Monday, November 18, 2013

Why Operations and Information Management at the Isenberg School of Management Just May Be the Best Major

Do you remember when you had to choose your major in college?  Perhaps you knew before you even were a freshman your passion and what you wanted to concentrate in and you just charged forward. Maybe you knew what you liked in general (and what you did not like, which is very useful to know and can save you a lot of wasted time and effort) but you needed several courses in college to identify your focus.

Now is the time at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, where I teach, when students declare their major. Those who are lucky enough to already be enrolled at the Isenberg School have sampled a spectrum of business courses as well as other courses as part of the curriculum. With our rigorous curriculum that emphasizes both breadth and depth students quickly identify whether they are quant and analytical types, or, perhaps, more interested in behavioral and managerial issues, or focused on specific industries -- at the Isenberg School we also have the renowned  Hospitality & Tourism Management Department and the  Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management.

But this post is about Operations and Information Management (OIM). 

My regular readers know that what was the Department of Finance and Operations Management at the Isenberg School is now two departments, so my new "home" within the school is Operations & Information Management.

OIM students, faculty, and professional are problem-solvers who apply state-of-the-art concepts, methods and tools, as well as technology.  OIM is about systems, that is, firms, organizations, or networks of firms as in the case of supply chains, and in making them operate better, whether through cost reduction, enhanced efficiency and profits, improved product quality and innovations,  redesign, improving sustainability, or even making more timely deliveries. Students learn about exciting industries from pharmaceuticals and healthcare to transportation and logistics to food and even fashion! They learn optimization techniques and analytics!  Some courses, but not all, are highlighted here.

For example, the methodologies that students learn and apply can be used also in other problem domains, including in humanitarian logistics,  a course that I developed and teach and have even offered last Spring, while on sabbatical, in Europe.

The OIM major is challenging, and hands-on with truly gifted and dedicated educators who are at the frontiers of their disciplines and are dynamic and engaged.

We bring in guest speakers and have also student clubs from the newly formed OIM Club to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, that I have been a Faculty Advisor of for almost a decade (time to celebrate).

Our students have fascinating internships at such companies as IBM and UTC, to start, and get excellent jobs -- thanks, in part, to our terrific Chase Career Center. We have been told that OIM majors command the second highest average salaries among the majors at the Isenberg School, after graduation! You can try to guess the top salary earners (and it is not Finance).

And the best part of the OIM major is the caliber, energy, and dedication of the students that we attract.

Our students are wonderful and I am so glad to be part of this community!

After they graduate, they continue to succeed and to make the world a better place.

Many stay in touch and, after a few years, some even apply to grad school.