Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Tutorials: Approximately 2 sessions / month, 1.5 hours / session


15.060 Data, Models, and Decisions; 6.041 Probabilistic Systems Analysis; or permission of the instructor.

Course Objective

This course provides students with concepts, techniques and tools to design, analyze and improve operational capabilities of an organization. The course covers a broad range of application domains and industries such as electronics, online services, sustainability, insurance, health care, retail, fashion, automotive, manufacturing, and more. The topics covered include: process analysis and innovation, capacity analysis, inventory management, postponement, production control, supply chain design, coordination, and sustainability, operational risk, quality management, revenue management and pricing.

The course includes lectures and case studies, as well as simulation games that provide hands-on practice with some of the central concepts. The course provides relevant knowledge and skills for a wide variety of career paths, including consulting, sustainability, corporate management, manufacturing, supply chain management, NGOs, product development, financial services, private equity, and healthcare.

The course relies on a combination of case discussions, lectures, readings, and assignments. To pursue the course objective most effectively, you will have to:

  1. Prepare the assigned cases, readings, exercises, and discuss them in class.
  2. Prepare written analyses of the assigned cases.
  3. Prepare a two-page review of the book The Goal by Goldratt and Cox.
  4. Engage in the managerial simulation exercises and prepare related written reports.

Academic Integrity

When preparing cases and assignments you should not receive input from anyone who has already participated in a faculty-led discussion of the same material. In addition, you should work alone when preparing graded individual assignments. When preparing graded team assignments, your discussions should be strictly limited to the members of your team. When preparing any graded assignment you may not consult or use material not already included in the course materials or posted on the course webpage, unless this has been explicitly authorized by the instructor. In particular, using material from previous editions of this course or courses offered at other schools is strictly prohibited. Also, no individual may be listed as a co-author of a team assignment unless that person has contributed to the work submitted in a substantial manner. Each member of the team is fully responsible for ensuring that each submitted assignment is done according to the expected professional standards and the academic integrity policy.

Note that this policy implies in particular that you should:

  • Never ask for/obtain/use hints or material relative to an assignment from any student or alumnus who has already taken the class.
  • Never perform a search on the internet to find information relative to a graded assignment.

Team and Individual Work

  • Students are required to form teams of at most 3 (this is a strict constraint). The students will work in their teams in preparing the two "deep" case analyses as well as playing the simulation games (see below). In team assignments the students are allowed to discuss the assignment only with their team members. (For more details see the Academic Integrity section above.)
  • In individual assignments you should not consult any other student including your team members.

Grading and Assignments

Class Participation (Individual)

Class participation will be determined on the basis of your attendance, punctuality, and contributions to class discussions. Some of the criteria that we will use to judge effective class participation include:

  1. Is the participant a good listener?
  2. Is the participant concise and articulate?
  3. Are the points made relevant to the current discussion? Are they linked to the comments of others?
  4. Do the comments show clear evidence of appropriate and insightful analysis of the case?
  5. Is there a willingness to participate?
Individual Work
Class participation 20%
Book review: The Goal 10%
Homework assignments 10%
Three "quick" case analyses 15%
Group Work (Maximum Team Size = 3)
Two "deep" case analyses 25%
Simulation games and reports 20%