Business, School of
This course provides a tool for business communication, as accounting is an important language of business. Students are introduced to the accounting process, its underlying concepts, and the techniques of preparing and analyzing financial statements. Students are also introduced to issues in accounting for assets, liabilities, and stockholders? equity. The course demonstrates the employment of accounting data by users outside the firm, and the application of accounting numbers in financial analyses and market decisions.
Cat. II This course is intended to familiarize the student with the wide variety of ways in which accounting data are used by management as a tool for the attainment of predetermined organizational objectives. The emphasis of the course is on the application of accounting data, rather than on its preparation, and particular attention is given to the use of financial data both in controlling day-to-day activities and planning future operations. Principal topics include: master budgets, cost analysis and classification systems, cost-volume-profit analysis, standard cost accounting and an introduction to capital budgeting. Recommended background: ACC 1100. This course will be offered in 2014-15 and in alternating years thereafter.
Managing supply chains is recognized as a critical factor for success among many firms, and may be a source of competitive advantage. This course will adopt a management accounting perspective to help managers plan, analyze, and manage the performance of their firm and their supply chain. Three types of topics will be presented: theoretical perspectives, such as transaction cost economics, agency, and goal setting theories; performance measurement, such as financial and non-financial performance measures of the firm and its suppliers; and performance management and challenges, such as strategic cost management, incentives, and total cost of ownership. Recommended background: BUS 2060.
Cat. I Leadership is a critical role in any global, technological organization.? This course explores how the concepts of creativity, entrepreneurial and critical thinking, emotional and self-awareness, passion, diversity, communication, and ethics inform and affect leadership practice.? The course considers a variety of contemporary leadership challenges including how leaders work effectively across cultural, technological, and disciplinary boundaries, how leaders foster new ideas and bring them to fruition, how they communicate effectively and persuasively to diverse stakeholders, and how they make decisions that are both ethical and effective. The course is designed to 1) increase students? awareness of their own leadership styles, 2) examine the responsibilities of leadership, and 3) determine best practices in leadership.
The global nature of business is indisputable. This course introduces the students to the complexity of the global environment and adopts a multi-dimensional view (cultural, economic, social, legal, political, and technological) of world economy. It promotes understanding the global environment as integrative forces affecting the success or failure of today?s businesses and fosters a global perspective. Topics may include an overview of the world economy, comparative advantage and international trade, cultural distance, FDI/ globalization theory, outsourcing and global supply chain coordination, political and country risk, the global monetary system and currency risk, legal and ethical issues, and risk management.
This course addresses the impact of law on business. The course covers fundamental areas of business law, such as torts, contracts, intellectual property, and legal forms of business organizations, and their effects on business decisions. Particular attention is paid to technology-based enterprises where global business issues intersect with law.
Cat. I This course provides students with an understanding of the primary financial statements used for internal and external business decision-making in start-up firms and large corporations. It emphasizes underlying accounting concepts captured in financial statements, while highlighting the interdependence among these statements. The course will cover analytical techniques, such as ratio analyses and sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of changes in strategy and outcomes on efficiency and effectiveness measures. It also describes the various users of internal and external financial statements, and the potential conflicts between these various stakeholders.
Cat. I Financial and operational risks are omnipresent in small entrepreneurial enterprises and in the corporate world. All firms, large and small, must be able to manage risk to create value. This course introduces students to enterprise risk and prepares them to act in the presence of risk. The course will sensitize students to two significant types of risk (namely, financial and operational risk), provide students with tools for assessing risk and minimizing risk exposure, and prepare students to take risk into account when making decisions as leaders, managers, and individuals.
This course explores the use of data mining and analytics to create business intelligence and use it for improving internal operations and understanding customers and supply chains. It provides an introduction to the concepts and methods of data analysis for decision-making. Students will learn a comprehensive set of spreadsheet skills and tools, including how to design, build, test, and use spreadsheets for business analyses. Students will also develop an understanding of the uses of business data analyses for decision-making, forecasting, and obtaining and maintaining a competitive advantage. Industrial Engineering majors may not receive credit for both BUS 2080 and MA 2210.
This course focuses on the ways value can be created and captured through innovation. Focusing on the assessment of customers, organizational capabilities, and competition, students will consider a variety of different types of innovations and their associated ethical and financial value propositions. Students will learn analytic tools to successfully assess and commercialize technology, product, and service innovations in a variety of contexts.
