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What is an Operations Management MBAWhat is an Operations Management MBA

The MBA in Operations Management prepares students for careers in manufacturing, merchandizing, distribution and logistics, e-commerce, and consulting. Students specializing in operations typically pursue careers at big firms such as Johnson and Johnson, Universal Studios, Mattel, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, UPS, Black and Decker, Ernst and Julio Gallo, Honeywell, etc. MBA in Operations graduates can also pursue careers at third-party e-commerce retailers like Wayfair, Overstock, Amazon, etc. The career usually begins as a Logistics Analyst, moves into a role in Freight Management, and rises to the level of VP of Operations or COO. Those with a comprehensive understanding of inventory control, shipping rates, and freight technology will differentiate themselves in the job market.

What is the Career Outlook Operations Management MBAWhat is the Career Outlook Operations Management MBA

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 7% through 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth, for the most part, will be driven by the need for logisticians in the transportation of goods in a global economy. Whether it’s third-party retail companies needing to streamline their product shipments or a freight forwarding service looking to export goods across the globe, there will be ample opportunities for those interested in a logistics career.

The supply chain management process is critical to an organization’s on-going success. Companies rely on logistics analysts and freight teams to manage the movement of their products and supplies. Supply and distribution systems have become increasingly more complex as they continue to gain more efficiencies at minimal costs. Supply chain logisticians are responsible for negotiating shipping rates, tracking products, reducing damage rates, and filing claims with carriers. Depending on the type of shipping a company offers (Ground, Truck Freight, White Glove), the more complex the supply chain management system becomes. Employment is expected to grow as companies need experienced logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and streamline supply chain management inefficiencies.

What are Average Salaries Among Operations ManagersWhat are Average Salaries Among Operations Managers

The median annual wage for logisticians is $74,170. The lowest 10% earned less than $45,380, and the highest 10% earned more than $117,310. The type of products, the volume of orders, the complexity of freight software, and the type of delivery service all have an impact on salary for operations employees.

What Can I Do With an MBA in Operations ManagementWhat Can I Do With an MBA in Operations Management

Logisticians held about 148,700 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of logisticians were as follows:

Sector Avg. Salary
Manufacturing – 25%
Federal government – 20%
Professional, scientific, and technical services – 17%
Management of companies and enterprises – 10%
Wholesale trade – 9%

There is no specific industry sector for operations management graduates. Logisticians work in almost every industry. Some freight managers work in the logistics department of a company, others become freight brokers, and some become independent contractors for large consulting firms. As a Logistician, you’re expected to handle complex supply chain management issues all while ensuring safe arrival of a business’s products. Logisticians must ensure that operations stay on schedule, and they must work quickly to solve problems that arise and make sure customer service/sales departments are notified if there’s an issue. In the e-commerce world, the Logistics department has a major impact on customer satisfaction. A delayed or damaged product is the difference between a repeat customer and a negative company review.

What Types of Careers Are Available for an MBA in Operations ManagementWhat Types of Careers Are Available for an MBA in Operations Management

Whether it’s purchasing, transportation, inventory or warehousing, operations managers are responsible for a companies greatest asset: their merchandise. Operations managers are usually team leaders and are responsible for improving packaging, negotiating freight rates, and tracking large shipments as they move through different service stations. Using software systems to plan and track the movement of products, Logisticians have an eye on a company’s cargo. They operate software programs designed specifically for overseeing logistical functions, such as procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems. Operations Managers need to strike the perfect balance between ensuring safe arrival of shipments while protecting the company’s bottom line. The following are other careers involved in the operations process:

  • Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. Purchasing managers oversee the work of buyers and purchasing agents.
  • Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.
  • Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.
  • Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

What Skills Do I Need to be Successful in Operations ManagementWhat Skills Do I Need to be Successful in Operations Management

Sector Description
Communication skills Logisticians need strong communication skills to collaborate with colleagues and do business with suppliers and customers.
Critical-thinking skills Logisticians must develop, adjust, and carry out logistical plans. They often must find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Customer service skills Logisticians must know the needs of their customers in order to coordinate the movement of materials between suppliers and customers. They gain this knowledge through listening to the customer and applying their knowledge of the products and systems to provide what is required.
Organizational skills Logisticians must be able to keep detailed records and simultaneously manage several projects in a fast-paced environment.
Problem-solving skills Logisticians must handle unforeseen issues, such as delivery problems, and adjust plans as needed to resolve the issues.

