Acquisitions and contract managers essentially shop for a living. These specialists--also known as purchasing agents or buyers--are responsible for procuring the goods and services that keep their companies running. Buyers purchase goods destined for resale, products as diverse as Christmas trees, clothing, and electronics. Purchasing agents secure goods and services needed for use within their own company, such as raw materials or office supplies.
Purchasing professionals concern themselves foremost with getting the best deal for their company; in other words, buying the highest quality goods and services for the cheapest possible cost. They consider sales records and inventory levels, target potential suppliers, and keep abreast of changing supply and demand trends. They must have a sound understanding of economics and be extremely familiar with their specific buying milieu. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job opportunities will be best for college graduates. Typical courses in an online operation management program might include legal and financial courses, business law, and acquisitions and contract management methods.
Acquisitions and Contract Management Careers
Just under half of all purchasing managers and buyers work in wholesale trade and manufacturing, focusing their efforts on increasing the revenue of their companies. The federal government is also a major employer, as it contracts out thousands of public services across the country. Purchasing managers employed in this sector may be required to buy anything from machinery to airline tickets, and may also specialize in negotiating and supervising supply contracts.Most acquisitions and contract managers work from comfortable offices. Their hours often fluctuate during sales or conferences, or as deadlines approach. Many enjoy several days of travel per month, and those employed by international companies and large retailers sometimes travel abroad. There were about 529,000 buyers and purchasing agents in the U.S. in 2006, with a median salary of $80,000.
Studying for Online Degrees in Acquisitions Contract Management
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts no immediate change in the overall employment of acquisitions and contract managers, with slight expected declines in certain sectors. Obtaining a business degree could give you a significant advantage in the field of buying and contract management. Other useful qualifications include:
- Familiarity with word processing and spreadsheet software
- Good communication, negotiation, and leadership skills
- Knowledge of supply-chain management
The specialized training you receive in an acquisitions and contract management degree program can make your resume stand out to potential employers. Some students choose to combine their acquisitions training with general college degrees in finance, accounting, or business to increase their marketability. Those seeking advancement may wish to pursue a master's degree, in addition to garnering as much experience as possible from entry-level positions.