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Top 4 Careers for Operations Management Graduates

 |  4 Min Read

Operations management is one of the most important components of running a business. According to Forbes, operations management professionals are just as important as front-facing professionals such as marketing and salespeople, yet operations management professionals might not grab headlines on a regular basis.1 These employees help deliver innovative products to consumers around the world in a cost-effective and timely manner.

What is Operations Management?

Operations management is a core aspect of business. It is responsible for several key functions of a business, including:

  • Managing logistical processes and the overall supply chain
  • Overseeing production and assuring product quality
  • Initiating and building relationships with vendors
  • Ordering, warehousing and managing the flow of materials 

Operations management ensures that the business’s day-to-day operations are working as efficiently as possible for the company to achieve its objectives.

How to Launch an Operations Management Career

Certain individuals are ideally suited for a career in operations management. For those who feel they fit this category, getting the right education is essential. The most common path is to earn a bachelor’s degree in business followed by an MBA in operations management online. There are a number of tracks a graduate could pursue that would ultimately lead them to successful career opportunities.

The following are four of the top career paths for individuals interested in operations management:

The business operations management career path is perhaps the best known and obvious track for those interested in operations management. This position oversees activities such as planning, budgeting and scheduling to support the production of high-quality products at an acceptable cost and within time constraints. The business operations manager must make sure that the quality of products and services, and the cost of production, align with the business’s strategic goals. According to U.S. News & World Report, operations management jobs will grow by an estimated 9.4% between 2020 and 2030, and the median salary was $103,650 in 2020. The top 25% of earners in this career path earn $161,190 or more.2

Purchasing management is similar to operations management. However, this career path focuses on purchasing raw materials and other supplies that a company needs. A major part of the job responsibilities is negotiating and comparing offers to ensure that the company procures the best quality material at the best possible price. Purchasing managers are also responsible for ensuring that goods and services are delivered on schedule.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary in this career path is $72,270 per year, with the highest-paid 10% earning as much as $112,170.3

The primary responsibilities of a materials management career lie in the production and storage of finished goods and the logistical considerations involved in transporting those goods between departments or distribution centers, warehouses, and customers. Materials managers are also responsible for ensuring that the proper goods are purchased or produced.

According to the BLS, the median salary for materials managers (or logisticians) is $76,270 per year. The job outlook from 2020 to 2030 projects 30% growth – significantly higher than the overall job market.4 This versatile career path will, without a doubt, offer many opportunities in the coming years.

For those who wish to focus on operations management from a more theoretical perspective, the operations research analyst career path can be an attractive one. Individuals in this career path are primarily responsible for determining the best allocation of a company’s assets and resources. These resources can include hard assets and typically include human resources, time, capital and a number of other industry-specific resources. Individuals in this job are also responsible for assessing the current and future costs associated with those resources.

The BLS states that the median pay for operations research analysts is $86,200 per year, and the job outlook is for an astounding 25% growth between 2020 and 2030.5

What Path Will You Take?

These are just four of the main paths those interested in operations management can take. The operations management career outlook is positive and can be an excellent profession for those who are highly organized and enjoy the planning and scheduling of activities related to the creation and on-time delivery of quality products at an acceptable cost.

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