Operations are embedded in a constantly changing network of relationships with various stakeholders including customers and suppliers. Within the organization, scarce resources (including financial, human, and technological) need to be ethically allocated and aligned with strategic goals. This course focuses on process analysis, design, and implementation within the constraints of stakeholder networks and available resources.
Cat. I Every successful business has a strategy for how it provides value and earns profit within its particular industry. Focusing on the contexts of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, this course develops analytic approaches for assessing the various aspects of strategy such as the competitive environment, the network of stakeholders, ethical implications, investor motivation, operational execution, and financial projections that are necessary to create a complete business plan. This class is optimally taken while the MQP is in progress.
Cat. 1 This course is designed for the senior student who wishes to acquire or strengthen important skills needed for organizational success. Among the subjects covered is power in organizations, what it is, and how to acquire and appropriately use it. Additionally, this course emphasizes presentation skills, organizational etiquette, cross-cultural communication, and the knowledge of current events. The student will be expected to be familiar with and use all forms of media information for both individual and group projects. The course may be counted as a 4000-level elective for MG, MGE, or MIS, or as a Free Elective for any student at WPI. Recommended Background: Senior standing. Credit may not be earned for both OBC 430X and OBC 4300.
This course will introduce students to the concept of social entrepreneurship and the ways in which social entrepreneurs are addressing complex social problems with their entrepreneurial ventures. Students will be exposed to the challenges and rewards of running a social enterprise. They will learn valuable business and entrepreneurial tools that can be applied to the design of sustainable social business models. Topics include social opportunity recognition and evaluation, business models in the social sector, social impact assessment, the double-bottom line, scalability of solutions, organizational forms and structures, and social venture financing.
This course is designed to provide students with the frameworks, models and tools to assess the potential for commercializing new venture ideas. It is particularly targeted at WPI juniors -- in advance of their MQPs -- who are interested in considering the possibility that the outcomes of their MQPs might have commercial potential. However, the course will be open to all undergraduate students ? as the same learning outcomes will be applicable to students engaged in projects throughout their WPI learning experience? and beyond. The course will be accessible to all students who have a lively intellect; are open to new modes of learning; and are willing to engage in opportunity assessment within an ambiguous and uncertain context; with incomplete information, and for which there is typically no single correct answer but rather multiple possible answers -- each with pluses and minuses.
In the modern competitive and global world confronting today?s engineers, innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) are increasingly important perspectives for every engineering career. Individuals proficient in I&E are likely to possess unique competitive advantage over those who do not. This course develops the foundation for developing such proficiency by examining the functional roles of the business/commercial aspects of engineering disciplines as well as establishing a basis for innovative thinking. Specific cases where I&E has led to new products innovation and new enterprise development will supplement course materials.
Selling is a major part of business life, but it is especially important for those who are launching a new venture. They need to sell their business plan to potential investors. Later they need to sell their product or service to a customer. Ultimately they need to create an organization that is focused on meeting customer and other stakeholder needs through effective selling disciplines. This course will examine the elements of the sales cycle in terms of preparation, market research, prospecting, objection handling, closing, techniques for motivating the sales professional and formulation of strategy for the successful selling transaction. As part of the course students will be required to prepare individual sales presentations, one to secure investment for a new venture and one to sell a product or service to a customer. Guest speakers may be used on topics such as sales coaching, inside sales management, and to deliver sales effectiveness training.
This course focuses on identifying ideas for new businesses and learning how to evaluate those ideas to determine if they are feasible. Using various opportunity recognition models, students will be expected to come up with a business idea and conduct an analysis of the feasibility of the venture and its fit with the founder. Recommended background for this course consists of OIE 2850 and two of the following: ACC 1100, BUS 2020, BUS 2060, BUS 3010, BUS 3020, or BUS 4030.
This course focuses on business plan development, especially the financia l aspects of the plan. The intent is that students will use a feasibility analysis, such as the one completed in ETR 3910, and turn that into a complete business plan. Additionally, students will learn about seed capital, venture, and other means of financing new ventures. Recommended background for this course consists of ETR 3910, OIE 2850 and two of the following: ACC 1100, BUS 2020, BUS 2060, BUS 3010, BUS 3020, or BUS 4030.
