MBA Program Overview
There are three MBA foci:
MBA Course Descriptions
PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENTS
A great deal of knowledge work performed in today’s organizations
is project-based. Consequently, project management skills are crucial to
the performance of most managers. While project management techniques are
well established, the turbulent environment faced by many projects presents
unique challenges to the project manager. Tools and frameworks for managing
these challenges are explored via real-world projects.
GAMES OF STRATEGY
Will your sales increase if you decrease your price? Not necessarily,
if your competitors also decrease their prices. Strategic situations (where
your payoff depends on your own decision and also on another decision-maker)
are characterized by competition, but also hold the possibility of cooperation,
and more generally, coordination. Using analytical tools from the field
of game theory, we will analyze strategic decision-making in pricing, capacity,
entry/exit decisions, product differentiation, deterrence, proliferation,
bundling, and convergence of standards.
In studying these decisions, we will explore the analytical basis of
seemingly fuzzy ideas such as reputation, commitment, credibility, and trust.
The elective Incentives and Contracts is strongly recommended as a (follow-up)
companion course to this course.
INCENTIVES & CONTRACTS
How can a firm incentivize its employees to share risk and undertake
the “right” kind of effort? How can a firm incentivize its retailers to
share demand information and develop stocking policies that are beneficial
to the firm and to the retailer? In raising capital, what are a firm’s incentives
to issue more equity as opposed to more debt? Knowing this, how should investors
All of the above strategic situations are characterized by information
asymmetry. Tools for analyzing such decisions include the principal-agent
framework and models for screening and signaling. In this course, we learn
and apply these tools to a diverse set of decisions: incentivizing employees;
incentives in supply chains; auctions as screening mechanisms; signaling
in recruiting; agency issues in capital structure; agency issues in corporate
While there is no official pre-requisite for this course, students are
strongly urged to take Games of Strategy before taking this course.
DATA MINING FOR BUSINESS (3 credits/14 weeks)
This course details contemporary methods and processes for extracting
information from large databases in support of tactical and strategic business
decisions. Applications in areas such as customer relationship management,
direct marketing, e-commerce, financial services, and retailing.
Forecasting is commonly used with time-series data. Some of the
topics to be explored include: choosing a forecasting technique, naïve forecasting,
smoothing methods including moving averages and exponential smoothing, multiplicative
and additive decomposition, the Box-Jenkins methodology for non-seasonal
and seasonal models, intervention models, growth models and managing the
The application of statistical software, specifically SAS and Minitab,
for insightful and extensive statistical analysis is an integral part of
OPERATIONS AND SUPPLYCHAIN STRATEGY
In the 90s, Blockbuster could not stock enough tapes to satisfy
the rental demand for movies because of the high prices charged by the studios,
such as MGM, for the movie tapes. Blockbuster and a MGM restructured the
terms of the contract: MGM sold the movie tape to Blockbuster at a much
lower price in exchange for a share of the rental revenues. Consequently,
Blockbuster stocked many more tapes: Customers were happy since they could
rent the movie, Blockbuster was happy as it resulted in increased rental
revenues, and MGM was happy since they could offset the low selling price
by a share of the rental revenues. By merely restructuring the terms of
the contract, all parties were made better-off.
Benetton found it incredibly difficult to accurately predict demand for
specific colors of sweaters. The production process involved dying the wool
with the specific colors and then knitting the sweaters. Since knitting
took a long time, Benetton had to start the knitting well in advance of
the selling season, when demand information was still fuzzy. The inaccuracy
of the forecasted demand information resulted in a mismatch between supply
and demand. Benetton remedied the situation by reversing the sequence of
steps: Knitting before dying. Since dying took a much shorter time than
knitting, this allowed the company to knit uncolored sweaters and then dye
them closer to the selling season when better demand information was available.
