Some students have passion for Operations, but have apprehensions about their careers in Operations management. Objective of this paper is to guide the students who are in a dilemma to take up operations specialization or not. The present market conditions appear that Finance and Marketing specialization are more lucrative. The reason is, market for operations has not been explored completely and the skillsets being acquired by students are not aligned to the current market need.

Contents in this paper are organized in two parts Opportunities and relevant Skillsets. The target group is, students who want to become Operations Managers and Operations Specialists.

In the recent past Operations Management has become an integral part of each and every organization. Till last decade operations are associated only with manufacturing industry. Thanks to the revolution that had happened in operations, laced with rapid technological developments and innovative business processes.

In spite of plethora of opportunities for post graduates in Operations Management in the present market, still students who chose Operations Management as specialization struggle to get into the right jobs. In particular, those who are graduating from 2 or 3 tier management institutes.

Main reasons are in two dimensions Systemic and Students’ perceptions. Systemic short comings are, limited exposure to the current operating systems being followed by the organizations to the students in the curriculum and lacuna in building the basic minimum skill sets. And, from student’s perspective, poor or no awareness of the opportunities that are available in present market for them, lack of focus on specific career path and mainly attitude of picking up any opportunity that comes inside the campus, not willing to explore the potential in the open market.

Hopefully, the contents below will help Operations specialization students to get into their right career paths and develop the right skillsets.

Important message is, there is ample scope only if you are good!



Unlike Finance, Marketing and HR, Operations students have multiple career options because of the rapid revolution the operations and process management has gone through in the recent past. Present and future is completely driven by technology and process innovations. We may call it Business processes or Operational processes or Service operations. In a way every business is a set of operational processes, whether they are established ones or startups. Banking to Healthcare, or BPO to SW application development, or Travel to Logistics and e-Commerce market places everything is fastened with current technologies and innovative ideas.

The current market requirements are working knowledge of workflows in ERP systems, usage of IT tools like MS project and data analysis techniques and few additional qualifications & certifications. Plus, hands on experience during the internships in their respective areas.

Caution with certificate courses, ensure that it results into some practical experience and solving a live problem, which really adds to your skills. Rather than simply attending few sessions and get a certificate.

Let’s see how these opportunities can be organized into some career paths in different sectors (Fig- 2), so that the students get a clear idea about where they want land themselves.

Remember, if you learn to organize the data you have solved 50% of the problem. Data analysts are in maximum demand at present, of course more paid also. So, try your luck in analytics pick up the right skills to excel in your careers.

However, further studies and entrepreneurial options are kept out of the present context. The present community of entrepreneurs are savvier in converting the opportunities into business using technology in an innovative way, typically we call them the Startups. To be a successful Startup entrepreneur, one should have the minimum set of business management skills and innovative thinking abilities. Some of the Operations students can definitely venture into startups, if they are strong in innovative abilities.

Supply chain Mgrs.


Ware House Mgrs


Distribution & Logistics Mgrs


Inventory Control Mgrs

3 PL Managers


Project Mgmt.


Facility / Capacity / Layout Mgmt.

Process Mgmt.


Resource Planning

Quality Mgmt.


Location Mgmt.

MIS Mgmt.


e-Comm Operation specialists


Operation Mgrs in Customer services.


On-Line store operations Mgrs.

e-Comm Mgrs.


General Management Skills:Students should develop some of the basic minimum managerial skills, plus few generic Operations management skills and finally niche skills based on their career choice. Lets explore what are these skills and how to acquire them.


Problem solving and analytical skills
Communication skills and listening skills
Strategic thinking and planning abilities
Ability to leverage technology
Ability to see the big picture
Leadership & Teamwork
Time management skills
Project management skills
Assess situations and devise solutions
Presentation skills using Power point
Data analysis and decision making using Excel


These skills can be acquired during the regular curriculum without any additional efforts, through the exercises, case Studites, presentations, working in teams and participation in the class.

Major drawback here is, students feel that the activities assigned to them during the curriculum are for the evaluators. They cannot think that the exercises and evaluations are mainly the skill building opportunities in the curriculum.

The day this mindset changes, students become real professionals, Institutes need not worry about campus to corporate abilities.

Generic Operations Management skills:


Ability to visualise the Business & Operational process flows
Ability to identify the process measurement framework and KPIs
Application knowledge of basic Operations Management Techniques & Tools
Quantitative skills
Supervisory Skills
Negotiation Skills
Time Management Skills
Domain knowledge
Proficient and good working abilities using advanced Excel


These are the skills students are expected to gain during the curriculum through internships, mini projects and analyzing the case studies. This is the major differentiator among the pedagogy adopted by the Management institutes.

Niche Skills:


These skillsets completely depend on the career path chosen by individual students. Don’t be under the impression that these skillsets are not for entry level. Management graduates are expected to have the basic minimum knowledge in these areas. However, these are toned over the period, quicker you get into the groove the faster you become the professionals. So, focus to pick up the skills which suits your goals in life from the begining.



The opportunities versus the required skill sets are summarized and mapped in the above sections.


If a student start his / her two year MBA / MMS / PGDM journey with focus, gradually and progressively acquire general management skills, generic operations skills and niche skills he / she can definitely get into choice of his / her career.


Students should be able to create and covert the activities and exercises they get during the curriculum towards building the right skills.


Author's Bio: 


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