One of the most troublesome aspects of entrepreneurship is running the business once it is started. This course focuses on techniques to grow the new venture and how to manage both the growth and operations. Considerable emphasis will be placed on expanding existing markets, finding new markets, anticipating the next generation of products, and managing cash flow. Recommended background for this course consists of five of the following: ACC 1100, ACC 2101, BUS 1010, BUS 1020, BUS 2020, BUS 2060, BUS 4030, BUS 3010, BUS 3020, ETR 3910, ETR 3920, OIE 2850.
This course will focus on the intersection of finance and technology. Students will learn about risk analysis in the context of the financial services sector including liquidity risk, regulation risk, operations risk, country risk, credit risk, enterprise risk, and market risk. In addition, students will learn about asset valuations including credit derivatives, structures, and financial products. Students will design models of risk assessment. Financial reporting using such technologies as visual dashboards and mobile devices will be included in order to provide real time information such as actual costs vs. budgets, and estimated targets vs. actual production and sales targets. The course will feature guest speakers from Wall Street firms as well as recent journal articles and case studies.
This course is designed to help the student make well-informed judgments when faced with personal financial decisions. Such decisions are growing in number and complexity, and both individuals and families need a considerable degree of financial expertise in order to utilize optimally their limited incomes. Principal topics include: insurance (medical, life, automobile and disability), consumer credit, estate planning, taxation, personal investments (real estate, securities, etc.), social security legislation and personal financial planning.
An analysis of how the financial system of the United States has developed and contributes to the achievement of broad national economic goals as high national income, satisfactory economic growth, stable prices, and equilibrium in balance of payments with other countries. Emphasis is placed on the theory of the supply and demand for short-term money and long-term capital, and the resultant effect on interest rates. Primary concentration on the sources and uses of funds of the major non-bank financial institutions, such as insurance companies, pension funds, mutual funds, finance companies, savings and loan banks and mutual savings banks. A discussion of the reforms of financial institutions, and of money and capital markets to more efficiently allocate the scarce resources of the country. This course is intended to serve the business major and other students interested in understanding the role of financial intermediaries in the United States economy. Suggested background: some knowledge of accounting and economics will be helpful in taking this course.
Cat. I This course is designed to provide an introduction to the language and methodology of security analysis. It is intended to serve two different groups of students: those interested in the subject from the viewpoint of intelligent management of their own portfolios, and those students who have a possible career interest in some facet of the securities industry. Principal topics include: institutional structure and language of the securities market; investment research; alternative investment opportunities; financial statement analysis; fundamental evaluation of common stocks, preferred stocks and bonds; technical analysis; and business cycle analysis. Recommended background: ACC 1100 or BUS 2060 and ECON 1120.
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS)
In this course, students are introduced to app development within a visual integrated development environment (IDE). The focus is developing business apps that will run on Android devices, including phone, tablet, and laptop form factors. Students will learn a core set of skills in the areas of screen navigation, decision logic, data manipulation, user interface controls, and IDE capabilities. This skill base will then be extended to create and deploy a custom app as part of a group project. Recommended background: CS 2119 or CS 2102, or equivalent knowledge.
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of database management and the application of database software to implement business information systems that support managerial and operational decision making. Special topics covered include relational data models, query languages, normalization, locking, concurrency control and recovery. The course covers data administration and the design of data tables for computerized databases. Students will use a commercial database package to design and implement a small business database application. Recommended background: CS 220X or equivalent knowledge.
Students taking this course will develop an understanding of how organizations can effectively use telecommunications technology to enhance business functionality. Students will analyze the development of organizational communications infrastructures and their use for the development of ?virtual? organizational structures and to support globally-distributed organizations. The course will begin with a survey of the concepts and technologies which form the basis of a business telecommunications system and which allow the merging of voice, data and video in an integrated multimedia communications structures. Recommended background: BUS 3010.
Cat. I This course integrates students? background in MIS in a one-term project focusing on development of creative solutions to open-ended business and manufacturing problems. The project will utilize systems analysis and design tools such as systems development life cycle, feasibility study, cost-benefit analysis, structured analysis and design. Students will acquire the skills necessary to analyze, develop, implement, and document real-life information systems. Students must be able to organize themselves and the project to complete their work within a seven week term. It is recommended that MIS majors take this course in preparation for their MQP. Recommended background: MIS 3720.
This course focuses on the newest developments in the field of user experience (UX) (e.g., the use of physiological measures such as eye tracking in UX design) and provides an introduction to various methods used in cutting-edge research laboratories to study user experience. Both theoretical concepts and practical skills with appropriate development tools will be addressed within the scope of the class through hands-on projects and assignments. Students will develop a plan to innovate with user experience and will implement a simple prototype of their plan. Recommended background: BUS 3010, CS 2102 or ability to program in a higher level programming language. Credit may not be earned for both MIS 4740 and MIS 4741.