Hence, Benetton could better align supply with demand, not by investing
in better forecasting mechanisms, but by reversing a key step in their manufacturing
The course looks at strategies that firms can leverage to better match
supply and demand, a key source of competitive advantage for firms. These
include redesigning products and processes, managing information flows in
supply chains, leveraging the online channel, aligning incentives within
members of the supply chain, etc. Methodology includes models, cases and
PRICING AND REVENUE MANAGEMENT
Have you ever wondered why airlines sell similar seats at different
prices? Or why prices increase as one gets closer to the departure date?
Have you ever agonized as to how far in advance should you book a hotel
room? Firms in many industries, such as hotels and airlines, employ such
“smart pricing”, to maximize their revenues. Indeed, setting the “right
price” is one of the most fundamental but challenging business decisions
that a firm makes. The course introduces you to the tools and techniques
of Revenue Management – pricing smart to maximize revenues. The topics covered
include economics of pricing, strategy and tactics of PRM, pricing optimization,
differentiated pricing, dynamic pricing, mark-down pricing, legal and ethical
issues in pricing, B2B pricing and applications of PRM in various industries.
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT FOR HEALTH SERVICES
This course focuses on improving the operations of health services
organizations and, more generally, on managing health care organizations.
In particular, we will discuss the application of ideas and practical techniques
from focused operations management to the study of hospitals and
health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Of course, these tools can also
be applied to other nonprofit and for-profit organizations both within and
outside of the health care sector.
Three fundamental and related questions that plague hospital administrators
are: How can we increase throughput? How can we identify and remove bottlenecks?
How can we do more with current resources?
In this course, we will introduce a variety of tools that have been used
to increase throughput, reduce response time, and create value in the health
care sector. Leaders and decision makers from the University of Maryland
Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine will be
invited to speak with the class.
STRATEGIC & TRANSFORMATIONAL IT
The music recording industry has been in turmoil since Napster appeared
on the scene.
Why did this industry fight the technology so long? How did the managers
at Kodak respond to the invention of digital photography? This course examines
how to identify transformational technologies and develop strategies to
take advantage of them.
Beyond transformation, a 21st Century manager will make decisions about
information technology no matter where he or she works. These decisions
include how to incorporate IT with strategy, how to decide when to upgrade
legacy systems, and what enterprise applications the
firm should implement. In addition managers have to be concerned about
how to evaluate investments in IT and how to assign priorities to proposed
IT projects. The technology also enables new organization forms: how will
management be different in networked firms?
This course does not assume any particular student background. It is
focused on management issues and is suitable for the student with no IT
experience as well as for students with technical backgrounds who want to
understand how to manage IT in the firm.
MANAGING DIGITAL BUSINESSES
This course examines how firms exploit the unique opportunities that
are appearing online and simultaneously respond to the online threats to
their existing business model. Topics include: economics of new information
products, online shopping, one-on-one marketing, electronic distribution,
net-enabled transactions, supply chain integration, and electronic communities.
Course also provides an overview of the technological infrastructure that
MANAGAING EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
How can managers use emerging technologies? Such technologies
can create an advantage that is hard to replicate (e.g., Microsoft) or to
curb (e.g., Google, WiFi/3G). This course focuses on understanding (a) the
nature of new and exciting emerging technologies, (b) their value propositions
for specific organizations, and (c) how these technologies will shape value
creation, value capture and competition in the future.
TECHNOLOGY & INDUSTRY TRANSFORMATION
Wireless and telecom technologies have transformed the music and entertainment
industry: Who will produce the content? How will it be delivered? This course
focuses on the role of technology in transforming an entire industry. We
use frameworks from economics and strategy to understand the changing nature
of competition and markets in various industries.
BUSINESS PROCESS ANALYSIS FOR INFORMATION SYSTEM DESIGN
Concepts, processes, tools, and techniques needed in systems development.
Topics covered include process and data modeling, requirement analysis,
object oriented design, user interface design, ERP and package implementation,
and designing for the Web.