What Typical Classes Will I Take in My MBA in Operations Management ProgramWhat Typical Classes Will I Take in My MBA in Operations Management Program

  • Business Process Fundamentals. This core course focuses on understanding levers for structuring, managing, and improving a firm’s recurring business processes to achieve competitive advantage in customer responsiveness, price, quality, and variety of products and services.
  • Managing Service Operations. You will learn how to design and improve the service offering for sustained excellence as well as how to identify and overcome key challenges in the service delivery. This course draws ideas not only from operations management, but also from consumer behavior, marketing, and strategy. You will learn to develop a service model encompassing the service offering, the funding mechanism, the employee management system, and the customer management system to analyze both existing and new services.
  • Supply Chain Strategy and Practice. Special emphasis is given to understanding how the business context shapes managerial decisions regarding the strategic design and management of the supply chain, as you examine how to improve the flow of materials and information through this network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
  • Revenue Management. You will learn to identify, formulate, solve, and implement systems for pricing and revenue optimization. You will develop a fundamental understanding of the use of pricing and capacity concepts combined with optimization tools to achieve revenue improvement within the practical context of limited resources and information.

Campus vs. Online MBA in Operations Management ProgramsCampus vs. Online MBA in Operations Management Programs

The flexibility of taking classes anywhere cannot be understated. It offers the most convenient way to obtain your MBA in Operations Management. Since a rather significant part of the Logisticians job responsibilities is managing freight via a company’s logistics platform, an online education can translate extremely well into the real world. With that being said, there are students that need the traditional classroom environment in order to feel engaged in the curriculum. The traditional MBA path is always a viable option.

Each student must weigh their own personal factors in determining whether or not to attend B-School online or on campus. Information technology and eLearning platforms have greatly improved over the past decade – allowing students from all over the world to pursue their MBA. There are nearly 3 million students currently enrolled in full-time online degree programs with approximately 6 million students taking at least one online course during their MBA.

  • The pros of online learning include lower overhead cost which includes online textbooks, dormitory expenses, and commuting cost. The convenience and flexibility of choosing your own times for learning, and the comfort of learning in your own home.
  • The cons of online learning include limited social interaction, computer and software issues as well as the cost of high-speed Internet, often requires the student be self-motivated and disciplined progress through the program.
  • The pros of campus-based learning include face-to-face and in-person interaction with instructors and fellow students, regularly scheduled class hours, use of the school’s library, athletic facilities, and laboratories.
  • The cons of campus-based learning include the requirement to travel to classes, lack of time flexibility, and housing costs.
  • One of the pros of online learning, as it relates to tuition cost, is that a number of schools offer free textbooks online and include these texts in the price of tuition. Textbooks can be sent via a PDF file and case studies are usually uploaded through educational portals like Harvard Business Review.

How Much is Tuition for MBA Operations Management ProgramsHow Much is Tuition for Operations Management MBA Programs

The tuition costs for an MBA in Operations averages $57,995.17 in-state, $70,176.20 out-of-state, and $49,878.10 for online in-state study. Tuition does not include other expenses like living costs. There’s a good $12,600 difference in tuition between out-of-state versus in-state. The benefits of an online program are limited costs associated with living in/around campus and the possibility of no textbook for some courses. With the average salary for Logisticians averaging right around $74,000 per year, students must consider their potential income compared to the amount of student debt they are willing to carry. With the highest MBA in Operations tuition reaching $119,064.00 and the lowest at $9,785.00, it’s definitely smart to consider graduate employment rates before making a final decision.

Campus Tuition

Online Tuition

GMAT Scores for MBA Operations Management ProgramsGMAT Scores for Operations Management MBA Programs

The average on-campus GMAT score for MBA in Operations students is 612 compared to the average online GMAT score of 621. With only 11 online MBA in Operations programs in the U.S. these numbers may be a bit scewed. It’s important to note that not all schools require a GMAT, but most of the competitive insitution want to measure their applicants analytical skills prior to rendering a decision. There are other factors outside of a GMAT score that go into B-School admission decisions: Undergraduate GPA, Personal Statement, Professional Experience, etc. However, a solid GMAT score certainly helps gain acceptance into top-tiered programs.

