What Can I Do With an MBA in Operations?

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - April 23, 2018
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As the US economy is gathering steam, more companies are expanding operations and more are opening across the country. To get products where they need to be efficiently and profitably, more skilled operations professionals are being hired by companies both large and small. Some of these occupations are seeing demand surge as high as 27% in the next several years.

If you are considering an operations MBA degree, below are some of the best career opportunities available.

#1 Business Operations Manager

Business operations managers are very important people in many businesses of various sizes. Operations is, after all, the heart of most companies; the operations department is the one that really gets the product built or the service created and put out on the marketplace.They work closely with various department managers and workers to coordinate efforts to meet many business goals.

See Business Operations Manager Salary

All businesses need business operations managers who frequently have an MBA finance background. Some of their typical work duties are:

  • Hiring people for various positions
  • Negotiating business contracts and addressing quarterly and annual budgets
  • Make strategic decisions about what customers will want to buy and what they will pay for them
  • Create company policies that help staff to work more efficiently

Business operations manager is a hot job, according to US News and World Report, and is currently their 5th best business job. Most business operations managers have an MBA either in operations or finance or a related field. If you want to get a leg up on the competition, consider getting a certification from the Association for Operations Management. Having this type of certification can help you to stand out from other applicants.

The median salary in this occupation is $99,300 with the top 25% earning $155,000 per year.

#2 Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts are high level problem solvers who use optimization, data mining and statistical analysis to devise solutions that help organizations in various industries to operate in an efficient and cost effective manner.

See Operations Analyst Salary Outlook

For instance, UPS, uses operations research professionals to chart how packages flow across regions and the country. This provides real time guidance to drivers and assists with planning and managing product distribution. In health care, operations research is used by major hospitals such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to design a new radiation treatment plan for cancer patients by using advanced modeling and computation methods.

Decisions Affecting Profits and Efficiency

Essentially, operations management professionals give businesses vital insights for making high level decisions that affect profits and efficiency. It is effectively decision guidance; businesses want to get maximum value from big data and analytics investments, and they rely on operations research analysts and managers with an MBA to take that data from raw form and make the right decisions with it.

See 10 Best Online Data Analytics Degrees

Operations research actually came into being during World War II, but it is now an essential part of how many businesses across the world operate now. Operations research professionals can be found across industries today, from manufacturing to finance to most government agencies. This can be seen in the strong growth potential in the field: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there will be 27% increase in jobs from 2016 to 2026 in this profession. BLS expects at least 30,000 of these jobs to be available, and many will go to people with advanced business degrees.

US News and World Report states this is the #10 best business job in America today, with a median salary of $79,200. The top 25% make above $105,000 per year.

#3 Management Analyst

Management analysts or management consultants are hired to improve the efficiency of a company and to boost profits. Management consultants are skilled in collecting and analyzing data about how a company works, and then recommend changes that reduce costs or increase revenue. Management consultants frequently give their recommendations in written or oral reports, which can help the business to implement these recommendations.

See Management Analyst Salary Outlook

Management analysts help to make the business better at whatever they do. Part of this work is giving excellent advice to businesses that need to address challenges to become more competitive in the marketplace, and to do this by bringing a fresh perspective. Doing this job well requires both a strong educational background in business management as well as intellectual curiosity that allows you to see tough business problems from different angles.

As businesses are growing and new ones are starting in the strong economy, job growth is expected to rise. BLS reports management analysts will experience 12% job growth though 2026; this means there will be 96,500 new jobs during this period.

US News and World Report states management analyst is the #16 best business job in America at present. The median salary in the field is $81,300 and the top 25% make $109,000.

#4 Emergency Management Director

An emergency management director is responsible for planning procedures to respond to terrorism, natural disasters and other emergencies. They are also responsible for leading the response during or after the emergency. Emergency management directors need a good background in business management and operations as they must work in coordination with public safety officials, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

An emergency management director usually is charged with the following duties:

  • Assessing hazards and preparing plans to respond to various disasters and emergencies to reduce risks to property and people
  • Conduct meetings with public safety officials, private organizations and the public to gather recommendations about emergency response plans
  • Organize training programs and exercises for emergency response staff and volunteers
  • Preparing and analyzing damage assessments after emergencies and disasters

Directors need to have strong operations and management skills because they must be able to analyze resources, equipment and staff available in an emergency response. If equipment and resources are insufficient, these directors must revise plans or get the necessary resources from another city, state or region.

The job outlook in this field is strong with 8% job growth expected through 2026. It is important for local communities to prepare for and reduce risks from various emergencies, which is leading to a higher need for emergency management directors.

The median salary for emergency management directors is $72,700 with the top 10% earning more than $141,000 per year.

#5 Materials Manager

The major job responsibilities for materials managers and logisticians involves the efficient production and storage of various finished goods, as well as various logistical considerations that are involved in transporting finished goods between company locations and distribution centers. Materials managers are charged with ensuring that the right goods are being bought or produced. Common job titles in this field are traffic managers, warehouse managers, materials managers and logistical managers.

Professionals in the materials management and logistics fields use advanced software systems to track and plan how products are moved across states, regions and the world. They also operate software packages that are made to manage logistical functions, which can include inventory management, procurement and supply chain planning and management.

Jobs in the logistics field will rise by 7% by 2026, which is about as fast as average when compared to other jobs. Employment is being driven by a greater need for logistics in transporting goods across the country and world. Having an efficient logistical and supply chain process is incredibly important today to maximize company profits.

The median salary in materials management and logistics is $74,500 with the top 10% earning more than $120,000 per year.

The above operations jobs are good choices for MBAs who want a strong, growing career with an excellent salary and promotion potential.


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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