Customers & Industries: University of Houston

University of Houston MBAs Put the DecisionTools Suite to Work

  • Industry: Academic
  • Product(s): DecisionTools Suite
  • Application: Managerial Decision Making

Summary

Phil Rogers teaches students how to analyze and make effective decisions using the DecisionTools Suite at the University of Houston's C.T. Bauer College of Business.

DecisionTools Suite

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The leverage you get by using these tools in Excel is phenomenal. My students can very quickly learn and apply the techniques they see in class to difficult decision-making problems faced by their firms.
Dr. Phil Rogers, University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College of Business

When people talk about leverage, they are most likely talking about financial instruments or mechanical advantage. But when Phil Rogers talks about leverage, he could very well be referring to the use of powerful PC software. Phil teaches Managerial Decision Making to MBA candidates at the University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College of Business where most of his students are managers with industry experience—and this is where leverage from software comes in.

These students need analytical tools that offer both a short learning curve and the ability to accurately model their real-life problems. Phil uses Palisade’s DecisionTools Suite in the classroom because “the leverage you get by using these tools in Excel is phenomenal. My students can very quickly learn and apply the techniques they see in class to difficult decision-making problems faced by their firms.”

To complement the quantitative analysis provided by the DecisionTools Suite, Phil uses a stand-alone tool called Expert Choice, which is excellent at dealing with the more qualitative objectives and criteria that go into the decision-making process.

Given their industry experience, students in Phil’s decision-making classes have current problems they are dealing with on which they can use the newly learned tools and techniques. One team of students developed a model to find the optimal allocation of 1,000 turbines to five wind farms. Students working for a major oil company optimized the frequency of scheduled plant shutdowns. Yet another student, working for a giant natural gas enterprise, determined the most cost-effective use of its inventory in the face of uncertain demand for gas and the changing spot price for gas. And another student, working at one of Houston’s largest hospitals, developed a model to determine the optimal deposit for the hospital to collect from patients undergoing organ transplant operations given uncertainties in insurance coverage and the ultimate cost of the procedures.

Phil Rogers teaches students how to make effective decisions

Perhaps the students in greatest need of the “leverage” this software offers are the managers from Sinopec and CNPC, the two largest petrochemical companies in China. As part of their Executive MBA program offered in Beijing through the C. T. Bauer College of Business, these students have three days and evenings to learn the material normally taught over a semester back in Houston and, on the fourth day, to present the results of their application of what they have learned to decision-making problems they currently face. Phil reports, “They are able to do it, solving significant business problems.” And, he points out, that couldn’t happen without real leverage.

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