Campus GMAT Scores

Online GMAT Scores

Student / Faculty Ratio for Operations Management MBA ProgramsStudent / Faculty Ratio for Operations Management MBA Programs

The importance of a Student/Faculty ratio depends entirely on the student’s ideal learning environment. For aspiring MBA students who want mentorship by way of faculty support, a smaller Student/Faculty ratio is important. For those who don’t mind lecture halls and large classrooms, then a larger Student/Faculty ratio may be ok. The best on-campus MBA Student/Faculty ratio is 0.27 compared to the worst ratio at 14.37. Since online MBA programs rely heavily on faculty participation, student blackboard collaboration and eLearning interaction, it may be more beneficial to have smaller classrooms where the professor is more engaged. Best online MBA Student/Faculty ratio is 1.01 compared to the worst online MBA Student/Faculty ratio of 8.35. Once again, really depends on your preference.

Campus Student/Faculty Ratio

Online Student/Faculty Ratio

Student Population for MBA Operations Management ProgramsStudent Population for Operations Management MBA Programs

Whether it’s on-campus recruting via annual job fairs, designated team assignments, or applying to summer operations internships, student population plays an important role in your studies. An on-campus MBA program with 22 students enrolled is a big difference to a program with 1,320 students. Being “just a number” may not be acceptable to certain MBA students and to others, the more heavy the competition, the better they perform. The average full-time online MBA enrollment is 353. Online students interact with fellow students via Blackboard/eLearning platform that allows for seamless collaboration. This may be a bit more difficult if there is a larger online presence versus a more intimate smaller MBA course.

Campus Enrollment

Online Enrollment

Student Population from the United States for Operation Management MBA ProgramsStudent Population from the United States for Operation Management MBA Programs

An MBA program should have a nice balance of international students and domestic students. In the global economy, the strength of a company usually depends on its diversity, especially when its stakeholders are culturally diverse. The MBA program with the smallest percentage of students from the U.S. is 50.38% compared to a program with 95.33% of the student population from the U.S.. The average online percentage of students from the U.S. is 77.57%. Since Logisticians work with global freight carriers, international shipping companies, and suppliers from across the world, MBA in Operations programs would benefit from a diverse international student population. Having access to alumni from other countries can become a valuable asset for networking. This is especially true for the Operations concentration.

Campus Global Enrollment

Online Global Enrollment

Faculty Information for Operations Management MBA ProgramsFaculty Information for Operations Management MBA Programs

Business professors are not just teachers but mentors. They are industry influencer, experienced professionals, and a great resource for networking outside the classroom. They are on the front lines of the latest industry research and are up-to-date on operational management trends. The quality of an MBA program is directly related to the credentials of its faculty. A perfect balance between industry experience and doctrate degrees is a clear cut sign that the B-School is serious about its MBA program. The average number of on-campus full-time MBA faculty is 93 compared to an average of 111 professors in part-time programs. The average on-campus and online full-time faculty with doctorate degrees is 86.

Campus Faculty Numbers

Online Faculty Numbers

List of Campus and Online MBA Operations Management ProgramsList of Campus and Online MBA Operations Management Programs

  • The number of on-campus MBA Operations Management programs offered: 32
  • The number of online MBA Operations Management programs offered: 11

There are 32 on-campus MBA programs in Operations Management compared to 11 online programs. With a limited supply of MBA in Operations programs, there may be some heavy competition from the applicant pool. With that being said, there are certainly other majors that fit nicely into a business student interested in an operations career: Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Accounting, Information Systems. If networking is a big reason for attending an MBA program, it’s highly recommended to research job fair information, percentage of graduates employed, and the job market where your B-School is located. Most likely you will be recruited by local logistics, online retial, and fortune 500 companies needing recent operations graduates.

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About Michael J. Marquis

Michael J. Marquis is a Portland, Maine-based freelance copywriter and MBA-graduate who loves writing about disruptive technology. When he's not exploring interesting parts of the world, you can find him at either Gillette Stadium watching his beloved New England Patriots or at a local Portland coffee shop working on his next copywriting assignment. Feel free to find Mike on Twitter @MarquisInteract.