Best Online MBA in Operations Management Programs

An online MBA in operations management teaches you how to maximize an organization’s potential by optimizing its internal processes. Keep reading to learn more about where to find the best programs and what you can do with this degree.

Consider the complex web of manufacturers, suppliers, and delivery methods that get an online purchase to your doorstep. Navigating the operations and innovations that make something like same-day delivery possible is mind-boggling. An online MBA in operations management provides the advanced business knowledge and specialized operations-focused skills you need to help an organization or business efficiently turn its services, production, or manufacturing into profits.

The best online MBA in operations management programs instill the analytical and business knowledge needed to plan, organize, and supervise the delivery of quality products and services. Additionally, online programs allow you to keep up with personal and professional obligations while being academically successful. Often completed in two years, these online programs can open a wide variety of careers in fields that thrive on operational excellence such as purchasing managers, operations research analysts, and logisticians.

This article showcases the best online MBA in operations management programs, highlights typical coursework, and looks at common salaries and career options. Keep reading to learn about these details and more.

B-School Spotlights: Best Online MBA Operations Management Programs in 2021

The best online MBAs in operations management offer flexible coursework that allows you to manage personal and professional obligations while completing the degree. The programs highlighted below are regionally accredited and also hold accreditation from business-focused education entities. They also consistently rank as some of the best online MBA programs in the country. While these spotlighted schools provide a glimpse of top programs, check back later in 2021 for our full list of top programs.

University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Designed for business professionals working in the field, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS) offers a fully online MBA with an emphasis on operations and supply chain management. UCCS’s offering includes 36 credits and takes about 30 months to complete.

Of those 36 credits, 24 focus on core coursework, with the remaining 12 reserved for operations and supply chain management studies. Core courses include introduction to accounting, fundamentals of economics, and business statistics. Operations management topics include quality management and metrics, service operations, and global supply chain management.

Like many online MBA programs, UCCS’s offering requires applicants to possess working experience in a business environment. Plan to complete all required application materials and supply a statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation. You should also have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications.

University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota’s online MBA in operations and supply chain management provides expertise that can apply to countless industries. In addition to gaining critical leadership skills, students cultivate strengths in managing logistics and quality control. USD’s MBA program has held accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1949.

Students with an undergraduate business degree may be exempt from taking foundational courses like accounting, finance, and economics. Operations and supply chain specialization courses cover lean management, supply chain management, and data management and warehousing.

Applicants for this online MBA in operations management program must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. In addition to academic transcripts, plan to submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume. Prospective students are also required to submit a satisfactory GMAT score. Those not meeting requirements can apply for a GMAT waiver if they meet specific academic standards.

University of Ohio

Consistently ranked as one of the best online MBA in operations management programs, the University of Ohio offers a 100% online degree that can be completed in as few as two years. This AACSB-accredited program instills the practical skills needed to solve logistical problems and boost profits.

Specialization courses within this 35-credit degree include supply chain risk management, project management, and management of Lean Six Sigma programs. As a supplement to this online degree, students can take part in a two-day leadership development program, giving them a hands-on opportunity to apply skills learned in their digital classroom.

Applicants must have at least two years of professional experience and hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Prospective students are required to submit a current resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement laying out career goals. GMAT scores are not required.

What to Expect from an Online MBA in Operations Management Program

MBA academic requirements vary depending on the program, but typically require you to undertake a significant amount of core coursework. Standard core classes include topics such as accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Operations management courses often include topics like data analytics, supply chain management, and logistics.

Through rigorous academic work, plan to gain data processing, conflict management, and project management skills. Because operations management professionals often work in production and manufacturing, they have an in-depth knowledge of their product’s lifecycle from design to distribution. An operations management program supplies the skills needed to design systems, implement plans, and supervise a working system. Online coursework is delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, and students routinely engage with their cohorts via online meetings, message boards, and collaborative projects.

As a degree culminating project, programs typically offer a thesis or capstone project option. A traditional academic thesis is expansive in research and writing. MBA capstone projects require you to synthesize everything learned and apply it to solving a real-world business problem. Many programs also offer internship and study-abroad options.

Keep reading to learn about common courses offered in an online MBA in operations management program.

Common Courses

  • Analytical Tools for Decision Making

    A standard course in any MBA program, this class reviews statistics, data collection, data analysis, decision analysis, hypothesis testing, and simulation modeling. By examining real-world operational dilemmas, you learn how to analyze quantitative methods and how those results can impact a business’s bottom line.

  • Global Supply Chain Management

    Through an analysis of global supply chain issues from a managerial perspective, this course explores how supply chain processes can be managed and improved. Students engage with traditional supply chain theories while exploring ways that technology has transformed the industry. Theoretical and practical approaches are investigated, providing the skills needed to address supply chain issues.

  • Business Modeling

    By exposing you to business modeling techniques used in real-world situations, this course explores how to build and interpret data-centric business models. Modeling concepts include time series regression, discrete event simulation, and linear and non-linear optimization.

  • Business Communication

    An introductory core course in any MBA program, business communication explores the best practices in business writing and speaking. Students dive deep into business writing and compose informative, negative, and persuasive content. Students learn the value of using stories and visual aids. Emphasis is placed on how to structure presentations efficiently and are given opportunities to practice effective presentation techniques.

