The course project is an opportunity to apply course concepts and to perform an in-depth analysis of operations strategy issues that are of interest to you. The final project can be done individually or in groups of up to three people. The project is to write a paper and make a presentation on an operations "comparison study." Identify a pair of organizations in the same (or similar) industry and compare their operations strategies, systems design and operations, and/or performance. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of each company and give your opinions on the appropriateness of the operations approach of each. Give your opinions on the relative competitive strengths of each company going forward in time and the role that operations plays in each company's competitive strengths and weaknesses. You may use public or private companies, large or small, foreign or domestic.

The paper should be 15-20 pages in length (double-spaced, 12 point font with one-inch margins on each side). Examples of company pairs might be: McDonald's/Burger King, JetBlue/Delta, Starbucks/Au Bon Pain, Fedex/UPS, Fidelity/Vanguard, Mass General Hospital/Beth Israel, etc. The paper is due on Ses #24. Student teams will give short presentations on their papers during Ses #23 and 24.

Student Project Examples

All student project examples are courtesy of MIT students and are used with permission.

Vapiano vs. Trattoria Il Panino (PDF) (Courtesy of Dori Davari, Terence Lam, Iulian Pogor, and Joao Violante. Used with permission.)

Trader Joe's vs. Whole Foods (PDF)

Cleveland Clinic vs. CVS MinuteClinic (PDF - 1.5MB)