Management scientists use tools, like scientific methods and technology, to ponder complex problems in organizational operations and offer logical solutions. Read on to learn if general management science is the right career choice for you.
Management scientists apply scientific methods, math, computer modeling and databases to study problems, predict potential outcomes and reach logical conclusions. Management scientists recommend solutions to the decision makers in organizations and businesses. You can use concepts of management science, also called operations research, to solve problems in all types of businesses and government agencies.
Problems that management scientists might tackle include safeguarding the nation's blood supply from communicable diseases or determining the most cost-effective method of minimizing oil spills. As a management scientist, your duties could include creating efficient systems or allotting resources. You might help businesses create production schedules, develop shipping systems or establish prices for goods and services.
Many management scientists work for the United States government and military. Other potential employers you might find in this field include local and state governments, financial institutions, consulting firms and universities, as well as industries including manufacturing, logistics and insurance.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment opportunities for operations research analysts would grow 15% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). Most operations research analysts earned between $40,620 and $126,000 as of May 2011, the BLS said.
Other management science job titles you could attain include risk management analyst, statistician, financial analyst, management consultant or operations specialist. Most financial analysts earned between $46,300 and $145,580 in 2011, according to the BLS, while most statisticians made between $39,840 and $119,710.
You'll need a firm grasp of advanced math concepts and computer science as well as expertise in economics, statistics and probability to pursue a career in management science. You might benefit from understanding engineering, aside from the political and social sciences. Creativity, a strong work ethic and good communications and analytical abilities could prove useful to you in this field.
You'll need to earn a master's degree to qualify for most jobs in management science, but a bachelor's degree is sufficient for some entry-level jobs. You could choose among bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree programs in management science, operations research or another relevant field.
If you pursue a degree in management science, you'll typically study theories of business management, quantitative techniques and communications, as well as deductive problem solving and organization theory. Coursework may include decision analysis, supply chain management, calculus and dynamic systems. You can expect classes in information systems, computer simulations and computer science in management science degree programs.
Some Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs offer an emphasis in management science or operations research. Other degree programs that might prepare you for a career in management science include engineering, math or computer science.
After landing a job in management science, you'll probably want to take advantage of continuing education opportunities. This will help you stay current with new technology and improved analysis techniques.