How to Become a Business Operations Manager

Photo Credit- iStockphoto

Business operations managers are professionals who work toward improving an organization’s operational efficiency. They map out strategies that a company uses to achieve its financial goals and objectives. Individuals who are interested in joining this profession must pursue a business degree and have excellent leadership and management abilities.

Typical roles

Although the duties and responsibilities of business operations managers can vary by the size and structure of a company, typical duties include;

  • Collaborating with senior executives to develop and implement operational strategies
  • Conducting training programs to educate employees on the organization’s mission, vision and policies
  • Participating in the recruitment process to interview and hire departmental employees at the department level, such as accountants, market researchers and customer service clerks
  • Developing a communication framework to streamline communications with customers and business partners
  • Negotiating contracts with service providers and suppliers
  • Managing a wide variety of business projects, including product marketing and brand building.

Education and training

To qualify for employment as a business operations manager, you must meet the following academic qualification requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business management, economics or business administration.
  • Earn a master’s degree in business administration or finance – Advanced business degrees are often required by large organizations with high-volume operations.

In the United States, the best schools to pursue a business degree include;

  • Stanford University, Stanford Business School, Stanford, CA
  • University of Chicago, Booth Business School, Chicago, IL
  • Harvard University, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA
  • University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, IL

Essential job skills

Effective business operations managers must have the necessary skills to execute their job functions. For example, the manager needs a combination of superior analytical and decision-making skills to evaluate an organization’s strategies, identify challenges and develop appropriate solutions. They also use management and leadership skills to supervise, guide and mentor workers, and time-management skills to perform several tasks at the same time and meet their targets. Communication skills are also fundamental to these managers’ success as they come in handy when sharing information with coworkers, senior managers and customers.

Job growth and salary

Although payment structures usually vary across industries, business operations managers generally have rewarding jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, general and operations managers, including business operations managers, earned a median annual wage of $116,090 in May 2013, much higher than the $34,750 average for all occupations in the U.S. economy. The bureau also estimates a 12 percent job growth for general and operations managers from 2012 to 2022, marginally faster than the estimated 11 percent for the majority of careers.

Work environment

There are employment opportunities for business operations managers in a wide array of industries, including health care, banking, manufacturing, broadcasting, consulting, online auctions and real estate. Therefore, you can secure a job in a bank, hospital, property management firm or department store among other institutions.

Career advancement avenues

Most employers offer on-the-job training programs to help newly-hired business operations managers familiarize with their duties. This, however, is not an ideal career advancement opportunity. As a professional looking to climb the career ladder, consider the following career advancement opportunities to give you a competitive edge;

  • Obtain voluntary certifications from professional associations such as the Institute of Certified Professional Managers or International Academy of Business and Finance Management
  • Attend industry workshops to gain management tips from experienced, stay current with current trends and build professional networks.

So with a generous salary and the potential for career growth, if you feel that you have the necessary attributes, the career path of a business operations manager may be right for you.


Forbes: The Best U.S. MBA programs

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics for General and Operations Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Outlook for General and Operations Managers