What Is Management Science? + How to Enter This Field

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover what management science encompasses and the career options in this interdisciplinary field.

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What is management science?

Management science is the study of problem-solving and decision-making in organisations. It applies the scientific method to management, enabling managers to make decisions for an organisation and improve its performance. For example, healthcare facilities can use management science to determine the necessary information systems, while airlines can use it to schedule planes and crew. 

Management science is important because it helps organisations identify issues they must solve, streamline management efforts, use resources more effectively, and develop roadmaps for achieving goals. Several assumptions or principles of management science guide professionals in this field, including:  

  • Problem-solving is central to management. 

  • Managerial problems can be quantified and described in mathematical terms. 

  • Mathematical tools, techniques, simulations, and models can enhance problem-solving.

Originating from operations research, management science is interdisciplinary, involving two or more academic or professional disciplines. The disciplines that management science intersects with include engineering, game theory, psychology, project management, data science, and supply chain management. 

Did you know? Operations research, management science’s predecessor, was developed during WWII when the Allied Forces (mainly Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union) used mathematical models to improve military operations.

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In your research into management science, you may come across similar terms like scientific management or business analytics. Note their distinctions in the table below: 

FieldDefinition
Management scienceUsing scientific and research-based approaches to help a business make decisions, improve performance, and meet goals
Scientific managementAnalysing and synthesising workflows, improving economic efficiency and labour productivity
Business analyticsUsing data and statistical methods to understand business performance and drive business planning

Careers in management science

With a degree in management science, you can work in various fields, from marketing and branding to finance, human resources, and data science. Salaries and job outlook may depend on the specific role you apply for. For example, according to the job site Glassdoor, a marketing manager's average salary in India is ₹13,74,410 [1]. However, salary varies with experience, location, and job responsibilities. According to Glassdoor, marketing managers might expect a salary range from ₹10,000 to ₹23,00,000. 

With a management science degree, you can work in many job positions. Common job titles include:

  • Business analyst: Studies the market, determines a business’s profitability, and identifies solutions to a business’s challenges. 

  • Data analyst: Gathers and interprets data, highlights important trends, and reports findings to management. 

  • Finance analyst: Assesses the performance of stocks, bonds, and investments to advise businesses and individuals on their investment decisions

  • Programmer analyst: Tests, analyses, and maintains software applications to help businesses achieve their goals 

  • Risk analyst: Analyses financial documents and economic conditions to determine the risk involved in business decisions and planned activities. 

  • Research analyst: Collects data from varied sources to help organisations determine target markets and ideal pricing for products and services. 

Your management science career path 

If you want to draw from multiple disciplines to solve business problems, take on a leadership role, and use analytical and critical thinking skills, management science could be an aligned career path for you. 

Follow the steps below to get started. 

1. Get a management science qualification.

Getting a qualification in management science or a related field, such as business statistics or international marketing, can expose you to the important concepts, methods, skills, and techniques for pursuing a rewarding career. Depending on the degree programme, you can expect to take courses in statistics, financial accounting, systems analysis, data analysis, research design, statistics, marketing, operations research, decision risk analysis, and more. 

When researching management science degree programmes, decide what criteria will make a programme a good fit for you. Several universities in India have departments dedicated to management sciences, such as the Department of Management Science (PUMBA) at Savitribai Phule Pune University. Each department will have a unique set of degree offerings. For example, PUMBA offers Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees focused on Biotech and Executive MBA degrees. 

2. Hone your management science skills. 

In addition to earning your degree, you can benefit from continuing to build skills, knowledge, and industry insight in the broad field of management science. In continuing your education, you can better narrow down an area of focus or identify a specific career track for applying your management science training, such as data science or project management. 

Here are four approaches you can take: 

  • Become an Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) member. 

  • Attend INFORMS conferences and events, take the organisation’s professional development courses, and consider becoming a Certified Analytics Professional®.  

  • Attend conferences from other organisations listed on the Conference Index

3. Build a management science resume. 

Once you decide on a focus area or specific career track, the next step is to build a resume representing your capabilities. Be sure to list your education, certifications, specific skills, conferences you’ve attended, memberships in professional organisations, and other qualifications. 

4. Apply for management science jobs. 

Start by researching job openings on various career sites, including general sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, or LinkedIn. Try search queries like "management science careers," "management science jobs," "management scientist," or roles in your chosen area of focus.

For each job listing, pay close attention to salary information, qualifications required, and the tasks and responsibilities you’d be responsible for. Tailor your resume to each position—practice interviewing skills like answering different questions and researching a company. 

Learn management science with Coursera

Online courses can be a great way to gain some knowledge and skills in management science before or at the same time you pursue a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in this field. 

If you’re ready to pursue an advanced degree, check out the Master of Science in Management programme from the University of Illinois. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Article sources

Glassdoor. “Marketing Manager Salaries in India, https://www.glassdoor.co.in/Salaries/marketing-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,17.htm?clickSource=careerNav.” Accessed March 5, 2024.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.