MBA Teaching in the Time of COVID19

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Mini 2 teaching began last week. I teach two MBA courses, each with two sections: (Core) Operations Management (OM, 45-760) and (Elective) Service Management (SM, 45-965).

The OM course is entirely on Zoom, while the SM course, until Thanksgiving, has one in-person on-campus section (and then on Zoom), and the other is entirely on Zoom.

Both of my courses as quite mathematical, with OM focused on manufacturing and SM covering startups in addition to traditional service operations (call centers, hospitals). I cover Retail/Distribution in both, but the emphasis is on different aspects: in OM, I concentrate on Net Landed Cost (inbound logistics into a Distribution Center) while in SM I discuss AI/ML use in online retailers (of Wayfair, for example, in addition to company culture and the critical role of customer-facing employees in service operations).

García Márquez: Tayur :: Magical Realism: Mathematical Realism😏

In addition to trends, MBA students are now expecting to also discuss how OM and SM have changed during COVID, and what to expect going forward into 2021. 

WSJ is my muse for MBA Teaching.🤷🏽‍♂️

In OM when I discuss Retail and Distribution (inventories and process innovations):  

Home Depot Won a Lot of Customers During the Pandemic. The Trick Is Keeping Them.

Bed Bath & Beyond Picks the Low-Hanging Fruit 

What is new in outbound logistics

Drone Startups Aim to Carve Out Role in Delivery of Potential Covid-19 Vaccine

When I cover Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, as part of production planning in process industry:

3M Sales Rise From Personal-Safety, Home-Improvement Products

Managing Global Supply Chains, illustrating the connection of operations with finance (PPG), what is happening in international logistics (Maersk), and understanding supply-demand mismatches across a variety of industries (Whirlpool, Toyota,  Harley Davidson, PPG): 

Inventory Buildup Helps, Hurts Paints and Coatings Maker PPG Industries

The Megaships That Broke Global Trade

Why You Might Have Trouble Getting the Refrigerator, Can of Paint or Car You Want

What about discrete-parts manufacturing, especially lean production?

Harley’s Profit Surges on Leaner Production

In SM, one of the cases I teach early in the course is Rent-the-Runway

How Is Rent the Runway Still In Business? The CEO Moved Quickly, Cut Deep.

The key quantitative tool that I emphasize in the SM course is queuing models. Here is a modern twist to conventional wisdom:

Hate Waiting in Line? New Research May Help Things Move Faster

Of course, we cover healthcare operations, and I emphasize that in the US, MBAs should fully understand the Healthcare Eco-system Map, especially the role of payers (private and public):

Trump Administration Releases Plan to Ensure Coronavirus Vaccines Are Free

The final case in SM is Uber. Beyond platform economics (using queuing games), we discuss the regulatory environment that is crucial to the business model:

California Voters Exempt Uber, Lyft, DoorDash From Reclassifying Drivers

More generally, the impact of regulations can be widespread:

Tech Startups Say New Pay Rules for H-1B Visas Are Unaffordable

Of course, I continue to cover social enterprises (using OrganJet) and discuss scaling through channel partnerships (using SmartOps) and discuss how one might translate that with another startup in the area of Serverless Blockchain. You may recall that I taught two PhD courses in Mini 1 (all on Zoom), very different from MBA Teaching: Healthcare Operations and Quantum Integer Programming.

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