What Business Operations Degree You Need to Land a Job?

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Business operation managers are natural-born leaders and problem-solvers. They have good business sense that others draw from. They assist departments in an organization and help them meet their business goals.

Read on to find out which business operations degree you need to work as a manager.

What Is the Best Degree Path for Becoming a Business Operations Manager?

What An Operation Manager Does

Before you learn how to become a business operations manager, you should know what you do on the job.

Operations managers oversee budgets and daily operations. They work with human resources and scheduling. Their work assignments vary depending on the type of company they work for. But the job requires you to assist and coordinate departments in meeting their goals.

To carry out an organization’s goals, an operation manager must have certain skills. From decision-making to effective communication, you use certain skills to do the job in operations management.

But the first step toward a career in operations management is to get an education. Read on for more information on how to be an operations manager.

Operations Manager Education Requirements

You need a business operations manager degree to work in business management. You also need it to work in operations management and project management. But there are several types of degrees you can get that qualify you for a job. Below are some of the best business degree programs as you learn how to become an operations manager.

Bachelor’s in Business Administration

A bachelor’s in business administration is a generalist degree for operations manager jobs. Students take general education courses in combination with specific business administration classes. In a BBA program, you take courses such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business administration
  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Management

In these courses, you learn about the core functions of business administration.

You also take several mathematics courses that relate to business. Your courses might include business statistics and finite math. You will even take calculus courses, so brush up on your math skills early on. Taking as many math classes in high school as you can will prepare you for your business degree at business schools.

Bachelor’s in Economics

A bachelor’s in economics is a degree that gives you core business functions. You learn what the business world is like while studying policy and theory. This degree prepares you for operations management because of the basic principles you learn.

Plan on taking courses that cover business management and project management theories. Common courses found in an economics program include:

  • Applied economics
  • Labor economics
  • Macro/microeconomics
  • Monetary policy

Economics majors also take different math classes that cover topics in statistics and multivariable calculus. If you haven’t taken linear algebra or differential equations, you will likely study these topics while earning an economics degree.

Bachelor’s in Finance

A degree in finance is like a degree in business. You take business management classes and study core business functions. Finance courses found in most business schools cover topics like:

  • Corporate finance
  • Financial accounting
  • Fundamentals of investments
  • Personal finance
  • Taxation

These classes prepare you for jobs in operations management. Because these managers oversee financials of an organization, a finance degree helps.

Bachelor’s in Management

An undergraduate degree in management provides a foundational business education. It is great for people wanting to work in operations management because it covers the basics. Your courses cover business management topics like:

  • Business law
  • Human resources
  • International business
  • Organizational management
  • Project management
  • Supply chain management

The degree prepares you for entry-level operations management jobs. It also helps you land a role in supply chain management. It is one of the most common degrees in the business world held by project managers. Management is a great degree if you want a leg up in the operations management field.

Master’s in Business Administration

The MBA is a generalist graduate degree. Its focus is on building advanced skills. It does this by adding to your existing knowledge from your undergraduate studies. In a graduate business management program, you expand on key business topics. Your courses include:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

Programs also focus on leadership, as students seek management roles after they graduate. MBA programs stress applied learning in combination with theory. Students work on real-life business scenarios via case study analysis.

You can complete MBA degrees on a full- or part-time basis. It all depends on your schedule. But the enrollment options make an MBA an excellent option for working professionals. Also, because MBA degrees are generalist, you get more options on what you study. You can earn a generalist business degree or specialize in an area of interest.

Popular business specializations include:

  • Business management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Healthcare
  • Information technology
  • International business
  • Logistics
  • Operations management

Keep in mind that some companies invest in their top performers. They often foot the bill for your cost of going back to school and earning an MBA.

Degree Path for Becoming a Business Operations Manager

Other Operations Manager Degree Programs

These programs aren’t as common in operations management as those listed above. But they work for people interested in specialized business management roles. Read on to learn about other types of business management degrees.

Bachelor’s in Health Administration

If you want a business career in healthcare, earning a degree in health administration helps. Healthcare administrators oversee the daily operations of a medical facility. They work in clinics, hospitals, and other health organizations. They supervise medical services and make sure the facility runs smoothly. But to work as a health administrator, you need a college degree.

In a health administration program, you take classes that prepare you for leadership. You take many of the same courses found in a business or finance program, but expand your knowledge into healthcare. Your courses emphasize budget planning and operations management.

Bachelor’s in Project Management

This business operations management degree is helpful for your business career. A bachelor’s degree prepares you with basic business principles and leadership skills. You learn how to manage projects and lead teams. You also learn how to manage your time and efforts to provide better outcomes.

In a project management program, you take courses such as:

  • Business law
  • Corporate finance
  • Financial accounting
  • International business

Master’s in Operations Management

Graduate students seeking a career in operations management can get a master’s degree in the subject. In this program, you can expect to cover advanced topics in business. You also study business management and learn how to lead teams of people.

