Front-line Operations Management
Although many graduates pursue careers in staff functions, Operations Management provides an excellent foundation for a general management career long-term. Leading companies such as General Electric, Allied Signal and Honda preach the power of execution over strategy in driving company performance. Front-line operations managers ensure that the processes of operating the business perform flawlessly day in and day out while continuously improving quarter to quarter and year to year. Whether the operations include manufacturing plants, call centers, retail stores or distribution centers, front-line operations managers must understand a common set of tools for process management and improvement as well as the key skills for managing front-line employees. This selection of courses should prove most useful to students pursuing careers in operations-intensive industries or in small business — where the front-line manager and general manager are often one and the same.
Supply Chain Management
Managing the extended enterprise continues to grow in importance, while the complexity of the task simultaneously increases. Automotive companies like Ford have outsourced large portions of the vehicle content traditionally produced in-house. Service companies, such as Capital One have formed supply chain management groups to bring professionalism to what was once a highly decentralized process. Dell has created a clear strategic advantage by fundamentally rethinking the computer industry supply chain. Even IBM has reorganized to combine manufacturing, purchasing and planning into a single group, “Integrated Supply Management”. In these companies, the typical operations career involves structuring and managing an extended enterprise rather than the more traditional management of front-line employees. Given the complexity and importance of managing the extended enterprise, consulting firms also extend considerable effort helping clients manage the transition. This selection of courses offers a foundation for individuals interested in the operations side of any large-scale, global business or in consulting to executives in such companies.
Business Operations Consulting
Many students see consulting as a continuation of their education and a natural path towards general management. Although the recent economic downturn dampened the double digit growth rate among the leading consulting firms, the industry remains a major employer of MBAs who can help businesses improve their performance. Business operations consulting remains an important value-added discipline at all of the leading consulting firms. In addition, many large companies have active internal consulting groups which deal with corporate and divisional operational issues and serve as training ground for future general managers. This career track provides foundational knowledge in performance analysis and consulting processes and skills, as well as exposure to some of the key issues addressed in the area of performance improvement and business operations strategy design. For further appreciation of some of the key topics in business operations consulting, the interested student should also consider courses from the career track in supply chain management.
*Courses offered in the First and Second Year. All other courses are offered only in the Second Year.
Please note: courses are subject to change each year. Consult the course directory for the most up-to-date course offerings.
Darden faculty created the following operations concentration to help Second Year students develop a course plan:
Supply Chain Management
This concentration gives students additional grounding in operations management concepts, develops in-depth knowledge of general management- associated supply chain management concepts and principles, and builds strength in related cross-functional skills. Faculty Contact: Elliott Weiss.
Clubs & Events
- General Management and Operations Club (GMO) - GMO is the largest career-oriented organization at Darden and its mission is to create the future CEO's of the business world. The club hosts résumé and cover letter workshops, internship guides, career forums, social events and a case competition.
- GMO Forum- The GMO Forum is a symposium of general managers in a multitude of industries brought together to provide the Darden community with insights into the various career options within the sphere of general management.
View the full list of Darden student organizations.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact the following current students and alumni to ask specific questions about general management or operations at Darden or in their careers. For additional contacts, please visit the Darden Student and Alumni Ambassadors list.
William Irwin (MBA '12)
Undergraduate education: US Naval Academy
Undergraduate major: English
Position: Product Manager, KaVo North American
Location: Charlotte, NC
Temple Millsap (MBA '12)
Undergraduate education: University of Virginia
Undergraduate major: Civil Engineering
Company: Brasfield & Gorrie
Position: Financial Analyst
Location: Birmingham, AL
"I came to Darden to gain a broad understanding of business to help me prepare and transition to a general management career. The First Year OPS courses helped me discover an interest in supply chain and operations and provided me with many tools that prepared me well for my future."
Amanda Gleason Munoz (MBA '04)
Undergraduate education: Iowa State University
Undergraduate major: Food Science
Role: Project Team Leader
Location: St Louis Park, MN
"The collaborative and collegial environment at Darden was an important piece of preparation for a general management role. Learning to work with people—whether in learning teams, project teams, or sections—added new and different influencing skills to my tool kit. Being able to create connections and engage the people I’m working with—in addition to the multi-disciplinary skills learned at Darden—has been an important part of being successful at Cargill."
Kevin Kosefeski (MBA '08)
Undergraduate education: U.S. Air Force Academy
Undergraduate major: Business Administration
Role: Product Manager, Marketing
Location: Ft. Collins, CO
"In my current position, I am responsible for developing strategy, leading new product development, marketing, and day-to-day management of a global product portfolio. The case method demands that you look at problems from multiple perspectives. As a general manager, my decisions are based on the impact to all aspects of the business: marketing, sales, operations, strategy, top line, bottom line, etc."