A successful MIS manager must keep up with the fast-paced changes in technology, apply technology when appropriate, and understand the implications technology has on employees and an organization as a whole. S/he must understand both the internal (e.g., political and organizational culture) and external (e.g., laws, global concerns, and cultural issues) environments. The core MIS capabilities of business and information technology (IT) vision, design of IT architecture, and IT service delivery also need to be understood by effective MIS managers. Recommended background: BUS 3010, MIS 3720 and MIS 4720 .
Knowing how to manage and interact with customers is a key component for business success. Today, customer needs are continuously evolving as well as how products and services are purchased and consumed. Understanding consumer behavior concepts allows firms to investigate consumption habits and make better informed managerial decisions. The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to various dimensions of consumer behavior, such as the consumer decision-making process, the influence of attitude towards the product, brand, and/or firm, and the impact of culture and subculture. Students will be exposed to how these dimensions are linked to consumers as individual, consumers as a market, and consumers as decision makers. Recommended background: None. This course will be offered 2014-2015 and in alternating years thereafter.
Cat. I This course is based on the hypothesis that high performance firms depend on a sustainable pattern of new and innovative processes and products. Successful companies are examined in regard to their strategies for innovation and technology transfer. Technology alliances among industry, universities, and government are considered in order to increase the leverage of the individual firm. Benchmarking and commercialization from research to actualization is discussed through cases and examples. Recommended background: BUS 2070, FIN 2200, or OIE 2850.
Provides an understanding of the industrial marketing process and practices. It presents the latest concepts, tools and techniques for marketing complex products and services to industrial and institutional users. Topics include: product innovation strategies; purchasing management and buyer behavior; major intelligence; pricing strategies and tactics; developing markets for new industrial products; bid proposals; industrial distribution; managing the industrial sales force; marketing controls.
OPERATIONS AND INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (OIE)
This course covers the use of practical computational methods to solve constrained optimization problems from industry. Optimization theory and algorithms related to linear and integer programming will be discussed, with primary emphasis placed upon computationally solving applications in the industrial, operational, manufacturing, and service sectors. Both proprietary and open-source optimization software will be used, including spreadsheet solvers (e.g., Excel Solver, OpenSolver), industrial-strength optimization packages (e.g., CPLEX, GUROBI), as well as modeling languages (e.g., AMPL, OPL, GMPL). Students will be expected to model problems and interpret their results; where applicable, sensitivity analysis, duality and additional techniques will be utilized to gain managerial insight from developed models and solutions. Cases from industries such as health care, supply chain management, financial services and analytics will be used for illustrations, discussions, and exercises. With a recommended background of: BUS2080 (Data Analysis for Decision Making), or MA2210 (Mathematical Methods in Decision Making), or MA3231 (Linear Programming)
To aid all engineering students in understanding economics and business constraints on engineering decision making. Topics include evaluation of alternative; the six time-value-of-money factors; present worth, annual cash flow and rate-of-return analysis; incremental analysis; depreciation and income taxes; replacement analysis; inflation; handling probabilistic events; public economy; break-even and minimum cost points; and foreign exchange.
Cat. I This course covers the fundamentals of developing efficient layouts for production and service facilities. Methods analysis, work measurement, material handling and material flow analysis are also covered. Mathematical models and computer tools are used to assist decision-making. Recommended background: BUS 2080 and BUS 3020.
This course in an introduction to the planning and controlling the material flow into, through, and out of an organization. It explains fundamental relationships among the activities that occur in the supply chain from suppliers to customers. In particular, the course addresses types of manufacturing systems, demand management and forecasting, master production scheduling, materials requirements planning, capacity management, inventory management, distribution resource planning, JIT and lean principles, and other current topics that are pertinent to managing the material flow of supply chains. Recommended background: MA 1020, 1021, 1022, 1101, 2611 and BUS 3020.
Cat. I This course provides students with the analytical and management tools necessary to solve manufacturing and service quality problems. Topics include customer needs and quality, quality and cost relationships, process capability analysis, statistical process control, control charts for variables and attributes, design of experiments, and other Six Sigma problem solving methodology. Recommended background: BUS 3020 and MA 2612 or consent of the instructor.
