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What Can You Do With An Operations Management Degree?

What Can You Do With An Operations Management Degree? main image

Operations management is the central core function of every company, responsible for managing the process of the creation of goods and services. It’s a crucial element for a company seeking to deliver innovative products to consumers around the world in a cost-effective and timely manner.   

Operations management degrees develop your understanding of planning, organizing, coordinating, and how to control resources to produce a company’s goods and services.

Degrees in operations management usually cover theories and techniques that can be applied to manage a business at its best efficiency. Topics can include supply chain management, managing manufacturing, process analysis and improvement, inventory systems, production planning, inventory systems, quality control and managing the delivery of services.

It sounds like quite the career choice, right? But what can you actually do with an operations management degree?

Career options

Graduates who have specialized in operations management usually start their careers in areas such as production control, quality management, logistics or service delivery management.

Specialists can work in cross-functional teams involved in product design, technology planning and process re-engineering.

If you prove yourself in the field, you’ll more than likely land roles including senior operations manager or senior product manager – with some people even crossing over into more general corporate positions such as industrial relations manager, CFO, or even CEO.

But let’s take a look at some specific job roles…

Finance and operations manager

As a finance and operations manager you will be a key player in the management team, reporting to the chief executive and contributing to the strategic and operational management of all areas of the organization.

Key responsibilities could include:

  • Day-to-day management of the charity’s finances, office and admin functions.
  • Responsible for the upkeep of financial and property investments, including lettings, repairs and maintenance

Senior operations manager

Obtaining a senior level position means your role will usually have some overlap across functions.

From the operational management perspective, it could include:

  • Responsibility for ensuring daily operations support, and the delivery of the business plan, objectives and KPIs
  • Delivering volume growth and service performance quality by leading and implementing operations strategy initiatives
  • Being accountable for customer service and operational performance standards in line with recognized metrics
  • Delivering improved organizational design, modernizing and streamlining working practices to maximize efficiency.

Given the seniority of the role you’ll also be responsible for:

  • Decision-making, and delivering and communicating its procedures and practices when necessary
  • Developing high-performing teams through performance management, personal development and coaching
  • Creating a compelling vision for the future and, through face-to-face communication, engaging all colleagues to commit to and deliver the changes.

Quality control specialist 

From manufacturing to food production, quality control specialists can work in a number of industries, from food production to manufacturing,

Their main role involves checking outgoing products to ensure they are free from defects and produced according to internal requirements and external guidelines. It’s a highly detail-oriented role, and employees need to be comfortable with manufacturing and production processes combined, with an extensive knowledge of product testing and specifications.

A quality control specialist is part of a manufacturing team within a company. They will ensure defective materials are repaired, re-tested or pulled from production if necessary. Employees may also keep reports of the defects, and will deliver said reports to team member to ensure persistent quality issues do not reoccur.

Project manager

As the title suggests, a project manager’s role is to plan and oversee all aspects of a project, ensure the project’s goals are met on time and within budget. Project managers need to organize people, tasks and resources to successfully complete a project.

Whether it’s installing a computer network or conducting an advertising campaign, there is a vast variety of projects to oversee. You may even be lucky enough to land a role in an industry you’re passionate about.

Project manager duties and responsibilities will of course vary depending on the company, industry and level of seniority. However, the role will usually entail:

  • Planning and scheduling project timelines
  • Managing client relationships
  • Coordinating project staff
  • Managing project administration, including all documentation
  • Quality assurance
  • Leading the planning and implementation of projects
  • Meeting budgetary objectives
  • Tracking project performance
  • Carrying out risk assessment
  • Defining a project’s scope and goals
  • Resource planning and allocation
  • Project evaluations and results measurement

There’s a wealth of job opportunities available to operations management graduates, who knows where your degree will take you?

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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