Planning, directing and coordinating activities of a public or private sector organization requires a director of operation’s business acumen and finely honed skills. These executive-level professionals are counted on to keep businesses profitable and competitive through careful management of daily operations, from production to human resources. A challenging and rewarding director of operations career can begin with enrolling in a Master of Business Administration degree program.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment growth for top executives, such as directors of operations, will remain steady in coming years. Increasing complexity and expansion of business will spur demand for knowledgeable directors of operations in a wide variety of industries; however, competition for these positions will be keen. Those with advanced education, broad experience and specialized knowledge should have the best job prospects.
A company’s daily processes and functions dictate the job duties of a director of operations. These professionals may work for government agencies, private sector organizations or public firms. From top-level activities such as formulating policy and strategic planning, to directing budgets and determining human resources needs, directors of operations do it all.
Specific job duties vary according to industry and employers, but in general, a director of operations takes the lead in managing all aspects of the organization’s operations to meet established objectives for growth and profitability. In this role, they may be required to execute financial forecasts, develop tools to control expenses and oversee personnel management. Directors of operations also typically oversee production of goods or delivery of services.
A director of operations may supervise a number of departments, such as human resources, accounting, sales and distribution, and marketing. An executive in this role will usually assist department heads in establishing goals, policies, procedures, budgets and personnel needs. They typically take the lead in setting resource requirements, along with allocation and reporting.
The director of operations usually works in a comfortable office and is supported by staff. A 40-hour week is standard. Depending on the industry and employer, travel to satellite facilities may be required.
According to national salary data on PayScale.com, as of January 2011 the median total annual pay for directors of operation was about $90,484, with those in the 25th to 75th percentile earning between $60,100 and $120,869 in total pay.
PayScale.com data also indicated that directors of operations with advanced degrees can earn more than those with only a bachelor’s degree. In fact, based on 75th percentile salary figures, graduates with an MBA earned $123,060 per year while those with a BA in business administration earned $86,335 per year – a differential of 43%!
With additional experience, a skilled director of operations may move up the ladder into roles of increasing responsibility and higher annual pay. A sampling of executive salaries on PayScale.com in January 2011 showed that vice presidents of operations and chief operating officers in the 75th percentile of earners brought in approximately $170,349 and $199,070 per year, respectively.
The data show that the top salaries generally go to those with experience and advanced education.
Qualifying requirements for director of operations positions vary, but most often, a bachelor’s degree and appropriate experience are desired. Many top employers show preference to candidates with advanced education and master’s degrees.
Enrolling in a Master of Business Administration degree program can provide the advanced business knowledge and up-to-date skills that employers seek. Coursework typically includes international business, corporate innovations and new ventures, strategic cost management, and production and operations.
Employers can be confident that professionals who have earned an MBA degree are able to:
Are you highly organized, attentive to detail, and flexible? Are your communication and math skills sharp? Do you want a career with a wide variety of daily challenges? If you possess these qualities and interests, then becoming a director of operations could be a great choice for you. Augment your interpersonal and analytical skills with the knowledge you’ll acquire through an MBA program, and you could land an exciting director of operations position!