What Is Operations Management – Interview With Prof. Amit Bardhan, FMS Delhi
You have got more than 15 years of experience in the field of Operations Management, how do you see the opportunities in the sector going ahead?
In recent times operations management has experienced changes unlike any other management function. We experienced unprecedented evolution of technologies, emergence of new businesses and unpredictable developments in global economic environment. Operations which has the responsibility of production and delivery, the core of any business, needed to innovate and adapt the most. As a result number and quality of opportunities in operations management has grown. Apart from traditional yet more interesting profiles in established sectors, students can explore opportunities offered by new and emerging sectors.
Why should an aspirant look forward to “Operations Management” as a career choice/choice for higher studies? How would an MBA in this field help a professional?
Some of the things one looks forward to in a career are, contribution that is meaningful and valued by the organization, good work environment and better compensation. Most profiles in operations management would offer these advantages. I mentioned earlier about the changes we are experiencing in this discipline. Another development that I must mention here, is the changing contours of functional segregation within organizations. Traditional roles of operations managers are getting a relook due to this new emphasis on processes. You may look at e-commerce firms for ready examples. This development is happening across sectors. Therefore aspirants should be looking for new challenges that they would like to address through their skills. Operations management in the coming times is going to be a whole new world. One purpose of MBA would be to provide a snapshot of this new world and prepare managers for a head start.
How is the course/elective at FMS Delhi structured to offer specialised knowledge in this area?
In FMS the core course on Operations Management is part of the second semester. It introduces all latest topics on the subject. In the second year a cluster of topics are offered as optional courses. Operations strategy and Supply chain management are popular among our students. Some other important ones are on Management of technology, Management of quality and productivity, Risk management in supply chains. To equip students with necessary data skills, courses on analytics and bigdata are also available. For those who are interested in sectoral specialization they can choose courses like service operations management. Managing supply chains for e-business would be introduced soon.
We encourage learning from other disciplines to enrich understanding of operations. For example courses in Marketing and Strategy are complimentary and case studies and minor projects are designed to help develop a more holistic view. Moreover students organise periodic seminars and guest lectures by industry leaders to keep track of the latest..
Operations Management as a career choice does not have the appeal as that of consulting or strategy. How would you visualize a career graph of a professional in this industry?
Indian business schools mostly attract freshers or those with minimal experience, for their flagship MBA programs. It is very important that these students gather sound experience in strategic and core operational matters. A thorough understanding of business functions and processes helps in shaping strategising and decision making abilities. A consulting job may look glamorous, one would have a better chance of reaching the top (even in consulting) if she starts with core functional area like Operations management.Operations can provide a 360 degree view of the business and that is its fundamental advantage.
Please throw some light on the kind of roles offered in this sector.
Managing operations involve all activities required to deliver products / service the business is about.
Some typical roles are, project management, managing logistics and supply chain, technology management, quality management etc. Technology firms and e-business firms are offering many interesting profiles. The student coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org> at FMS should be able to help you with the details of profiles offered at FMS during the past couple of years.
Finally, any advice that you would like to give to budding aspirants looking forward to a career in OM.
Good managers have two important competencies, skill and attitude. The first can be taught, but no teaching program can sufficiently inculcate the right attitude required in a manager.
There are different aspects of operations management and there are specific skills required for each one. For example a project manager should need skills that would be different from those for a logistics manager. Students should know about these skills and pick those which are going to be useful for them. Updating oneself with the latest is also very important.
Operations managers should be good in planning, organizing and coordinating. They should possess problem solving skills and quick decision making abilities. It would help if one is eager to learn from experience.
About The Author:
Prof. Amit Bardhan (M.Sc. (Operational Research), Ph.D) teaches at FMS and prior to this he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Operational Research, University of Delhi. Along with teaching and research he is involved in sponsored research, consulting and management development programs. Having teaching and research experience of more than 15 years in University of Delhi, he also worked as a Research Fellow in the School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas. At FMS, he teaches courses on Management Science, Quantitative methods for managers, Health Analytics, Quantitative Analysis of Risk and Uncertainty, Service Operations Management. He has guided PhD thesis and M.Phil. dissertations.