Business professionals seeking to step into an operations management role often start by earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
A multidisciplinary MBA program enables prospective operations managers to acquire the innovative and leadership skills that employers value. Through studying diverse disciplines, students develop their talents in areas including data-driven decision-making (DDDM), accounting and financial management, managerial economics and global strategy.
Innovation Leads the Way
Nextinit notes a sharp distinction separating operational innovation from operational excellence.
On the one hand, excellence stems from rethinking existing business operations and effecting changes to reduce errors, costs and delays without making wholesale changes to the way the work gets done.
“But operational innovation is different. It means finding entirely new ways to improve internal processes across the board. This could be anything from developing new products to providing better customer service or doing anything else a business may offer,” they said.
Nowhere is innovation more forceful than data management and ways companies use data to accelerate and improve decision-making. Management of information systems and technology is in the middle of that revolution. In fact, 85% of business leaders predict DDDM will “dramatically change the way they do business,” according to Better Buys, a technology-assessment firm. These changes are driven by results, as businesses that embed DDDM in their corporate culture make decisions five times faster than those that do not.
Accounting and Economics Operations Support Corporate Decision-Making
Management accounting refers to the business operation process that uses the data generated by accounting systems. It then synthesizes it into knowledge companies use to plan, control and evaluate nearly all of its functions.
Professor Jerold Zimmerman of the University of Rochester notes in his book, Accounting for Decision Making and Control: “the accounting system is both a source of information for decision making and part of the organization’s control mechanisms … Managerial accounting is an integral part of the firm’s organizational architecture, not just an isolated set of computational topics.”
Managerial economics includes optimization of pricing and risk analysis to cost-benefit assessments, forecasting and business cycles. The operation is part science and part art; part-micro-and-part-macroeconomics, as described by the Management Study Guide, an online portal focused on workforce education.
It follows the scientific principles of observation and analysis of economic data for effective corporate decision-making. As an art, effective operational managers possess communications and relational skills to put that knowledge into practice.
As a microeconomic discipline, it analyzes interior economics in relation to an organization’s supply and demand for its goods, services and pricing. Managerial economics also measures outside influences, including global economic, monetary factors and business cycles.
“Managerial economics is dynamic in nature,” the study guide concludes. “It deals with human beings (i.e., human resources, consumers, producers, etc.) …. Thus, to cope with the dynamism and vitality, managerial economics also changes itself over a period of time.”
Employers Value a Diverse Skill Set in Prospective Operational Managers
In addition to the aforementioned areas, multidisciplinary MBA programs include courses on financial management, markets operations, strategic and international management and more. Such a comprehensive degree program gives candidates an advantage over the competition for managerial roles and positions them for long-term success.
U.S. News & World Report quotes Soo-Haeng Cho, associate professor of operations management at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, who describes the importance of operations to the overall success of any business: “Operations are critical to ensure firms’ ability to deliver value, thus lying at the core of all firms’ strategies.”