Online Master's Degrees in Operations Management
An online master’s in operations management helps students develop specialized expertise and leadership skills in the production of goods and services. Individuals can earn either a Master of Science (MS) degree or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in operations management. Both programs help to provide the training needed to manage personnel and inventory efficiently, ultimately increasing a company’s cash flow through streamlined operations. Students also learn about the interconnectivity of global markets and various techniques in conflict resolution.
What Does a Master’s Degree Program in Operations Management Entail?
Both the MS and MBA emphasize universal business practices such as finance budgeting and resource allocation. The main difference between the two degree programs is that the MS focuses on teaching theory as it applies to managing personnel and production processes, while the MBA focuses on teaching management theory as it applies to business administration as a whole. The curriculum for each degree may have a few overlapping courses, but classes can differ depending on the chosen program. Both degrees normally take about two years of full-time study to complete.
Possible courses in MS in Operations Management programs:
- Critical Thinking in Management: Students are tasked with honing their critical thinking skills through analysis of case studies. By developing evidence-based solutions to the presented scenarios, students are better able to transfer their knowledge to real-world situations. For example, if a firm needs to fill open positions, the hiring manager must diligently sift through resumes and interview information in order to make well-informed decisions. A manager can define minimum standards and set expectations of each specific opening, then work with other department heads to agree on the best candidate for each role.
- Resolving Conflicts: This course trains students on how to handle disputes, helping to develop critical listening, bargaining strategy, and negotiation skills. Students may participate in role-play exercises with peers in order to practice these skills. For example, a manager of a department store may have two employees who do not like to work together. In speaking to each employee about the dispute, the manager can learn both perspectives and come to a just compromise, enabling a healthier work environment.
Possible courses in MBA programs with an operations management concentration:
- Global Leadership and Management: Students study various management styles and techniques, discussing the benefits of the different theories. To prepare for the global marketplace, students learn to communicate with foreign cultures and societies through case studies, analyzing useful methods of feedback and practicing them in class discussion forums. The additional awareness and sensitivity to other cultures’ norms helps avoid possible social faux pas when interacting with them.
- Marketing Analysis: Students learn about the connections between successful marketing strategies and business management, including how to make decisions based on incomplete or fluctuating market information. Students develop strategies on how to price products depending on the target demographic as well as promotional tactics to differentiate themselves from competitors’ products. For example, if organic foods were found to be more popular among affluent individuals, local organic meat suppliers could likely charge premium prices for their products.
In addition to the core curriculum, students may need to complete a number of specialization courses, including project management, corporate finance and international business. Students interested in people-oriented positions may opt for coursework in human resources to learn how to hire and train employees, and how to manage payroll and benefits. Prospective students should check with an academic advisor about possible courses.
Career Outlook for Graduates of Master’s Degree Programs in Operations Management
A master’s degree in operations management helps graduates apply the theories and practices that can promote a more productive workplace. For individuals working in the health services industry, earning a master’s in operations management could lead to a potential career as a health services manager. This occupation helps improve the quality of health care delivery, finance management, compliance regulations, and schedule coordination. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012), health services management positions are expected to grow by about 22 percent nationwide between 2010 and 2020.
Professionals working toward their MBA may use the degree as a catalyst to switch into a consultant role as management analysts. Individuals in this occupation help companies become more efficient by analyzing the organization and providing possible solutions to observed inefficiencies. According to bls.gov, management analyst positions are expected to grow around 22 percent nationwide from 2010 through 2020. A bachelor’s degree is the entry-level requirement, but many firms prefer their analysts have an MBA.
"Management Analysts," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm
"Medical and Health Services Managers," OOH (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm
Online Degree Programs in Operations Management
Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.
A degree from CTU can connect you to what matters most: powerful professional network, faculty who are real-world professionals and innovative technology. So once you earn your degree you hit the ground sprinting. Are you in?
At AIU, the Serious U, you can get in, get it done, and get ahead.
- MBA - Operations Management
- MBA - Project Management
Want to study at a UK university without leaving your house? The University of Liverpool offers online Masters and Doctoral programmes.
Work toward your graduate degree with New England College Online.
Capella courses focus on real-world application, so you’ll gain skills and knowledge you can apply right away.
Thanks to Florida Tech offering intensive degree programs 100% online, students located all over the world have the opportunity to access the same world-class education as those who attend classes on the main campus in Melbourne, Florida.
- Master of Science in Supply Chain Management
- MBA Project Management