structures, and quantitative business analyses. Students also learn how to identify a bottleneck in production and recommend a fix. Completing this four-year degree will prepare students to handle various aspects of business operations and enable them to delve into management careers.
A master’s degree in operations management prepares working professionals for executive-level management positions. These programs are usually offered as master’s degrees in business administration with specializations in operations management. The main objective of the master’s curriculum is to provide students with a thorough understanding of organizational behavior.
Students at this level can also specialize in such areas as human resource management and business management. Core courses at this academic level may include classes on human behavior, ethics in leadership, project planning, quantitative analysis, and quality management. Students who graduate with a master’s degree in operations management can go on to pursue management careers in manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and a wide array of other fields.
A doctorate degree in operations management is the highest level of training available to working professionals who want to become effective managers. This academic level is also ideal for researchers who wish to deepen their understanding of the psychological and sociological behavior of business-oriented settings, as well as the ins and outs of its operations.
The Ph.D. curriculum may include research in the following areas: human capital, organizational research, operational planning, and business acquisition. A doctorate degree in management is a highly challenging but rewarding academic pursuit for students who wish to become tenured faculty or researchers within an institution.
Supplementing Your Operations Management Major
An operations management degree gives students the flexibility to pursue additional training in related fields. Professionals in the field of business management and operations management typically govern a group of people. They supervise various projects and manage the day-to-day operations of an organization. Additional training would prove useful to operations management degree holders. To be considered for an executive leadership position, specialized schooling or management training may be necessary.
Area of specialization will depend on the career needs of the student. Those seeking general and top level executive management positions will need a master’s degree and a concentration in human resources management. Students specializing in human resource management may be required to demonstrate a wide range of personal and professional skills. These specialists must speak and write effectively, sometimes using a wide array of digital communication devices. Thus, electives in mass communication may prove valuable.
Industrial management specialists will need a strong background in industrial relations or labor relations. Common career pathways include positions as directors of operations, operations managers, directors of development, operations analysts, quality control specialists, production managers, logistics managers, labor relations specialists, and logistics managers. In niche industries, job opportunities may include food service managers and assistant managers.
Learn More About the Operations Management Major
- About.com’s Top MBA Schools: Operations Management
- Operations Management
- Economic Analysis for Business Decisions
- Journal of Management
The Operations Management Major in the Job Market
Top-level executives enjoy a relatively stable job growth and continue to find themselves valuable to their organizations. Getting a degree in operations management should allow students to take the next step in their careers and a salary increase will result from a higher level of education, experience, and expertise. All business positions will be available for a student with a degree in operations management, from consulting and managing to production design and directing marketing departments.
Operations managers can move into administrative positions as well with their ability to oversee large business operations. An average salary for an operations manager is around $88,000 with higher earning potential depending on the area of business and the amount of experience. According to the Eller College of Management, information systems managers earned an average of $55,000 in 2008, while logistics managers earned $49,000.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average compensation for a junior management consultant is $40,000 a year. Senior consultants average $61,000 to $80,250 a year in earnings. Principal consultants and senior executive vice presidents are compensated in the range of $107,000 to $235,135.
As in most industries, salaries will be higher in metro areas where the top 10% of executive managers make well over $120,000 annually. Actual salaries will vary based on size of company, geographical location, and work experience.