Cat. I This course covers the application of simulation to a variety of managerial problems with examples from operations management, industrial engineering and manufacturing engineering. It introduces the student to the concepts of computer simulation, with an emphasis on the design of a simulation experiment and statistical interpretation of its results. It will discuss simulation of queueing models, inventory and industrial dynamics, and gaming situations. The role and use of computers for the execution of simulations will also be highlighted. A commercial simulation language such as Arena will be used to solve problems from the manufacturing and service industries. Recommended background: CS 1101 or CS 1102, and MA 2612.
This is an introductory course in probabilistic models and decision-making under risk, with applications to engineering and management decision making. The course first covers quantitative methods for assessing and evaluating risks and how they are used in decision making. Decision making under risk is examined across a wide set of management and engineering problems. The course then introduces a set of probabilistic models commonly used in decision making and operations improvement; specifically, emphasis is placed on Markov chains, Poisson processes, and queuing theory, and their applications in manufacturing and service systems are illustrated. Recommended background: knowledge of calculus and introductory probability and statistics.
A number of in-depth case studies in operations and industrial engineering are analyzed. The cases will cover both manufacturing and service systems ranging from production system design to operations planning and control. Recommended background: BUS 2080, BUS 3020, OIE 3410, and OIE 3510.
This course covers the use of practical computational methods to solve constrained optimization problems from industry. Optimization theory and algorithms related to linear and integer programming will be discussed, with primary emphasis placed upon computationally solving applications in the industrial, operational, manufacturing, and service sectors. Both proprietary and open-source optimization software will be used, including spreadsheet solvers (e.g., Excel Solver, OpenSolver), industrial-strength optimization packages (e.g., CPLEX, GUROBI), as well as modeling languages (e.g., AMPL, OPL, GMPL). Students will be expected to model problems and interpret their results; where applicable, sensitivity analysis, duality and additional techniques will be utilized to gain managerial insight from developed models and solutions. Cases from industries such as health care, supply chain management, financial services and analytics will be used for illustrations, discussions, and exercises. Recommended background: BUS2080 (Data Analysis for Decision Making), or MA2210 (Mathematical Methods in Decision Making), or MA3231 (Linear Programming).
This case-based course will examine methods and strategies for managing and controlling material movement, with particular emphasis on international operations, from the purchase of production materials to the control of work in process to the distribution of the finished product. Strategies that will be discussed include the design of international distribution networks, the use of third-party logistics providers, and the creation of links between logistic systems and marketing to create competitive advantage. The course will also explore tactical issues that must be managed to pursue a logistics strategy successfully, including choices regarding means of transportation, packaging, and inventory policies. Underlying themes of the course will be the use of information technologies (such as electronic data interchange and bar coding) and mathematical models to support logistics decision-making. Recommended background: BUS 3020 and one of the following: BUS 2070, FIN 2200 or OIE 2850 or consent of the professor.
ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND CHANGE (OBC)
Many of the key opportunities and challenges in today?s world involve people with different goals, values, beliefs, races, genders, and personalities, who are from different cultures, in different political, economic, organizational, technological, and legal systems, working together, whether as co-workers, employee-employer, supplier-customer, or strategic alliance partners. This course will consider the challenges and opportunities of working across these myriad differences and raise students? awareness of how their own environment influences their own behaviors. Recommended background: BUS1010 or consent of the professor.
This course focuses on the basic knowledge and processes required of managers to understand behavior in organizations and to apply this knowledge to organizational change. Topics include communication and trust, power and leadership, group and intergroup processes, conflict and conflict management, and work and organizational design. Students apply their knowledge of organizational behavior to the analysis, implementation, and leadership of organizational change. Lectures, video presentations, case studies, group discussions and mini-projects are employed to introduce and illustrate the basic elements of organizational behavior and change. Recommended background: BUS1010 or consent of the professor. Students may not receive credit for both OBC 3351 nad OBC 3354.
This upper level course considers the essence of leadership from the perspective of leadership theory, self-inquiry, ethics, and social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship pertains to the creation of social value through innovative solutions to complex, challenging social problems. This course will invite students to think about themselves as ethical leaders who can lead innovation in the context of limited resources and high to moderate risk. Lecture, video presentations, case studies, guest speakers, field work, and mini-projects are used to engage students in these course topics. Recommended background: BUS 1010 or consent of the professor. Students may not receive credit for both OBC 4365 and OBC 4366.