This core course focuses on understanding levers for structuring, managing, and improving a firm's recurring business processes to achieve competitive advantage in customer responsiveness, price, quality, and variety of products and services. These levers are broadly applicable to service firms, for example banks, hospitals, and airlines, as well as to traditional product-based firms. Processes within firms, as well as between firms, i.e. supply chains, are explored. The fundamental principles underlying state-of-the-art practices, such as Lean, Mass Customization, and Time-Based Competition, are explored so that students learn to critically evaluate these and other operational improvement programs.
Students learn the basics of how to manage the operations of a firm, and how operations issues affect and are affected by the many business decisions they will be called upon to make or recommend in their careers. As such, this course is essential to students aspiring to become consultants, entrepreneurs, or general managers. A working knowledge of operations is also indispensable to those interested in marketing, finance, and accounting, where the interface between these functions and operations is critical. Finally, an understanding of how firms become market leaders through operations is important in investment careers.
Most weeks consist of in-depth case discussion, integrated with theory. As such, the course is ideal preparation for many cases encountered during first-year internship interviews, as well as second-year interviews.