Operations management: Explore careers and the value of an online BS in Management

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A career in management can lead to a wide array of roles in business. Based on specific interests, a bachelor’s degree in management can lay the foundation for a more specialized professional path. As one such option, operations management may appeal to those who enjoy detail-oriented work that supports productivity and customer satisfaction.

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Also known as business managers, facility managers, operations directors, plant managers or general managers, operations managers focus on the production of goods or services within an organization, working to ensure what their company products meet and exceed customer expectations. As a result, they often engage in a variety of functional areas of management, from administration to personnel to purchasing.

Responsibilities of a business operations manager

According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average operations manager salary is around $123,000. Growth in this area is expected at a rate slightly above the average for all jobs between 2016 and 2026, paving the way for an estimated 205,000 new opportunities. These are a few reasons why U.S. News & World Report ranks operations manager jobs eighth out of all business positions.

Duties in this role vary based on the needs of the specific organization, but overall, responsibilities consist of tasks aligned with planning, directing, and coordinating the operations of a company. A typical operations manager job description can include:

  • Overseeing budgets
  • Ensuring operations run smoothly and effectively
  • Assisting with the creation of sales and profit goals
  • Maintaining safety and complying with rules and regulations
  • Formulating policies that relate to usage of materials and human resources

Essential skills for operations managers

Excelling in the daily tasks for operations manager jobs requires a combination of skills, experience, and education. While most activities focus on planning, directing, and coordinating the general operations of an organization, having strong interpersonal skills is equally essential to being a highly organized, detail-oriented manager. However, it all starts with the right educational background, and a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as management, is almost always required for operations managers, according to PayScale.

Strong leadership skills center on an individual’s ability to effectively interact with employees and others with a stake in the business. Operations managers should also have strong communication skills, which include not only writing and speaking clearly but also listening closely to others. Operations managers can be responsible for conducting employee performance reviews as well as meeting with labor union representatives, community members and even government officials. This makes it imperative to have the ability to confidently and appropriately share professional knowledge related to an organization’s operations with any audience.

Because the role of an operations manager involves implementing policies and procedures aligned with ever-changing organizational goals and government regulations, continual education can impact professional success. Following market trends related to a specific industry along with changes in government rules and regulations ensures operational goals are constantly modified to fit the market while also maintaining proper procedures as they relate to labor laws, safety requirements, and environmental issues.

Another component to an operations manager’s skill set includes relevant technical acumen. Specific software geared toward data analysis and analytics, accounting, business intelligence, customer relationship management, and facilities management can all be used within an organization. Having fluency with software of this type can help improve the efficiency of an operations manager.

Management with a concentration in operations

Focusing higher education in an area such as management can help prepare for a role as an operations manager since hiring managers almost always require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Oftentimes, a bachelor’s degree in management offers a concentration in operations, providing an opportunity to enhance general management abilities while focusing on the specifics of operations. In these programs, students can develop a tangible set of skills to use as they enter the business world.

Many courses in a bachelor’s in management program apply to business in general and careers in operations management, including:

  • Organizational behavior: Students gain insight into the theories of human motivation to inspire happy and productive employees interested in maintaining operations that are safe and effective.
  • Managing through leadership: At its core, leadership is a theory, and understanding the concept can give students insight to becoming a good leader.
  • Employment law: Understanding the impact legislation, regulations and court decisions have on many parts within an organization, from safety to Social Security, can help managers develop better practices and procedures within operations.
  • Supply chain management: As an integral piece within the supply chain, students learn how operations ties into supply management.

Earning a bachelor’s in management

Focused on helping students meet their management potential, the online Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat Schools of Business gives you an opportunity to develop specialized management strategies applicable in multiple industries. You can build your business expertise and increase your potential to grow your career in areas like operations management by engaging in study around organizational, communication, and leadership skills. Through this fully online program, you have the ability to earn your bachelor’s degree in management while having the flexibility to balance coursework with other life responsibilities.

Preparation for a career in operations management starts with the right education choices. To learn more about the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online Bachelor of Science in Management degree, reach out to an enrollment advisor today.

Recommended Reading:

How earning a bachelor’s degree can give you opportunities for exciting careers

Online Blazers Study Abroad – Shawn Melampy

Why internships can be beneficial for online students


Operations Manager by PayScale

Business Operations Manager Overview by U.S. World and News Report

Employment Projections — Occupational projections and worker characteristics by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Employment Statistics — General and Operations Managers by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Summary Report for General and Operations Managers by O*Net Online

Online Bachelor of Science in Management – University of Alabama at Birmingham