MBA Concentration


Operations Management Concentration is an innovative approach to managing the complex range of business activities associated with coordination of resources and effective delivery of value-added products and services to global customers. The Concentration focuses on the strategic and operational decision-making processes of the entire network of business entities that transform inputs (e.g., raw materials and information) into value-added finished products and services for end customers. As firms are looking to new business models to reduce total costs, enhance revenues, and meet the increasing demands of their customer base, extending supply chain management globally is becoming a core competency for competing in the 21st century.

We believe the business leaders of the future will be those that can best use supply chain excellence as a strategic competitive asset. Multinational companies, entrepreneurs, and management consulting firms are increasingly recruiting individuals with the competencies required to identify, develop and analyze sources of value-added products and services in global arena. The explosion of enterprise information systems, E-business and digital commerce has not only been dependent on an existing supply chain infrastructure but also has enhanced the opportunity to restructure supply chains in creative ways to more efficiently move products and informat​ion and deliver competitive services. Notably, global supply chain managers integrate, leverage, and monitor the continual flow of information among all supply chain entities in manufacturing, service and entrepreneurial businesses. 

The Concentration is flexible; it is designed for students who wish to pursue career depth in the field as well as for those who intend to develop more broad-based expertise in the area as a support for careers in consulting, entrepreneurship, digital commerce, sustainable enterprise, marketing or finance. Many students take on a dual concentration - Operations Management Concentration and another in their related areas of interest.  After taking the Operations Management Concentration, students will have developed a portfolio of basic competencies and skills for attaining operational advantage through supply chain management. 


UNC Operations Management Club


 *Not all of these classes will be offered each year


Concentration Team

The Team Leaders for the Operations Management Concentration are Vinayak Deshpande, 919-962-1489, Saravanan Kesavan, 919-962-3140 and Erin Leach, 919-962-3217, is the Operations Administrative Assistant. 

Additional faculty members associated with the concentration include: Seyed Emadi, Wendell Gilland, Saravanan Kesavan, Lauren Lu, Adam Mersereau, Ali Parlakturk, Nur Sunar and Jay Swaminathan

Concentration Leaders: Vinayak Deshpande and Saravanan Kesavan
Curriculum Advisors: Vinayak Deshpande and Saravanan Kesavan
Career Advisors: Vinayak Deshpande and Saravanan Kesavan



OM students must complete a total of six (6) courses. At least four of these courses must be selected from the three clusters below with at least 1 course from each of the three clusters:

1) The Supply Chain and Operations Management Cluster covers the strategic capabilities afforded by the integration with customers and suppliers. 

MBA 708 - Service Operations Management 
The service sector is responsible for approximately 75% of the gross domestic product, and 80% of the jobs in the United States. Given the ever-increasing role of services in the American as well as world economies, it is important for a manager to understand both how services differ from manufacturing operations and how traditional operations management techniques can be applied to services. Service providers face high demand variability with significant number of customer contacts but without the ability to “store” service in advance of demand. How can a company achieve operational competitiveness in this context? What are the tools to analyze service operations? In this course we will examine different answers to these questions. Among the topics covered are: demand management, capacity management, management of service quality, design of service delivery systems and processes and the evaluation of service productivity. The course will examine settings in healthcare, financial services, retail environments, and transportation services among others. We shall illustrate conceptual and analytical frameworks through lectures, case studies, and in-class discussion.

MBA 709A - Global Operations Strategy  
This course examines how organizations can use their operations to build a competitive advantage. In today’s increasingly global and competitive environment the operational choices a firm makes are a critical part of its strategy and eventual success or failure – whether the company owns or outsources its actual operations. Operations are not just a source of cost, or even a value-add to the core part of the business, but rather they can and should be a primary competitive weapon.

This course seeks to answer three related questions:

    1.   How do you evaluate an operations strategy?

    2.   How can an organization improve its operations?

    3.   How can an organization build operational capabilities that create a competitive advantage?

This class will be highly interactive consisting of active case discussions each day that will be supplemented with short lectures when appropriate. We will examine companies around the world and across different industries (e.g., manufacturing, quick service retail, banking, software services, wine making, etc.) An organization’s operation strategy is distinct, but not independent of, its other strategic choices. Therefore, this course will build not only on the core operations course, but also on the work you have completed in other areas such as strategy, accounting, and organizational behavior. 

This class is appropriate for individuals going into operating roles, general management roles, and consulting. The study of how operations can drive a firm’s overall success (or failure) and how operations interacts with other functional areas are important lessons for all MBA students.

MBA 711 - Supply Chain Management  
Increase in product variety and customization in the past few years have posed challenges to firms in terms of delivering products to customers faster and in a more efficient manner. With the prevalence of the usage of the Internet for business, electronic business transformations are occurring in every business. One of the fundamental enablers for electronic commerce is effective supply chain management. Thus, supply chain management has become the focus of attention of senior management in the industry today.  

