Monday, June 30, 2008

Alum Speak – Ronjay Chakraborty

Introduction to Operations Management


The main purpose of writing to you is to give you a basic concept of Operations Management and dispel any notions attached to it. Moreover I will try to explain what all you can expect from Operations in IIML and finally where you can be if you wish to pursue operations as a career option.

The basic functions of an organization viz. a viz. the functions of management are always the same: designing, planning, organizing, directing, and controlling albeit with a little modification according to the business needs. Management establishes the goals and objectives of the firm or organization and plans how to attain them. It is management that organizes the system and directs it so that its goals can be reached. Finally, management must be able to analyze the working of the system in order to control it and to correct any variations from the planned procedures in order to reach the goals. These functions interact with one another and managers must be skilled in these coordinating processes and functions if they are to accomplish their goals through the efforts of other people.

The basic building block of every organization is Operations. The driving force here must be an overriding goal of continually improving service to the end customers. Services here encompass all those facilities that are essential/will help to improve the quality of work of the next process/customer. Therefore Operations Managers seek to control the processes that determine outputs from businesses. In other words, as an Operations Management major you’ll study operating systems, quality management, product design, supply chain management, and inventory control. You’ll study how equipment, information, labor, and facilities are used in the production process. You’ll learn about every step that goes into making a product or service and how to make each step as efficient and beneficial to the company as possible.

Within Operations management, an MBA is expected to go through the various disciplines such as Basic Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, Logistics and Vendor Management, Manufacturing System Design, Manufacturing Planning and Control, Service Operations, Operations Strategy. Many and most of these courses are floated by the IIM Lucknow Operations faculty over the two year course. The best part of this is that students can learn the best of both worlds, namely the strategic view as well as the operational view of Operations Management through these courses. The current faculty in IIML is also pretty best in class in the operations group and learning from them is an experience altogether.

Throughout the two year course, there is a general feeling in the students that the courses are monotonous and mainly academic in nature. Herein lies the functionality of groups like OIG which organizes events throughout the year which can be considered fun, challenging as well as educative. Paper writing competitions covering recent developments in Operations allows students to showcase their talent across the best B-Schools not just in India, but across Asia-Pacific.

All said and done, B-school grads will always look at events through the view-point of “How a particular activity will help/give direction to my career?”. With the large number and variety of companies coming to campus for placements, students can have a focus towards Operations and venture into diverse areas like Supply Chain Management across FMCG sector, Banking Operations, Consulting Firms etc. Companies like McKinsey, Accenture Consulting, Cadburys, Nestle, Asian Paints, Reliance (The list just goes on…) are really looking out for B-School grads with interests in the operations side. The need of management graduates with sound operations knowledge is highly valued in any and every organization and that is why the 1st year has a number of courses to introduce the offerings.

I hope that atleast a few of those who will be reading this article will find the concept of operations interesting and see the courses offered in a new light. Set your priorities when you are in IIM Lucknow and work towards them in the best possible manner. But within all this, remember one thing. NEVER FORGET TO ENJOY AT THE CAMPUS as these two years will be one of the best you will ever have. All the best to you all for the coming years!!!

Ronjay Chakraborty (IIML’ 08) is working as a Senior Consultant with Capgemini India Ltd. He can be reached at

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