Undergraduate Curriculum in Operations Management
Virtually every section of the economy has been shaken by revolutionary changes in the ways firms provide customers with goods and services. Firms are responding to these changes by reengineering their operations. Operations management enables firms to gain a competitive advantage by, at a minimum, cost leadership quality superiority, flexible response to customer needs, and getting products and services to market quickly.
Our mission is to equip 21st-century managers with the ability and analytical skills to lead and manage organizations with complex operations.
Our faculty is known for cutting-edge research on critical, emerging operations and strategic issues. This research is reflected not only in the foundation core course but also in the several unique advanced electives offered. We are a multidisciplinary group with expertise in mass customization, business process design, service operations, value chain management, environmental management, quality, distribution channel management, risk analysis and management, manufacturing systems design, and global operations strategy.
We consult and conduct research on real-world problems in a variety of industries and government agencies. These include banking, automobiles, telecommunications, electronics, machines tools, cosmetics, chemicals, pollution control, waste management, consumer goods, airlines, health care, steel, retailing, computers, utilities, and NASA.
We emphasize active learning through internships, experiential exercises, real-world cases, guest speakers, field visits and hands-on field projects. We constantly stress the relationships between analytic and strategic perspectives.
A working knowledge of today’s key operations issues provides the skills to build successful careers in many fields. As firms restructure in response to global challenges in the marketplace, ample opportunities exist for managers in every function to excel by analyzing and improving business operations. For example, an operations consultant or manager would acquire the skills necessary to undertake business process improvements, total quality management initiatives, and customer service improvements. A financial analyst or management consultant would be in a better position to evaluate a firm’s strengths, weaknesses, and valuation by understanding how operations affect its competitive position and long-term cash flow. A marketing manager who understands operations would be better positioned to take multiple, simultaneous product development projects from conception through delivery, on time and on budget. This would allow firms to bring products to market more quickly, cheaply, and with better quality. A chief information officer or logistics director who understands operations would be in a better position to design and implement state-of-the-art manufacturing and service delivery systems.
Undergraduate Courses in Operations Management
Undergraduate Core Course
OPMG-UB.0001 (C60.0001) Competitive Advantage from Operations
(Fall 2012: course name will be "Operations Management")
Undergraduate Elective Courses
- Supply Chain Management*
- Decision Models
*See OM Advisor for course number.
Competitive Advantage from Operations
(Fall 2012: course name will be "Operations Management")
Prerequisites: V31.0002, STAT-UB.0103 (C22.0103) (or STAT-UB.0001 [C22.0001] and STAT-UB.0003 [C22.0003]), and junior standing. Corequisite: ACCT-UB.0102 (C10.0102) (or ACCT-UB.0001 [C10.0001] with ACCT-UB.0002 [C10.0002]). 4 points.
Operations Management is the design and management of the processes that transform inputs into finished goods or services. Operations is one of the primary functions of a firm. Whereas marketing focuses on the demand for the product, and whereas finance provides the capital for the product, operations actually produces and delivers the product.
This course provides a foundation for understanding the operations of a firm. Our objective by the end of the course is to provide you with the basic skills necessary to critically analyze a firm's operating performance and practices. Such knowledge is important for careers in a variety of areas, including general management, entrepreneurship, investment banking (e.g. business restructurings, mergers and acquisitions), venture capital (e.g. evaluating new business plans) and management consulting (business restructuring improvement).
Unlike many courses in the core, which tend to treat the firm as a "black box", we will be primarily concerned with "opening up" the black box and discovering what makes a firm "tick" - or, for that matter, "stop ticking". In contrast to your management courses, our focus is on the technological rather than human dimension of a firm's internal operations - though there are obvious connections between the two that we will explore. In contrast to the measurement focus of your accounting courses, our concern is understanding what elements of a firm's operations enable it to produce quality outputs at a competitive cost structure. That is, we will focus on how the "physics" of material, work and information flows and the design and management of a firm's processes interact to determine a firm's cost structure and its ability to compete effectively in terms of non-cost measures such as quality, variety and speed.
Because the operations of a firm vary widely from one industry to the next, a course like this cannot cover all topics that are relevant to any given industry. Rather, we have selected a set of topics that are fundamental to understanding operations in a wide range of industries. These concepts are then illustrated using cases from a diverse set of businesses.
Supply Chain Management
See OM Faculty Advisor for Course Number
Prerequisite: OPMG-UB.0001 (C60.0001). 3 points.
The function of supply chain management is to design and manage the processes, assets, and flows of material and information required to satisfy customers’ demands. Logistics-related costs account for 20 to 25 percent of a typical firm’s total costs. On the revenue side, the supply chain decisions have a direct impact on the market penetration and customer service. Globalization of economy and electronic commerce have heightened the strategic importance of supply chain management and created new opportunities for using supply chain strategy and planning as a competitive tool. Electronic commerce has not only created new distribution channels for consumers but also revolutionized the industrial marketplace by facilitating interfirm communication and by creating efficient markets through trading communities. Moreover, the combination of enterprise information infrastructure and the Internet has paved the way for a variety of supply chain optimization technologies. Topics covered include supply chain network design, inventory management, B2B and B2C electronic commerce, use information technology in supply chain optimization, and interfirm collaboration.
Prerequisite: OPMG-UB0001 (C60.0001). 3 points.
Introduces the basic principles and techniques of applied mathematical modeling for managerial decision making. Students learn to use some of the more important analytic methods (e.g., spreadsheet modeling, optimization, Monte-Carlo simulation), to recognize their assumptions and limitations, and to employ them in decision making. Students learn to develop mathematical models that can be used to improve decision making within an organization; sharpen their ability to structure problems and to perform logical analyses; translate descriptions of decision problems into formal models and investigate those models in an organized fashion; identify settings in which models can be used effectively and apply modeling concepts in practical situations; and strengthen their computer skills, focusing on how to use the computer to support decision making.
The emphasis is on model formulation and interpretation of results, not on mathematical theory. This course is aimed at undergraduate students with little prior exposure to modeling and quantitative analysis, but it is appropriate for all students who wish to strengthen their quantitative skills. The emphasis is on models that are widely used in diverse industries and functional areas, including finance, operations, and marketing.
Prerequisite: MGMT-UB.0001 (C50.0001). 3 points.
Counts as an advanced elective toward the certificate in operations management.
See the Management Department website for the course description.