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Why So Few Operations Management Majors?


Replies to: Why So Few Operations Management Majors?

  • A_Balding_LoserA_Balding_Loser - Posts: 50 Junior Member
    OR seems to focus exclusively on the mathematical modeling, while OM focuses more on the business side of things, although there is some modeling with things like linear programming.
  • CalcruzerCalcruzer Registered User Posts: 4,832 Senior Member
    Haven't seen any middle managers driving Maseratis, huh? All that tells me is that you haven't worked in a large manufacturing company. I had a middle manager at one of my former manufacturing companies criticized for driving a Ferrari Spyder to work. (The criticism came from the union boss--since it was an airspace firm and the union, which was the UAW--also does the work for most of the domestic car firms, like GM and Ford).

    Fact is, most of the middle managers at that place were making a lot of money and great bonuses and could have driven very nice cars--but didn't want the lower-level manufacturing people "keying" their cars in the parking lot since they weren't union-made.

    As far as things go, let's talk about manufacturing in a high-tech environment--anyone heard of Dell, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, etc.--all of which are manufacturing firms--and all of which made their middle managers rich with their stock options. Many of these people could have driven Maseratis, or Bentleys, or even Bugatis if they wanted, but you don't usually drive these kinds of cars to work--and especially not if everyone else you work with also is making high 6 to low 7 figure salaries.

    When I got my MBA from UCLA in Operations Management with a Computer science minor, I was the only one with that particular combination of majors--and only 1 of 6 people who majored in Operations Management at all that year. Back then, supply chain and logistics and advanced ERP systems like Oracle and SAP and robotics and AI and AGV and automated warehouses and kanban were all new topics. Now they are all passe--but not because no one is concerned with them, but rather because the field has matured--and is no longer considered to be solely the domain of someone who wants to go work on the factory floor. Yes, there are management consultants who specialize in operations--and yes, they are just as much operations people as people who do manufacturing on the line. After all, there are management consultants who specialize in finance or accounting or marketing or IT and many other fields;--are you going to tell me that you wouldn't count them as financial analysts, accountants, sales people, or computer experts merely because they have a consulting title?

    P.S. By the way, Wal-Mart does some logistics, which is operations--but for the most part they are a retail firm. And, it should be noted, the people at Wal-Mart that do the logistics piece are the best paid people who work for the company aside from the owners. Wal-Mart probably has more computers handling more logistics than either NASA or the CIA.
  • A_Balding_LoserA_Balding_Loser - Posts: 50 Junior Member
    thanks for the informative post man!!
  • A_Balding_LoserA_Balding_Loser - Posts: 50 Junior Member
    why do you think it is you were only 1 of 6 people who majored in om that year, calCruzer?
  • sf606508sf606508 Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    I am starting to just get exasperatedly amused at how defensive people can get about certain things. Somehow I just cannot see myself happy with being under the terror of myopic, moribond union booses in my choice of cars. That aside, I mean, just a bloody yawn. I don't even feel like doing much debating on this one; it's like arguing a moot point. For ambitious, money-savvy chaps at Harvard, Wall Street is the holy grail. That much I know. and that is as far as I care. For all I know, few, on average, would be better judges of profitable careers than those smarty pants who made their way through Cambridge MA. Beyond that, I care little, and have little reason to.
  • CalcruzerCalcruzer Registered User Posts: 4,832 Senior Member
    I believe that so few people major in operations--both then and now--is because most people going into the business area at the top schools are all hoping to be the one or two people in investment banking or in finance that rise to the very highest level and make millions and millions of dollars per year (which is possible--just unlikely). I mean everybody in the NBA is making a million dollars per year also--but out of all the people who played basketball in college, how many play in the NBA--maybe 1/10 of 1%?

    Same applies to people going into investment banking. Will a lot of people make a lot of money--no, but quite a few will. Others will end up like those at Bear Stearns--out of jobs, looking for somewhere to work. My wife had a cousin who worked in IB in 2001, made around $180,000 per year and actually had a meeting in the World Trade Tower early on September 11th that was moved offsite after the first plane hit. Earlier that year he had bought a gigantic house on multiple acres of land in New Jersey for him, his wife, and two kids located about 30 miles from NY. After 9/11 and the dot.com debacle, he lost everything and took a job making about $30,000 a year for a local bank, which is the only thing he could find considering all the layoffs everywhere. He finally managed to find a job at a $70,000 salary about a year and a half later (not in New York), but it was a gigantic drop from what he was used to--and, of course, he had to sell the house at a big loss just to get rid of the giant mortgage payment.

    The fact is, if you are really good at what you study in business, you can usually rise up the ranks (or start your own company) and make a very good living. But IB--and some other fields, like those in semiconductors and housing--are all boom and bust, and not as steady fields as an area like operations, accounting, marketing management or someone who goes into a corporate finance job.

