Operations, Information & Decisions

Computer-based management systems and analytic approaches to decision making are increasingly vital to effective management in a range of industries across public and private sectors. As organizations develop and implement sophisticated decision-support systems, they increase the demand for managers who have the expertise to understand, create, and profitably exploit rapidly developing management technology. There is also a growing demand for skilled professionals who can effectively manage the operations encompassing the manufacturing and distribution of products and services. The Operations, Information and Decisions curriculum prepares students to meet these challenges by providing rigorous foundations in the complementary disciplines of decision processes, management information systems, management science, and operations management.

A concentration in OID consists of 4.0 CUs (not including OIDD 101). Students can either take a general program of four OIDD courses or can follow a designated track for a more focused program. Students who elect to pursue a program outside the designated tracks, should consult with the concentration advisor to discuss appropriate course sequences and combinations that will best satisfy the student’s individual objectives.

OID Tracks

Decision Processes (DP)

The DP track establishes rigorous scientific foundations for describing, predicting, and improving the processes through which individuals and groups collect data and information, form judgments, and make decisions. This program examines descriptive theories and empirical research on human behavior that identify systematic biases in judgment and heuristics, or rules of thumb, that individuals and groups use to cope with complex decision-making and negotiations environments. It also examines the ways in which individuals and groups can make better decisions given their biases and information-processing limitations.

Learn more about the Decision Processes Track

Information Systems (IS)

The rapid technological progress in the computing sector and the dramatic decline in the cost of computer power have fueled an investment boom in information technologies. In addition to the traditional roles of designing, building, maintaining, and managing information systems, information technologists are now called upon to understand how technology can be used to create new corporate strategies, products, and organizations.

The IS track is designed to provide the necessary understanding of both technical and business issues relating to information systems. This program is ideal for students interested in managing information technology as a technologists, general managers, or consultants. In addition, this program provides a good supplement to engineers or other technologically-sophisticated students who wish to obtain greater exposure to managerial issues, or students in finance or management who wish to better understand the role of technology in their core disciplines.

Learn more about the Information Systems Track

Operations Management/Management Science (OM/MS)

The design, production, and distribution of goods and services are the core activities around which all firms and economies are built. The OM/MS track allows students to build a fundamental understanding of the trade-offs to consider when managing the development of products and services, as well as the operations used to produce them and fulfill customer requirements.

The need to effectively manage the production of goods and services has also sparked the development of a number of useful mathematical tools. Besides their direct application to operational problems, these management-science techniques have been broadly applied to a wide variety of other economic activities, from the pricing of financial instruments to decisions concerning mark-down policies in retailing.

The OM/MS track addresses central issues necessary to understanding production and service operations in today’s global economy. This program prepares students for immediate careers in consulting and analytic strategy support for companies, as well as future graduate studies in economics and business.

Learn more about the OM/MS Track

Student Profile: Marissa Rackson (Decisions Processes)

Why did you choose this concentration?

I took great classes with great professors and the concentration made itself.

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

OIDD 291: Negotiations because no matter what I chose to concentrate in, it would count for something. Also it fit with my schedule and course load.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

OIDD 291: Negotiations – I learned so much about material that truly interested me

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

Excel modeling, understanding how people make decisions, understanding/having a framework for what motivates people

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

Do it! Also, go the first lecture of the class, read through the syllabus, and talk to upperclassmen before making a decision. Also, study something that interests you – otherwise, it’s going to be a more negative and difficult experience.

Student Profile: Danielle Rubin

Danielle RWhy did you choose this concentration?

Interest in the subject matter, flexibility within the concentration.

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

I took OIDD 415: Product Development because it counts for both my Wharton and Engineering degrees (since I’m in M&T).

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

OIDD 220: Process Management in Manufacturing was outstanding. It opened my eyes to how systems can be quantitatively analyzed for operational decision-making.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

The analytical skills I have learned in my OID classes have been critical to my success in my internships.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

There is a tremendous amount of variety within the OID department, so it is a good choice for anyone who wants to explore several practical subject-matters with world experts in those areas.

Student Profile: Catherine Peralta (Decision Processes)

C Peralta

Why did you choose this concentration?

Being a psychology dual degree, I wanted to understand the applications of psychology in the business setting.

What was your favorite course in this concentration and why? 

Negotiations, the experiential-learning component of it really trained me to prepare and analyze a situation before approaching it.

What course did you choose to take first in this concentration and why? 

PSYC 265: Behavioral Economics in Psychology gave me a glimpse into the nobel-prize winning research by Daniel Kahneman that really gave way to this entire line of study.

What concentration-related skills have you used during internships or other work experiences?

The methodological approach to decision-making has helped me approach problems in my internships and even in my day-to-day life.

What advice would you give to a student who is considering this concentration? 

Take the concentration electives closely aligned to the work you want to pursue after college