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Teaching Decision Making
in MBA Classes

Phil Rogers, Clinical Assistant Professor at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, will discuss the decision-making course he teaches to MBA and Executive MBA candidates at the University of Houston.

The course deals with the practical application of spreadsheet modeling and management science techniques to the solution of complex problems. Although the emphasis on applications is on problems in the energy industry, the tools and techniques taught are applicable to problems in virtually any area of any corporate or government entity. Aspects of decision making covered are: spreadsheet modeling, handling uncertainty, identifying objectives and alternatives, simulation, setting priorities, allocating resources, planning, resolving conflict and making group decisions. Topics are explored by learning how to solve a wide variety of problems taken from the text used (Practical Management Science) and the instructor’s own experience. Two highlights of the course are the development and presentation of student projects based on problems from the students’ own working experiences, and the opportunity the students have to learn their personal communication styles and to gain an understanding of how those styles impact communication with others, thus improving the chances that when the results of their analysis are shared with others, they will be understood and accepted.

Topics covered in the talk will include the textbooks and software used, the leverage gained from the use of software tools, the nature of the student projects, and how the course is taught as an intensive short course in the Executive MBA program the University of Houston runs in Beijing.


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