    Oh, and as far as always believing everyone from Harvard knows best--I would refer you to a few of the following:
    Jeff Skilling--former head of Enron found guilty of fraud
    Carlos Salinas de Gortari--former Mexican president (1988 to 1994) guilty of corruption and believed to have been involved in the murder of his chosen successor frontline: murder money & mexico: family tree: carlos salinas
    Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--recently resigned after multiple congressmen (including from his own party) believing he lied about the "purging" of lawyers who supported the Democratic party through contributions
    Paul Bremer--head of Iraq's Provisional Authority, resigned when his organization was unable to account for over $60 billion given to them to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure after the Desert Storm war.
    Robert McNamara--former defense secretary who was probably the single most responsible person for getting us involved in the Vietnam War

    But, of course, there are many other top schools that have their interesting students (and even professors):
    Carl Icahn of Princeton has been making billions by constantly using "greenmail" tactics--including the current attempts at both Yahoo and Motorola now underway; and
    Back in 1987, Asher Edelman was teaching a course at Columbia and offered $100,000 to any student who would provide him information (without regard to whether it was inside information or not) that would result in a successful corporate takeover. Columbia asked him to withdraw his offer.
    Headliners; In Business - New York Times

    Note that both of these last two are billionaires--so, yes, people can get rich through Wall Street. However, some people (including me) question the ethics of these two--but they aren't in jail, so what they are doing is legal, even if somewhat questionable.
  • CalcruzerCalcruzer Registered User Posts: 4,832 Senior Member
    Just to be clear--every school has its "black sheep". My intent is not to disminish the education to be received at Harvard, Princeton, or Columbia. My intent is only to make clear that people from these schools do not have some kind of "hidden" gene that makes all their decisions better than those of people from other colleges (as sf606508 implies).
  • sf606508sf606508 Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    calcruzer, you beautifully proved my point. even in failure Ivy Leaguers triumph financially. heck i wouldn't mind being a disgraced former president; i probably would still get paid massive dough as special counsel at some corporate law firm. it is at least heck of a lot better than working for i dunno, John Deere. and Paul Bremer. the funny thing is, even despite his massive corruption, he is still alive, well, and most importantly, out of jail. and still enjoying massive amounts of cash, i would presume. and probably, again, still on dinner party lists on the Upper East Side and in the Hamptons.

    I never said they make better judgments. if history has taught us anything, it is that elites are not necessarily better judges of situations. i just said that they were more successful, financially. and i take it that McNamara isn't about to need to worry about his 401k, even though he made such poor judgments about Vietnam.

    nobody is in business primarily for glory, to find favour with history books, to make the best decisions for the world. it's mostly about the money and the prestige that comes with it.

    skilling is a special case. i have no clue what happened to that idiot. i guess it is just pure, unrestrained greed that destroyed him.

    tell you the truth, i am awful nervous about investment banking too. i don't know how it will be a few years down the road when i will enter the job market, and will be looking for that job paying me $150K. (which really isn't that much considering NYC cost of living). right now corporate m&a law sounds like a good option because white shoe firms don't dare do mass lay-offs. although the career path is just as awful and the office politics unbearable.

    it's an awful thing really, how we torture our top 0.1% of students with arcane, byzantine college admission procedures, expensive tuition, and then are so despicably stingy with, make them wrestle amongst each other for jobs that pay consummerate with their merits and how hard they have worked to get where they are. at least the french Grand Ecoles guarantee high salaries and a seat in the boardroom.
  • naurunauru Registered User Posts: 1,158 Senior Member
    What a bunch of elitist garbage.
  • sf606508sf606508 Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    I don't think anyone goes through life desiring to be plebeian.
  • VectorWegaVectorWega Registered User Posts: 1,872 Senior Member
    For ambitious, money-savvy chaps at Harvard, Wall Street is the holy grail. That much I know. and that is as far as I care.

    Top Mgt consulting jobs are more sought after than top IBanking jobs by MBAs. That much I know.
  • naurunauru Registered User Posts: 1,158 Senior Member
    That much I know, and I only know that much. That much I know.
  • A_Balding_LoserA_Balding_Loser - Posts: 50 Junior Member
    thanks for the worthwhile responses calcruzer

    give the elitist ******** a rest guys
  • sf606508sf606508 Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    I am struck as to how Mgnt Consulting could be considered not Wall Street. Well, there is a fair bit of Back Bay Boston there too, but still.
  • VectorWegaVectorWega Registered User Posts: 1,872 Senior Member
    ^ "Wall Street" refers to a financial district in NYC and when someone refers to a "Wall Street" company they are talking about a company that provide financial services (that company may or may not be largely based in NYC). MGT consulting is a completely different animal.
This discussion has been closed.