Operations Mgmt Career: Go for MS or MBA?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by dstrains, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. dstrains

    dstrains New Member

    For a while now I've been thinking I should get an MBA to further my career as an eventual Operations Manager at my existing company - and further down the road should I decide to move on. My current position is technically Purchasing Manager, but in terms of actual job duties, it really covers general operations (supply chain, inventory, logistics, etc.). I've already been told my title will change eventually.

    That said, would I benefit more from pursuing an MS in Ops Mgmt with a more thorough focus on subjects pertaining to that career path? Or go for an MBA with its broader scope? I honestly don't have much interest in ever pursuing marketing, finance, or accounting as a career focus, although some coverage of the subjects would be beneficial. Also, the Univ of Alabama MS in Ops Mgmt program really looks enticing, especially in that it's only 30hrs and would cost around 10k. From there I have no issues picking up extra courses here and there locally or online to cover accounting or finance for managers.

    I know some MBA programs allow a concentration in this area, notably Univ of Arizona, but the price point is out of my range. Others would require well over 30hrs to complete. I guess I'm looking to get the most coverage of related subject matter in the shortest amount of time for an affordable cost.

    In any case, I'd appreciate any advice you folks have on the matter.
  2. consultco

    consultco New Member

  3. consultco

    consultco New Member

    Whoops - I didn't read your post closely enough, so failed to note you mentioned the possibility of going for an MBA with a concentration in operations management. Apologies for the oversight.
  4. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Personally I think either one would help you equally. My PhD is in Operations Management, but (one of my) masters is an MBA. Go with the program you think you would learn the most from, not based on how you might think a future employer would perceive the title. In the end it comes down to experience and ability, not the name of your major.

    Regardless the way you go, you can always supplement with operations management related certifications, such as the ones from ASQ, APICS, or PMI.
  5. dstrains

    dstrains New Member

    Thanks for the input so far. I'll mention a bit more about my goals:

    I definitely want to go with a program that I would learn the most from and that would directly apply to my position/career path, as opposed to a more general management focus. This is the appealing aspect of an MS program in Ops Mgmt. Most of the online MBA programs that I've looked at online don't offer this concentration, and those that do are either too expensive or still limited in the course offerings by comparison.

    Budget and time to complete is also a major concern. I'd like to find a program under $15k and that would take 18-24 months to complete. The Uni of Alabama MS program really seems to fit the bill in this regard. The coursework is comprehensive, the cost is only around $10k, requires only 30hrs without any business pre-reqs that almost all MBA programs require, and is a Tier 1 school. If there are any other similar programs out there I'd love to hear about them.

    I think it's starting to sound like the more direct focus of an MS might be the best fit for me. But please, keep the advice coming!
  6. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    I like the idea of a focused master's degree and am going to throw out another option for the MS. My office mate for the last few years is plugging away on his MSOM through the University of Arkansas. From a coworkers perspective, it seems like a good program. I know that the administrative side has been relatively easy to work with. The cost of the entire program is about 8500.

    Operations Management
  7. dstrains

    dstrains New Member

    Thanks for the link! This looks to just the program I'm looking for! 30hrs plus a few pre-requisites, a well respected institution, tuition for DL is reasonable (~$8200), and can potentially be completed within 12mo with admissions 5x per year (5 x 8wk accelerated terms). Add in that GRE or GMAT requirements an be waived and I'm sold!

    Thanks again for this link. I really think going for an MS is the best option for me.

    But, let's keep the suggestions coming!
  8. consultco

    consultco New Member

    New England College has an MS/Management with a concentration in operations management. It doesn’t meet all of your requirements, but has some characteristics that might be attractive:

    There are just nine courses, although total credits come to 36

    Courses are seven weeks each, and are taken one at a time

    There are six start dates per year. The next one is March 21st, and has an application deadline of March 7th

    Tuition appears to be in the range of $475 per credit hour, which should be verified

  9. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    The answer is based on your focus:

    If you want to be more in the weeds of ops management - MS
    If you want to be the manager making strategic decisions of ops - MBA

    Ultimately the reason why the programs are different is because they complement each other.

  10. dstrains

    dstrains New Member

    I like your comparison.

    My current title is Purchasing Manager at a very fast-growing company but now find myself the de facto Operations Manager, with an undergraduate education that has no relation to either one. Where I am now is because of the job I held during undergrad (buyer/admin assistant at a research lab). The trouble is, due to the rapid growth of my company I can barely see over the weeds (pardon the pun!). Ultimately I may pursue an MBA as well, but right now I do think the focused approach of an MS in Operations Management would serve me best.

    BTW - So far the University of Arkansas has been very responsive. Within a day of requesting info I received a personal email from the program's Associate Director and a packet is on the way. I take that as a good sign, especially compared to other school's that I've contacted over the past few months.

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