  • Operations

    This course explores the operational techniques, tools, and methods that can make an organization more efficient and effective. By analyzing both theoretical and practical ideas, students learn essential operational management functions and develop frameworks for examining an organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Students also examine management tools and skills that boost both individual and organizational performance.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Operations Management

Operations management classes prepare you to find gainful employment in many business occupations. From purchasing managers to logisticians, these professionals primarily lean on data-heavy analysis with a global perspective. With a focus on areas like supply chains and manufacturing, operations management graduates secure positions in many fields.

An online MBA prepares students for leadership roles in business. As a result, the earning potential for graduates is high. Along with higher-than-average wages, availability for careers such as management analyst, operations research analyst, and logistician are forecasted to grow over the next decade.

Purchasing Manager

These business professionals manage the purchase of products and services for their organization. Purchasing managers play a significant role in designing procurement policies and evaluating suppliers by analyzing price, quality, and delivery speed. In a supervisory role, purchasing managers also ensure their employees meet company expectations while adhering to ethical and legal standards.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$71,450 $121,110 $193,400

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Operations Research Analyst

Employing analytical methods to solve organizational issues, operations research analysts address business and logistical problems. These professionals use statistical analysis and predictive modeling to evaluate critical data when developing solutions to a myriad of business issues. Armed with strong analytical skills, these professional problem-solvers work closely with executives and managers to boost efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$48,670 $84,810 $140,790

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Logistician

Logisticians manage an organization’s supply chain and analyze data to improve productivity and efficiency. Involved in the entire lifecycle of products, logisticians oversee processes from design to delivery. Understanding both production details and business methods, they work closely with both clients and suppliers.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$44,020 $74,750 $120,400

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Management Analyst

Management analysts assess ways of improving an organization’s efficiency and profitability. Working with business metrics and financial data, these professionals analyze information and develop solutions to business issues. Often working as consultants, management analysts gather, organize, and present their findings and recommend new practices and procedures.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$49,700 $85,260 $154,310

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Industrial Production Manager

Industrial production managers have numerous responsibilities and oversee the daily operations of a manufacturing facility. They oversee monitoring production output while managing human capital. By continually analyzing production data and financial information, production managers streamline the production process, limit spending, and train workers.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$65,050 $105,480 $176,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBA Degrees in Operations Management

Earning an online MBA in operations management is an investment. Generally speaking, the best programs carry a hefty price tag. If you’re willing to take the financial hit that accompanies this degree, the payoff in future salaries and compensation can be significant. That said, a pretty expansive range exists between the cheapest and the most expensive programs. As a public institution, Fayetteville State University’s online MBA costs students under $19,000 for tuition. On the other end of the spectrum, the private Carnegie Mellon’s online MBA costs over $130,000.

When preparing for your online operations management MBA, consult prospective schools about financial aid options. Many universities offer scholarships and fellowships to help offset the cost. Additionally, since these programs largely support working professionals, employer tuition assistance is sometimes an option.

How Much Your Online MBA in Operations Management Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

University of Florida

32

$1,812

$58,000

University of Washington

62

$1,258

$78,000

UMass Amherst

39

$900

$35,100

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Operations Management MBA Degrees

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in Operations Management?

Admissions standards vary from school to school, but below you’ll find some requirements you can usually expect. It’s worth noting that many online operations management MBA programs require several years of professional experience. Make sure to take a close look at each program’s admissions checklist and reach out if you have any questions.

  • Academic transcripts with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Admissions interview
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Essay laying out career goals
  • GRE/GMAT standardized test scores
  • Leadership experience a plus
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume laying out professional experience, community service, and extracurricular activities
  • Several years of professional experience in a business setting

Are there quality online Operations Management MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

An MBA is a coveted degree, and the best programs require standardized test scores. Specific test requirements depend on the particular program, but most accept the GRE, GMAT, or both. Additionally, some programs like the University of Washington also take Executive Assessment (EA) scores. Some notable schools that do not require GMAT scores include New York University, University of Chicago, and Columbia College. Schools that draw large online enrollment, like Liberty University and Florida International University, often have more relaxed admissions requirements.

How long will it take to finish my MBA in Operations Management online?

The time it takes you to complete your online MBA in operations management varies from program to program. That said, whether enrolled as a full-time or part-time student significantly impacts the time it takes to graduate. Programs like the University of Florida’s online MBA offer an accelerated track, allowing you to complete a degree in just 16 months. Most programs take about two years. For instance, the University of Washington’s hybrid MBA is a two-year program, but students have the summers off.

Can I earn my MBA in Operations Management 100% online or do I need to go to campus?

While this depends on the program, many MBAs are 100% online. Schools like the University of Florida, the University of North Carolina, and Oregon State University all deliver degrees entirely online. Through synchronous and asynchronous coursework, the best programs offer students the flexibility they need. Even hybrid programs require minimal on-campus work; for example, 95% of coursework at the University of Washington is completed online.

What’s the difference between an MBA in Operations Management and a Master’s in Supply Chain Management?

An operations management MBA carries considerable weight and is a much-prized degree. If you’re interested in honing the skills needed for executive and managerial roles, an MBA is probably the right track. If you want to focus more closely on improving supply chains and other integral processes, an MS in supply chain management, along with its more focused curriculum, can help you achieve that goal.

There are other practicalities worth considering as well. MBA programs come with a sizeable price tag, whereas MS programs are often considerably cheaper. MBAs have a reputation of being competitive; programs can be very selective, and many require significant professional experience in a business environment. This is not true of most MS programs.