Principles of Management Science Course

Course Description

Managers are, first and foremost, problem solvers and decision makers. Decision making is typically difficult because it involves conflict and tradeoffs among the possible alternatives, of which some may be hard to recognize. Management science is a discipline founded on the principle that by abstractly modeling how our decisions affect outcomes of interest, we can make better, faster, and more consistent decisions. 

This course is an introduction to modeling for managerial decision making. It emphasizes the formulation, solution, interpretation, and the limitations of linear programs, network models, integer programs, non-linear programs, simulation and queuing models for tactical and strategic business decisions related to supply chain management. To facilitate understanding and communication of the various models discussed in class, the course will make extensive use of spreadsheet-based applications for prescriptive and descriptive mathematical models.

Course Objectives

While many view the tools of management science as important intellectual pursuits in and of themselves, the principal goal of this course is to improve decision making through the appropriate application of management science principles. With that in mind, we expect that upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of various modeling and rational data-driven approaches to managerial decision making, including a variety of normative models (linear, network, mixed-integer programs, and quadratic programs), as well as their potential contributions to organizational effectiveness (comprehension).
  • Design, construct, validate, and interpret appropriate spreadsheet-based models for the analysis of one-off and recurring managerial decision problems (application, analysis, synthesis).
  • Utilize post-optimal solution information provided by those models to recommend appropriate actions and to evaluate the sensitivity of those recommendations to changes in environmental assumptions (evaluation).