What is an MBA in operations management


In years one and two, students take 12 courses, four courses (one of which often is independent research study with a professor) each quarter (fall, winter, spring) for a total of 24 courses. The first-year curriculum allows students to build a solid base in operations research as well as microeconomics, econometrics, stochastic modeling and optimization.

In their second year, course registration is more flexible as students transition from coursework to independent research. These courses include operations management doctoral courses offered that year and courses in other fields, such as economics, engineering, and quantitative marketing, or even an MBA course if relevant.

Qualifying Exam

Students will take a comprehensive qualifying exam at the end of their first year on the subjects of microeconomics, optimization and stochastic models. This exam focuses on the coursework taken in the student’s major field of study and measures the student’s knowledge of the field as a whole.

Paper Requirement and Candidacy

At the end of year two, students are required to write a research paper that demonstrates competency in operations research. Upon successfully passing this summer paper and maintaining a 3.0 (B) grade point average in coursework, the student is admitted to candidacy.

Research, Proposal & Dissertation

The main activity in the third year and afterward is research toward a thesis, under the direction of one or more faculty advisors. A thesis proposal must be presented to the department by the end of year three, prior to the beginning of fall classes. In their final year in the program, each candidate must complete a dissertation demonstrating original and significant research and pass a final oral examination on the dissertation.

Teaching Requirement

To promote engagement with faculty and integration with the intellectual life of the department, students serve as research and teaching assistants during years two, three, and four, including summers. Research assistantships (RAs) are an excellent lead-in to research; teaching assistantships (TAs) prepare students for teaching after obtaining the PhD.