Crowdsourcing. 3D printing. Drones. Innovation contests. Augmented reality. Mobile ordering applications. License-reading technology. Order-online-pickup-in-store. “Uber-style” business models. Besides potentially sparking curiosity, these innovative technologies and data-driven business processes share their huge potential for value creation when they align with fundamental operations principles for matching supply and demand. This, in short, is the essential premise behind the Master in Management Technology & Operations concentration.
While the traditional view of an Operations Manager conjures up the image of a worker at an assembly line or in a warehousing facility, successful organizations view excellence in Technology and Operations Management as a powerful source of competitive advantage and sustainable profitability, in both manufacturing and service settings.
Building on the fundamental principles laid out in the “Technology & Operations Management” core module, the concentration consists of four courses:
- Operations Strategy
- Supply Chain Strategy
- Prescriptive Analytics
- Predictive Analytics
“Operations Strategy” and “Supply Chain Strategy” focus on how a firm needs to structure its operations to align with its overall competitive strategy, and develop a deep understanding of the mechanisms through which Technology & Operations Strategy impacts a firm’s financial performance. The “Operations Strategy” course introduces students to the key factors that impact a firm’s value creation process. From procurement over innovation processes and global network design to the implementation of disrupting technologies, this course equips students with the capabilities to analyze, evaluate, and optimize a firm’s value chain. Students will also learn how sudden changes in legislation impact a firm’s operations strategy, and why diametrically opposite operations strategies may all lead to successful businesses in some industries, whereas in other industries a unique “best practice” emerges. The “Supply Chain Strategy” course develops a framework on how to structure supply chains to deal with increasing uncertainties in the market place. The framework will help students explain past successes (say, Netflix and Amazon) and failures (say, Blockbuster and Borders) and most importantly, predict the economic viability of new models that are constantly evolving. On completion of the course, students will have profound answers to questions such as “Why is Amazon more expensive than Aldi and Costco?”, “Should diamond rings be sold online, and should Tiffany worry?”, “How does Zara’s fast-fashion model affect its bottom line?”, and “Should Apple keep more inventory, or should it convince Foxconn to build more assembly capacity instead?”
“Prescriptive Analytics” and “Predictive Analytics” provide students with rigorous tools that are the basis of data-driven planning decisions in practice. The techniques covered in the two courses include large-scale simulation, data-driven optimization, and modern machine learning methods. Importantly, students learn to quantitatively assess the value of new technologies, process innovations, and big data: for example, how much value can companies actually extract from the increased prediction accuracy promised by modern machine learning techniques?
The concentration is highly suited to students who wish to pursue career paths that require the strategic analysis or design of a firm’s operations, including those interested in consulting, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, investment analysis, and general management. Not surprisingly, any major strategy consulting firm features business units that are structured around the concepts and tools this concentration focusses on. The concentration also provides the fundamental toolkit for any modern-day entrepreneur. Operations principles are at the heart of all innovation processes; be it on the product or business model level. Recent technology-driven success stories, such as Amazon, Netflix, Starbucks, Uber, Zara or Zipcar, exemplify that exceling in aligning technology and operations with competitive strategy is key to success.