There is no doubt that the Masters in Business Administration or MBA is the most sought after course in the market, not just by multinational corporations, investment banks, and consultancies, but also international organizations like World Trade Organisation, World Bank, and other firms even in the non-profit or social sector prefer an MBA graduate to head their organizations.
Along with equipping you with the top edge business management skills, an MBA program grooms you into a leader. By pursuing an MBA, you will be picking up skills for a lifetime that open up a new world of opportunities.
There is a lot of commotion about cracking entrance exams like CAT or GRE and getting into top business schools. This creates such a ruckus around MBA courses so that people stop thinking about the various specializations and functional domains offered under an MBA. Many people struggle to figure out the domain they want to specialize in, even after getting admitted to an MBA program.
There are a plethora of specializations offered, and it can be very confusing. But, it is very important that you understand the different domains offered as a specialization for MBA programs to make an informed decision.
The domain you opt for will have a huge impact on your career prospects. Some of them will be sector-specific, and you might find it difficult to transition between sectors if you happen to choose the wrong specialization. You must choose a specialization that aligns with your long term career plan.
This article will help you to get familiar with the different functional domains of specializations under the MBA. We will also try to understand why studying MBA in Operations is preferred by many and the available career opportunities after completing an MBA in Operations.
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Different Specialisations Offered Under MBA
Every MBA program has compulsory core courses like business economics, business communication, enterprise, risk management, etc. Apart from these mandatory courses, you get to choose your specialization. There are more than 30 specializations that can be studied along with your MBA. The most common specializations offered under the MBA program of the top business programs are listed below.
(These are not in any particular order of importance)
- Human Resources
- Operations Management
- Information Systems
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Agriculture and Food Business
- Digital Marketing
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Out of all these options, how do you identify what specialization to opt for? It is also worth spending some time to think about the job opportunities and demand in the market that each specialization has got to offer.
Why MBA in Operations?
A specialization that has always been the favourite of graduates pursuing an MBA in operations management. So, what makes an MBA in Operations Management one of the most sought after domains? The reason is that there is no dearth of opportunities if you graduate with an MBA in Operations Management. Every sector needs human resources to streamline their activities to maximize profit.
The field of operations is very vast. The saying is that if you are doing an MBA in operations, you get to learn everything, the entire process behind sourcing your raw materials to manufacturing and dispatching the end product to the customer. Thus, an MBA in Operations Management will give you a lot of flexibility to transition between different job roles and different sectors.
What Do You Get to Learn by Doing an MBA in Operations?
Competition in the market is very high. Just take the example of a laptop or mobile on which you are reading this article. There are so many products with the same specification available in the market, yet you chose to settle for the one you are using now.
Have you ever thought about the different processes that go behind a finished product reaching a consumer’s hands? The research and designing of this product might have been done in the USA or South Korea, the lithium for the battery might have been sourced from Brazil, and the manufacturing done in China. There are a hundred different operations that happen behind every product or service in the market.
Every business is looking to make their operations efficient by cutting down unwarranted costs, at the same time not diluting the quality of the product or the customer experience. This is the reason why firms are always on the lookout for MBA graduates who have specialized in the domain of Operations Management. They need people to manage and supervise their day to day operations efficiently. A specialization in Operations helps you to improve the efficiency of your business activities.
This includes inventory management, minimizing the cost by onboarding the optimum number of employees, and setting up warehouses at locations that reduce transportation cost with ease of access to source your raw materials. The assembly line should also be optimized, so the product reaches the customer while maintaining as less stock as possible. You also get to be with your company’s end product and directly involved in making the product; not many specializations give you this chance.
Career Path for MBA Operations Graduates
Every day there is a new technology coming out that helps you optimize the operations of a company. By equipping yourself with an MBA in operations, you get to be the firm’s backbone, who oversees the day-to-day operations and helps in delivering quality products or services at the least cost and time.
Every firm that is offering a product or service requires operations managers. This means that the career path is quite vast for an MBA graduate with a specialization in Operations. It is also a misconception that MBA graduates in Operations will be recruited only to manufacturing companies. If you just head to your browser and search for jobs in operation management, you will be amazed by the humongous opportunities available.
Apart from the operations manager’s job role, companies hire you for roles like global commodity manager, sourcing manager, operational improvement project manager, purchasing manager, warehouse operating manager, strategic supply chain manager, and business operations analyst.
Different industries ranging between finance, e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods, automobile, and healthcare, directly recruit MBA graduates in Operation Management. Top firms like Amazon, Apple, Wall-Mart, Deloitte, and Nike are always looking for MBA graduates with specialization in Operations and Supply Chain Management.
The salary packages offered to operations managers are the best in the market. Since many multinational companies are the major recruiters, you also have an opportunity to work abroad and get exposure from global markets.
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Choosing an MBA in the Digital Age
The pandemic has made huge transformations in the educational sector, making traditional classrooms obsolete. This must be the best time to invest yourself with a global MBA program. But the current economic and market situation is so dicey that it can be a little too risky to quit a job and join a regular MBA program.
Even though technology has been booming in the country, there are still not many opportunities in India to pursue an online MBA from a top Business School without compromising the quality of the content delivered through the virtual model.
Many people also shy away from an online MBA program, as they are skeptical about the opportunity to network with their peers. Being India’s largest online education company, upGrad has partnered with Liverpool Business School and IMT Ghaziabad to provide the global experience to students in the country.
If you are a working professional, business owner, or an entrepreneur with an experience of one to five years, and looking to pursue an MBA in Operations, this option will be perfect. They have also created an offline base campus to facilitate networking with their peers. What makes this program unique is an all-paid 1-week immersion program at the Liverpool Business School, so that the online learners can meet and interact with the faculty and peers.
Here you have students from more than 15 countries taking the course along with you. This will be an opportunity to transform your career, not just by earning an MBA, but also by becoming a part of the alumni community of a top UK school, which is too at one-tenth of the cost of a regular MBA.
The different topics that come under operations and supply chain management are SCM and Strategic Planning, Source, Make and Move, Demand Planning and Forecasting, Advanced Sourcing Strategies, Logistics, and Distribution Optimisation, Supply Chain Network Design Project.
On top of this, the MBA specialization in Operations has case studies from Harvard Business Publishing and live sessions on Integrated supply chain management, Financial analysis in real supply chains, Urban last-mile distribution systems, Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Global supply chain management. upGrad has tied up with more than three hundred firms so that landing a job will be easy after completing the course.
How does an operations manager maximise efficiency in a business?
When it comes to selling a product or service, operation managers have a crucial role to play. From the beginning till the end, they take charge of the entire production process. They ensure every step is carried out efficiently to maximise productivity. Their main job involves planning, organising and supervising the production of goods and services. When it comes to increasing profits while reducing costs, they are the key people.
What is the difference between operations and production management?
Operations management and production management are interlinked but not the same. The former involves the management of administrations and business operations related to manufacturing while the latter primarily focuses on managing and using the resources of an organisation to the best of its ability.
An operations manager usually develops a strategy that allows a company to maximise its resources and stay ahead of current trends whereas a production manager as the name implies has total control of the manufacturing. They ensure every step is carried out efficiently at a minimal cost.
Why has the demand for operation managers increased amid the pandemic?
Amid the pandemic, business planning took a complete hit. To address the critical elements of a business, operation managers had a key role to play. From identifying innovative and new methods of working to protecting employees and cash flow, the demand for qualified and skilled operation managers has increased even more than before. Today, their key role involves taking important decisions with regard to production, risk assessment and mitigation, and plan creation, execution and evaluation.