3 Steps to becoming an Operations Manager


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The operations manager is fast-becoming one of the most critical roles in any organization. That’s because, no matter the size of a business or the sector it specializes in, the operations manager is vital. Working across departments, the operations manager will have a variety of duties, including:

  • Resource management
  • Distribution of materials and resources
  • Budget management
  • Contract negotiations
  • Administration

They will also have close ties with the HR team and the customer service staff, whether that’s in a B2B or B2C environment. While the organization itself will play a vital role in determining the duties of an operations manager, it is quickly becoming a career option with a grand scope. If you’re looking ahead at your career and are considering operations management, here’s what you need to know.

Step One: Your Degree

It will not be impossible to become an operations manager without a degree, but you will find it much easier to find a suitable position if you have a BA. Many existing operations managers have discovered that their Business Administration or Business Management degree is enough to secure an entry-level operations management role. If you’re considering a BA in Business Admin or something related to the field, then you should ensure that the following subject areas are covered in the curriculum:

  • Communication in Business: One of the most important skills of an operations manager is clear communication. That can be very challenging in the modern business landscape, with omnichannel communication platforms, in-house style guides, and consumer trends all evolving and affecting how comms are managed.
  • Accounting and Finance: Operations managers need to have a very clear understanding of money management. If you opt for a business degree that fails to include an accountancy module, then you are restricting your options when it comes to finding a suitable role and limiting how effective you’ll be once you do find that role. When every decision made in business has a cost attached to it, being able to prepare, understand, and analyze financial forecasts and statements is vital.
  • Management Principles: Business management is an ever-changing subject, and you’ll need to have a firm understanding of the major management concepts. Make sure that the degree you opt for has a management module that covers: 
  • Organizational structures
  • Project planning
  • Motivation methods
  • Ethics
  • Team building strategies/Group dynamics

However, a business degree will only be of value if you also have real-world experience. While your BA will help you to get you into an interview room, it is your proactive experience and workplace achievements that will secure you the position that you’re looking for.

Step Two: Experience


Whether you’ve already graduated or you’re just starting your first year, you’re going to want to accumulate as much experience as possible. This will often mean starting out in an entry-level position, usually as an operations supervisor that reports to the operations manager. 

This kind of position is ideal, as it will give you a clear understanding of your future duties as a manager while allowing you to fine-tune your education in a real-world environment. 

The goal then should be to get promoted to an operations manager or to develop the skills that will allow you to take what you have learned to another organization. You will need to have provable management experience to get a more senior-level role, which is why it’s so important that you start with those entry-level positions that will allow you to build up your skill sets.

Step Three: Boost Your Education

While a BA and a solid level of real experience are going to be crucial, you will find that having an MA that is specifically targeted to operations management will open far more doors. While earning an MA in operations management is optional, it can also be extremely advantageous if you feel that your career has hit a roadblock. 

A Masters will add to your skill sets, making you more appealing to employers while giving you the skills that you need to perform above and beyond expectations. 

An MA is always going to be more in-depth than a basic degree and will give you the experience of using the tools you need to stand out. To find out more about the current challenges of operations management, click here for a greater understanding of what will be required of operations management in 2020 and beyond. An MA will ensure that you have a robust understanding of both the challenges and the solutions to modern operations management. 


There are a lot of responsibilities when it comes to a career in operations management. From leadership to accounting, operations management requires flexibility in terms of experience and education, and the ability to think analytically. As operation managers become more crucial to brands of all sizes, it is a career option that promises to provide a high level of satisfaction and security. Take the right steps now and you could be leading your own team before you know it.

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