Operations and logistics represent chief concerns in the day-to-day functioning and long-term strategic planning of businesses. On the operations side, effective managers monitor many factors, including the flow of goods, services, and information within a firm, in order to make decisions that impact efficiency and productivity. These operational decisions affect and are affected by broader logistical concerns regarding procurements, cash flow, asset allocation, research and development, and other aspects of strategic planning. Together, operations and logistics constitute a core area of business administration training. Many MBA programs offer additional training in operations and logistics through elective coursework. And some MBA programs provide students with optional track or specialization in operations and logistics, consisting of two or more courses that explore the complexities of operations planning and logistics management.
An MBA in operations and logistics is a Master of Business Administration degree program that provides students with advanced training and instruction in the management and coordination of operational and logistical concerns. Students in these programs complete a general MBA curriculum that covers proficiencies in areas such as: business law and ethics; sales and marketing; accountancy and financial reporting; personnel and project management; and organizational communication and leadership. In addition, an MBA in operations and logistics incorporates a designated cluster of courses that provide students with a deeper understanding of procurements, asset allocation, quality control, lean management, and other operational and logistical matters. Some MBA programs with an operations and logistics track allow students to further specialize in areas like global supply chain management, government and military logistics, and private-sector business operations.
Online MBA programs offer what is often a more convenient and flexible alternative to traditional, campus-based MBA programs. An online program may be a particularly good option for students who intend to continue working while earning their degree, and for those who would prefer not to travel or commute in order to attend an MBA program. Online MBA in operations and logistics programs provide all or most of their general and specialization coursework through distance learning technologies. Students in online programs view lectures and complete other instructional activities using a learning management system (LMS) that facilitates the delivery of course materials and allows students to participate in discussion groups and interact with instructors. For students who are not able to relocate in order to attend an MBA in operations and logistics program, an online program may be the only option, as this specialization is only offered by a select number of business and management schools.
OnlineEducation.com researches MBA programs and classifies them based on several criteria, including curricula, accreditation status, and instructional methods. Online MBA programs with specialization in operations and logistics are formally designated in the following ways:
Programs listed on the site must be offered by regionally accredited, non-profit colleges and universities through schools of business and management that have programmatic accreditation from one of three bodies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). In order for a program to be considered online it must offer all or most of its coursework online. Programs that require more than two campus visits per year are not listed on the site. Finally, online MBA in operations and logistics programs must provide students with a designated track in that specialization.
Most of the coursework in an online MBA in operations and logistics program is devoted to learning about core business functions, including accountancy, finance, human resource management, and marketing. The MBA curriculum also includes training in professional communication, organizational leadership, and business ethics and law. Students who opt for a specialization in operations and logistics take several advanced courses that address issues like quality control, lean management, global sourcing, business IT systems, operational analytics, inventory control, and operations planning and control systems. Some online programs allow students to further specialize in areas like healthcare operations management, government logistics, and service industry logistics, usually through elective coursework within the operations and logistics specialization. Finally, students in most MBA programs complete a capstone project that challenges them to apply what they have learned in the program to a real-world business problem. Students in an operations and logistics programs generally focus their capstone project work on an issue related to operations and/or logistics.
The specialization component of an online MBA program typically comprises between two and six courses. The following table provides an overview of the subjects that are typically covered in MBA in operations and logistics courses.
|Supply Chain Management||An introduction to supply chain management concepts, including transportation planning, inventory control, procurement, warehouse management, development of customer service standards, and the design and operation of supply and distribution systems.|
|Operations Management & Technology||Operations and project management IT systems for tracking and measuring key performance indicators (KPI), and the use of technology for automation and sustainability.|
|Six Sigma Quality Management||The design and implementation of quality control and improvement systems, including statistical quality control methods.|
|Logistics Decision Making||Operations and supply chain management theories applied to strategic decision making at the corporate level.|
|Global Strategic Sourcing||How to analyze global trading partner data, the use of third-party support, and other issues related to supply sourcing in the global marketplace.|
|Lean Production & Quality Control||The use of six-sigma quality control and other methods to assess and improve production, and the implementation of practices to promote lean and efficient business operations.|
Admissions policies and criteria for online MBA programs vary by program but not typically by area of specialization. Applicants to online MBA programs must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. While an undergraduate degree in business is not generally required, some programs have prerequisites, which may include a college-level mathematics and/or economic course. Some programs have a minimum preferred or required GPA, and some require applicants to submit standardized test scores (GMAT or GRE) along with undergraduate transcripts. Students may also be asked to provide one or more letters of recommendation, a personal goals statement, and/or answers to one or more essay questions. For information about admissions criteria for a specific program, potential applicants should contact the program’s admissions department.
There are several structural variations that may affect the relative convenience and flexibility of online MBA programs with an operations and logistics specialization. These formatting issues concern the method of online instruction (synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction); part-time vs. full-time enrollment options; and whether or not the program requires students to attend on-campus sessions. The online instructional methods used by a program determine if students have to be available at designated times to log on to the LMS for real-time lectures and other activities. Enrollment options determine how many courses a student takes per semester and how long the program takes to complete. Campus visits are a component of some but not all online MBA programs. For more information about these format issues, refer to our Online MBA Programs page.