Liberal Arts and Management Program | Mathematical Models for Decision Making in Business
L316 | 11723 | Maki, Dan

The title of this course reveals the first and most significant
component.  “Analytical problem solving” through a wide range of
tools, techniques and approaches represents the core of this
course.  We will spend well more than half the semester teaching and
exploring these analytical tools and demonstrating how they are used
to solve some significant problems.  These tools will include basic
data analysis, forecasting, optimization and simulation as a
starting point.  But that is just the starting point.  As you
develop your project solutions, you may discover that you need
instruction on other topics.  We have built in the flexibility to
give you control over the content—allowing you to master the
analytical tools you need to provide the best possible solution for
your client.

Real Clients with Real Problems.  Yes, real clients with real
problems.  Classroom work is just the beginning.  One of the reasons
this class is only offered once a year is that it takes quite a bit
of work to identify clients and projects.  These clients come from
both private and public sectors and are facing a range of problems.
While you are not an employee or intern for your client, we have no
reason to expect or accept anything other than the highest level of
professional deportment.

Though all of our clients understand that this is a student project,
representing work from only one of several courses being taken
during the semester, they also have high expectation about the work
you will produce and quite honestly are really looking for help in
solving some non-trivial problems.  As in any real-world experience,
your clients will assess you in terms of the value of the solutions
you provide.

Teamwork and Project Management.  The final unique component of this
course is the emphasis placed on teamwork and project management.
In addition to the traditional classroom activities like homework
and exams, it is expected that you will form a cohesive, effective
team as you begin to solve your client’s problems.  Because there
are real world clients involved, effective project management and
teamwork is critical to success.  While there are some courses where
students can “fake” team work by delegation, covering for slackers,
and “creative integration” at the end, it is our experience that
this rarely produces results that are useful to real clients.  We
will identify and describe some of the project management skills
that will improve your odds of success in this aspect of the course.

In short, this class is a synthesis of each of these valuable
components.  We believe this design is ideally suited for students
who want to prepare for a management career in business or improve
the applicability of their quantitative skills.  It will also
provide a valuable experience that can enhance a resume or
interview, prepare one for future projects or simply contribute to
one’s own intellectual growth.