Organizational management people such as an operations director or industrial production managers have advanced operations management skills. The motivate employees and create high performance teams. To do this, you must have the skills that an operations management degree provides.

You should consider factors like student loan debt and financial aid before going back to school and getting your graduate degree.

Experience Required for the Job

You don’t walk into a business management position right out of college. It takes years of experience to work up from an entry-level position. But it might not take as many years as you think.

It’s common for business management job descriptions to ask for at least five years of leadership experience. You need experience to oversee teams and/or departments. But your experience can come from your formal education.

If you have a master’s degree, potential employers add two years to your experience record. This means that when you graduate from a business management program with an advanced degree, you already have two years of work experience.

Training for Management Jobs

Many managers start at the bottom and work their way up the ranks. They start in lower-level jobs and move to operations and business management roles. Some managers get promoted within their own company. Others get hired from outside the company.

Aspiring managers must prove themselves to their supervisors if they want to climb the corporate ladder. To grow your skills and reputation, you can complete training programs. Some companies offer executive development programs. Earning management certification also helps.

You can complete executive business training programs at local colleges or universities. You can also find these programs online.

There are also management and leadership operations certificates designed to leverage your career. Working professionals can complete them as part of ongoing training. These short-term certificates help you move into management positions. Some MBA programs offer them as part of the curriculum.

Degree Path for Becoming a Business Operations Manager

Other Skills Business Operations Managers Need

Most business operations managers are c-suite level executives. This means that the job is at the top of the organizational chart.

Since this job demands you oversee teams of workers, you need certain skills. The most successful business managers have the following skills and characteristics.

Analytical skills

You need to solve problems. You also need to be able to think through complex scenarios as a leader of an organization. To do this, you need analytical skills. Your job as a manager is to test and improve the operations of your organization. If you have analytical skills, you’re already one step ahead in your leadership role.

Leadership skills

As a top executive of a company, leadership qualities are critical. Employees buy into the strategy and functions laid out by a manager. You need leadership abilities to do this. Poor leadership can result in:

  • Low employee morale
  • Poor organizational outcomes
  • Reduced performance

People skills

An effective manager must have strong people skills. You should be able to foster trust with your employees. You should also be able to motivate your team. Since the decisions you make get carried out by your team members, you should be able to motivate them. Effective people skills go a long way in executing your company’s mission.

Procedural thinking

The most successful managers know how to balance intuitive and procedural thinking. Procedural thinking is the ability to think in an order of sequences. Logical thinking impacts:

  • Efficiency
  • Productivity
  • Profits

Procedural thinking is knowing what to do and following the steps you planned out to get there. How to become operations manager depends on your education and your skills.

Strategic thinking

Business managers analyze critical factors in an organization. They do this to develop a long-term plan that leads to success. This type of thinking is strategic. It’s about developing a plan and vision in your mind. Once you have a plan, you follow the steps to achieve your goal. You strategize!

Understanding of policies

Operations managers oversee the development of policies that benefit the entire organization. They create policies that are fair to the business and to employees. This balance takes careful planning. It requires a deep understanding of policies.

Written and oral communication skills

Communication is the ability to use verbal and nonverbal interaction. You communicate through various channels to influence outcomes. In short, the more effective the communication, the better the outcome.
Business managers must be excellent communicators across different platforms. They must reach individuals and groups. They should also reach internal and external stakeholders. Their communication should always benefit the organization.
Degree Path for Becoming a Business Operations Manager

Job Outlook for Business Management Careers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 6% increase in management jobs through 2029. Growth is 2% higher than the average for all jobs tracked by the BLS.

What causes growth for management jobs? An increase in business activities. As businesses perform new tasks, they need more managers.

Another cause for growth is retirement. Current managers will retire or change jobs. As a result, companies will need new managers.

If you have an advanced degree and 10+ years of experience, you’ll see strong job prospects. For example, purchasing managers with MBAs will find work. And if they have a decade of work experience, their job prospects will be even better. If you’re willing to move to a metro area with high employment rates, you will also see good job prospects.

How Much Money You Can Make

Business operations managers are one of the highest-ranking professionals in an organization. Their pay reflects their importance, as they lead many aspects of an organization.

The average pay for this profession is $103,650/year. The lowest 10% earn $45,850/year and the highest 10% earn $208,000/year. But where you work matters. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the highest paying industry is professional, scientific, and technical services. In this industry, business operations managers earn an average of $142,920/year. In manufacturing, they also earn good wages. The average salary for this job in manufacturing is $121,800/year.

Where you live also impacts the money you can make. Your geographic location can either increase or decrease your earnings. There are three top paying cities for operations managers. These metro areas include:

  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago

In these cities, the average wage is $159,050/year, as reported by U.S. News and World Report. But some cities have high costs of living.

Related Resources:

BDP Staff
July 2022

This concludes our article on how to become an operations manager.

Brenda Rufener

Julie McCaulley

Carrie Sealey-Morris