"College is for learning how to think."
~ James D. Watson, "Avoid boring people: Lessons from a life in science".
As a student and instructor, I have always found it beneficial for students to be actively involved in the learning process. I try to promote such active involvement by asking questions, conducting hands-on sessions where students work through examples with me using their laptops, and occasionally splitting the students into groups to solve a problem or develop a product to share with the whole class which simulates a real business experience, concept, or project.
In teaching operations management, I try to focus on helping students develop problem solving skills, computational skills, and a familiarity with the main qualitative ideas and terminology which are used in business operations. To do so, I encourage critical thinking, incorporate technology into the classes, and link the concepts we discuss to examples in the ‘real world’.
At the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University, I taught Business Analytics (MGSC 207) in the Spring 2017 semester. The course had an enrollment of about 30 students. At the UConn School of Business, I taught the core operations management course (OPIM 3104) for the Operations and Information Management department for five semesters from the Fall 2012 semester through the Fall 2014 semester. The course typically had enrollments of about 40 students. These courses were focused on providing the basic analytical skills for making optimal and data-driven business decisions. I also taught, and later coordinated, a one-credit course on Microsoft Office which is required for all business majors, and which is often taken by more than 400 students in an academic year. These courses have given me the opportunity to work with a diverse student population in large classes; providing invaluable experience for me to develop and hone my teaching skills by using a variety of strategies to motivate the students and present and explain new concepts. Courses were structured to integrate combinations of lecture, class discussion, “hands-on” analysis of realistic business situations and relevant audio–visual materials.
An overview of the scope of the business analytics and operations management courses I have taught is included below. Currently, I am also designing and developing materials for an upcoming graduate course in Behavioral Economics at Chapman to support the Master of Science degree in Behavioral and Computational Economics.
In Introduction to Business Analytics, I introduced undergraduate business majors to a variety of topics, tools, and techniques spanning descriptive analytics (such as tools for exploratory data analysis along with fundamental principles from probability and statistics), predictive analytics (including regression and forecasting methods) and prescriptive analytics (including optimization methods). We covered many business applications and decisions spanning marketing, finance, and operations. The course included a strong “hands-on” component where students learned to analyze practical business problems using real data sets. Classwork covered a wide range of analytical and computational problems and explored many of the sophisticated features of Microsoft Excel.
Each semester from Fall 2012 through Fall 2014, I taught Operations Management (OM) for undergraduate business majors. A central theme of the course is viewing operations as a transformation process which takes inputs into a production system and uses them to create outputs of greater value. We cover a wide range of topics in detail spanning the spectrum of OM tools and techniques which are used to create value for a firm. A sample of topics includes Quality Management, Project Management, Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, Revenue Management, Forecasting, Statistical Process Control, Linear Programming, and Queueing theory. I supplement my lectures and slides with in-class activities, and selected video clips to illustrate how the material taught in class is relevant to real business problems. The course contains a blend of qualitative concepts and managerial insights, quantitative models for addressing fundamental business problems, and computational techniques which can help develop skills with practical value for use after graduation.