The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Operations Management

click to watch a vide of Matt nagler talk about his academic and career pathMatt Nagler '99, Co-Founding & Managing Partner, The Nagler Group

Matt is the co-founder of the Nagler Group, a  leading provider of administrative and human resource staffing services for companies and job seekers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

"I had two majors at UMass, communication and Social Thought, Political Economy, which is also called STPEC. Many of the classes within STPEC were very relevant to similar course work in communication, so doing them in conjunction with each other I felt I was able to get a deeper understanding of the subject matter as well as get a more diverse experience academically. At UMass, you have to go and get it. There is endless, boundless opportunity, but you have to go and find it. And that's what the world is like."

Watch the video profile of Matt to learn more about how he applied his educational background in Communication and STPEC to Human Resources and the field of Operations Management.

About the Industry

The Operations Management industry is what most people are referring to when they say they want to work "in business." Operations refers to the middle- and back-ends of a company. These are generally the functions that keep a company running, as opposed to the service it provides. Areas of Operations include Human Resources, Communications, Information Technology, Sales & Marketing, Legal, and more. Entry level positions in operations are often seen in the form of Leadership or Management Development programs. These are typically two-year rotational programs where employees spend six months in each department to learn the role and gain skills, ultimately deciding where in the company they would like to work.

Sample Classes

Below are a few examples, but we urge you to talk to your major/departmental advisor and explore available courses in SPIRE. Remember not to constrain yourself to classes within your major.


COMM 250 - Interpersonal Communication: This course introduces non-majors to a variety of competing theories of interpersonal behavior and everyday social interaction. 


ECON 394CI - Economics of Cooperative Enterprise: Students will be asked to retrospectively analyze their experiences as workers and consumers, evaluating the impact of organizational forms and industry structure.


LABOR 204 - Labor and the Global Economy: An introduction to basic concepts about globalization and its impact on workers in the U.S. and internationally, focusing on the impacts of recent trends in economic and political globalization on workers.


RESECON 104 - Managing Your Own Business: An introduction to small business, with emphasis on the planning function of a manager. Built around the concept of a standard business plan, it covers start-up issues, maintaining competitive advantage, market research, the total product of offering, pricing, and promotion of the product or service, understanding financial statements and funding sources, hiring, training and supervising employees. 


Depending on your main area of interest, your academic pathway will shift. To explore this field, you can take courses that will provide you with knowledge and skills in:


  • Critical, analytical and creative thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Effective communication skills
  • Collaboration skills
Co-Curricular Activities

Being involved in on and off campus activities and organizations will give you experience and help you hone in on what you really love doing. Consider joining organizations that will provide you with a deeper understanding of the professional areas you’re considering. You’ll learn more about the field, meet people who share your interests, and have something to include on your resume to show your dedication. Go to the RSO webpage and start searching!


Some sample clubs and organizations:


  • UMass Econ Club
  • UMass Chapter of the American Marketing Association
  • Isenberg Operations and Information Club (open to all majors)
  • Isenberg Management Association (open to all majors)
  • Isenberg Women in Business (open to all majors)
  • Legal Studies Undergraduate Board
  • Meeting & Event Managers Association
Internships and Experience

Explore the different aspects of the industry through internships, co-ops, job shadowing, and other experiential opportunities. This will help you hone in on your interests while building an impressive knowledge base and resume for when you enter the job market. Students interested in gaining experience in operations are strongly encouraged to go through the internship recruiting process with UMass Career Services, and to attend on-campus career fairs. There are lots of opportunities to gain experience with the various functions of a business. Additionally, you can work for one of the student-run businesses on campus to gain experience on a smaller, but no less relevant scale. Students and alumni have completed internships in this field at places like:


  • IBM
  • Small Business Development Center
  • LEGO Systems
  • Boeing Corporation
  • TJX Companies
  • Liberty Mutual Group
  • Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI)
  • State Street Corporation
  • CIGNA Insurance


Several student-run businesses at UMass that offer opportunities to learn all aspects of a business:


  • People's Market
  • Earthfoods
  • Campus Design and Copy
  • Greeno's Sub Shop


Find an internship or co-op that suits you by using these search and application tips and by searching the Career Connect database.

Sample Job Titles


  • Director of Operations
  • Director of IT Operations
  • Client Operations Manager
  • Operations Associate
  • Global Operations Analyst
  • Merchandizing Operations QA Analyst
  • Human Resources Operations Analyst