The Operations Management MBA

The Operations Management MBA

Msters in Operations management The Operations Management MBA

Many people believe they can be more effective and more comfortable in management if they get a Masters Business Administration (MBA). Having completed a bachelor’s degree in one of many possible business disciplines, many people go right into the workforce and many go right to a master’s program.An Operations Manager (OM) is responsible for the processes a business uses to produce and finance its goods and services. In many cases, there is a plant process manager and a business or fiscal manager. This divides responsibilities into two areas: production and monetary, the latter including sales.

MBA curricula offer courses that intensify the knowledge a candidate gets from the bachelor track. The most common OPMBA is the production track. This person leads a department, plant or entire company in the production and flow of goods and services. Every candidate for OPMBA will have completed core business courses in undergraduate school. This MBA is an exciting career choice because the management of flow is one of the explicit areas through which companies are trying to gain a competitive advantage. They are using two key components (among others) to bring their businesses to the top: going global and going green.

Globalization means the MBA student might include international logistics, foreign languages and Eurasian manufacturing in his or her curriculum. Every large company involved in imports or exports needs to expand its knowledge of these critical 21st century business environments. All this information helps companies design and develop products for sale in a global market. Be sure to take courses in international import and export law.

Companies that can combine the newest technologies for manufacturing with the latest green technologies are gaining ground in the eyes of an increasingly “environmentally aware” buying public. The MBA candidate can now become involved in alternative energy industries, developing a better wind turbine or more powerful electric car. The OPMBA can also get involved in making fossil fuels safer and cleaner, another key feature of green companies.

As far as manufacturing is concerned, each plant is a microcosm of the environment itself: people are working and eating in a building where every kind of manufacturing process is going on. Safety, reliability and health concerns are all at the bottom of “the greening” of industry. Every operation in the plant plays a role in helping to eliminate waste and use resources more wisely. Keeping machinery maintained and electrical systems up to date are some of the responsibilities that could be assigned to an operations manager.

For those planning a career in manufacturing, universities offer BS degrees in several major plant functions, including a degree in manufacturing engineering. Schools like the University of Michigan offer special MBA programs. One is the MSOP/MBA master’s degree combining, officially the Master of Science in Manufacturing Operations / Master of Business Administration. Coursework for these includes a heavy dose of worldwide logistics and lean manufacturing, and perhaps Six Sigma training.

One big consideration for an MBA is taking a wide outlook and talking to people with a lot of experience in your chosen field. Don’t think five or ten years out, try to think twenty-five out and more. While formal education can never be a bad thing, certain people are “more right” than others for pursuing advanced manufacturing degrees. In addition, studies has shown that MBA increases life time earnings by 20-30% in comparison to BA degree. Therefore, it can be a smart investment.  Here is a link to our recent article on MBA and its effect on earnings vs experience.


Kriss Williams

Operations Education Specialist