Master’s in Operations vs. Master’s in Management and LeadershipMaster’s in Operations vs. Master’s in Management and LeadershipMaster’s in Operations vs. Master’s in Management and Leadership

Knowing how to develop a plan and a strategy, establishing goals for company growth and stability, making critical business decisions — these are all core competencies of business leadership and management roles. Additionally, business leaders and managers guide and empower people in an organization to succeed and meet business objectives. Individuals in leadership positions must also provide a clear vision for the future, and drive processes to transform operations and improve business performance.

Steering organizations in the right direction requires superior leadership competencies combined with excellent communication and management skills. An in-depth comparison of advanced degrees — master’s in operations vs. master’s in management and leadership — reveals opportunities for graduates to develop the essential competencies to lead high-performing organizations and teams. An advanced degree, such as a master’s in management and leadership, can help individuals gain that needed edge.

Two corporate leaders give a presentation to a team of factory workers

Definitions: Master’s in Operations vs. Master’s in Management and Leadership

An advanced degree, such as a master’s in operations or master’s in management and leadership, can prepare students with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive organizations toward achieving various goals. However, examining each degree reveals differences that students should consider before deciding on a career path. Below is a brief description of each degree.

  • Master’s in Operations: The focus of this degree program is to expand students’ understanding of logistics and related areas, including managing supply chains, improving production cost efficiency, and optimizing operational performance.
  • Master’s in Management and Leadership: The focus here is to broaden students’ ability to lead in the modern workplace, maintain efficient and effective work environments, and build successful teams.

Similarities Between Master’s in Operations and Master’s in Management and Leadership

As advanced postgraduate degrees, both master’s in operations and master’s in management and leadership programs prepare individuals with critical business knowledge and a diverse range of leadership, communication, and analytical skills. These competencies are essential for management roles in any industry.

Each degree can also help individuals learn how to develop strategies, delegate responsibilities, and provide direction to teams. These critical skills are highly desirable in roles such as marketing manager, sales director, human resources leader, and project manager. Further degree comparison of master’s in operations vs. master’s in management and leadership reveals common strengths in preparing individuals for positions in various industries such as healthcare, government, manufacturing, advertising, the nonprofit sector, and beyond.

Each degree commonly offers concentrations that enable students to focus on specific aspects of management and leadership. For example, the curriculum of Maryville University’s online master’s in management and leadership program allows individuals with experience in cybersecurity to follow a cybersecurity concentration track to learn about effective management and leadership strategies relevant to that area. Additional concentrations include health administration, human resource management, and software development.

Differences Between Master’s in Operations and Master’s in Management and Leadership

While the two degrees complement each other within the context of a workplace setting, it is essential to note the differences in each program. The following provides a breakdown of the differences between a master’s in operations and a master’s in management and leadership.

Master’s in Operations

Key concepts associated with business operations management revolve around supply chain management and production. Supply chain management describes the production flow of goods and services. For example, a food and beverage factory is concerned with ensuring its production runs efficiently to meet market demands and fulfill orders.

A master’s in operations degree program focuses on giving students the skills, knowledge, and tools to execute organizational strategy that results in improved performance and efficiency. Graduates can leverage their business, leadership, communication, planning, and organization skills to enhance production quality, resulting in better customer experiences and profitability.

An operations management degree prepares students to become business efficiency experts. A program typically includes business and operations-focused courses, such as supply chain management, operations analysis, and product development. Operations management graduates can work in global corporations or local industries. For example, they can use their business efficiency expertise and problem-solving skills to improve operations at warehouses, offices, production facilities, utility companies, and healthcare organizations.

Master’s in Management and Leadership

Significant areas of focus in management and leadership programs include developing strategies and managing teams. Strategy development involves identifying options for maximizing an organization’s resources to achieve core business objectives. Team management is the process of building productive workflows and environments that encourage and enable employees to efficiently carry out their job responsibilities.

A master’s in management and leadership degree program focuses on equipping students with essential competencies to take on influential roles in organizations. Their leadership can impact the success of teams and entire organizations. A graduate may lead a division in a multinational company and play a pivotal role in making decisions that impact the organization’s growth and stability.

Executive leaders can call on those with a master’s in management and leadership to improve production, communication, and morale, leading to improved business performance. Master’s in management and leadership degree concentrations can focus on departments within a business, such as human resources or information technology. For example, graduates with a concentration in information technology can help advance an organization’s digital transformation.

Acquire Essential Business and People Skills

Leaders excel in managing business functions and are the catalyst behind more successful and organized teams. Additional leadership traits include a calm demeanor and sound judgment to resolve disputes, a willingness to help and encourage team members, and an ability to listen and show empathy to build trust-based relationships.

Employers from every industry seek leaders with these characteristics. They also seek the ability to ensure smooth operations and guide employees to efficiently and effectively accomplish their goals. Individuals who earn their master’s in operations or master’s in management and leadership degree can become more competitive for these types of leadership roles.

Maryville University’s online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership program offers individuals the opportunity to advance their business knowledge and acquire in-demand leadership skills such as team building, critical thinking, decision-making, and problem solving. The program offers eight concentrations: Cybersecurity, Health Administration, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, Marketing, Project Management, Software Development, and Business Data Analytics.

Explore how Maryville University’s online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership program can help you pursue your leadership goals.

Recommended Readings

Careers in Management and Leadership: Moving Business Forward

MA in Management and Leadership vs. MBA: Comparing Two Key Advanced Degrees

The Importance of Business Ethics


BizFluent, “What Is Strategy Development?”

Boss Magazine, “The Importance of Leadership in Business”

Houston Chronicle, “Why Is Good Management Essential in the Workplace?

Human Resource Executive, “A New Era of Leadership

IBM, “What Is Supply Chain Management?

National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The Role of Leadership in a Digitalized World: A Review

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