This course considers management of a supply chain in a global environment from a managerial perspective. The focus is on analysis, management and improvement of supply chain processes and their adaptation to the electronic business environment. The course is divided into six related modules, namely, Inventory and Information Management, Distribution and Transportation, Global Operations, Supplier Management, Management of Product Variety and Electronic Supply Chains. Several new concepts including Prognostic Supply Chains, Build-to-Order, Collaborative Forecasting, Delayed Differentiation, Cross Docking, Global Outsourcing and Efficient Consumer Response will be discussed. The course will focus on traditional supply chain concepts and also introduce students to changes in supply chain management practices due to emergence of the Internet. Analytical and simulation approaches utilized in industry will also be introduced. At the end of the course a student will have the necessary tools and metrics to evaluate a current supply chain and recommend design changes to supply chain processes.


2) The Analytics Cluster covers the decision-aiding and analytic tools for the optimization of material, information and financial flows necessary to effectively coordinate business activities that are geographically dispersed.

MBA 701 - Management Science Models  
This course provides an introduction to the concepts and methods of Management Science, which involves the application of mathematical modeling and analysis to practical management problems. Emphasis is given to model formulation, sensitivity analysis, and interpretation of computer output, rather than to the details of the solution methodology. Both deterministic and probabilistic models are discussed. The course covers problems in resource allocation, project management, transportation and supply chain logistics, crew scheduling, facility location and design, and nutrition, amongst many others. The course introduces some of the more important mathematical optimization techniques, including linear, integer, goal and dynamic programming. Extensive use is made of the Premium Excel Solver, Crystal Ball, and Microsoft Project. Course grades are based on Excel applications, a group project, and a final quiz.

MBA 705 - Operations Management Models  
The purpose of this course is to develop your skills in a number of different modeling techniques that are used to guide decision-making in the field of Operations Management. I hope to enhance your ability to both build models and interpret the output of these decision tools. Although the emphasis of this course is on operations, the tools that we will discuss have practical applications in a wide variety of functional areas, including marketing, finance and human resource management. The objective is not to create expert mathematicians; we will discuss the theoretical underpinnings of these techniques only as needed. Rather, the emphasis is on assessing the applicability of these tools in practical situations.

MBA 706 - Data Analytics and Decision-Making  
Pick up a recent issue of any business periodical and you are likely to and a testimonial extolling the virtues of Business Analytics, the practice of applying data and rigorous modeling to derive business insights and drive business planning. Business Analytics and its relatives Data Mining, Predictive Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Big Data represent capabilities that are increasingly sought by firms in a variety of industries.

“Data Analytics: Tools and Opportunities" prepares students to lead data-driven organizations. Emphasizing fundamental data analysis concepts such as visualization, data quality and model validation, the course will introduce students to key methodological tools including linear and logistic regression, clustering, tree-based models, and nearest neighbor prediction through hands-on work with data and software. Through case discussions and a guest speaker presentation, students will critically evaluate strategic opportunities and management challenges that arise with data-driven business models. Grading will be based on class preparation and contribution, several homework assignments, and a term project.


3)The Application Cluster covers areas such as project management, new product development, knowledge and innovation management, sustainability, quality, e-operations, healthcare operations and other best practices.        

MBA 708A - Retail Operations  
Retailing is not only a link in the supply chain, but also an important industry to study for a number of reasons. This industry, more than any other, is at the forefront of business changes since it directly connects with the consumer and generates demand for the rest of the economy. It is an intensely dynamic industry, with continuous changes in marketing channels, technology, and sourcing. It has gone through remarkable developments through history, and has often been an incubator for new business concepts. Currently, retailing is leading economic growth and transformation in emerging markets around the world, both through global sourcing and global marketing. In the US, retailing comprises 40% of the economy, and is the largest employer.

This course will examine various new developments in retailing and the application of operations management principles to these developments. The topics covered in the course include consumer behavior, demand forecasting, logistics and distribution, store execution, international retailing, internet-based retailing, performance assessment, and impact on financial performance. Case studies cover major US retailers such as Home-Depot,, etc.

This course is highly recommended for students interested in careers in:


1.  Retailing and supply chain management;

2.  Businesses like banking, consulting, and information technology that provide services to retail firms;

3.  Manufacturing companies that sell their products through retail firms.

Even if you don’t expect to work for a retailer, this course can be useful to you in two ways. First, because retailers are such dominant players in many supply chains today, it is important that the processes they follow be understood by manufacturers and distributors, or by the consultants and bankers that service retailers and their suppliers. Second, the problems retailers face (e.g., making data accessible, interpreting large amounts of data, reducing lead-times, eliciting the best efforts from employees, etc.), are shared by firms in many other industries. It’s easier to understand these issues through case studies in retailing because we all experience the industry as consumers and can readily relate to chronic problems such as stock outs and markdowns. 

MBA 710 - Project Management  
Most MBA graduates will spend a significant portion of their career taking part in and leading projects. The use of projects in organizations is only increasing. In many areas, ranging from consulting and investment banking to product development and service delivery, organizations deliver their primary output through projects. In other organizations projects are used to implement strategic decisions. Also, projects provide an opportunity for high-potential individuals to hone and prove their capability prior to taking on the responsibility of managing a larger business. 

While every project has its unique components, in many ways projects in organizations are quite similar. It is these commonalities that permit us to explore project management generally. In this course we will examine a range of contexts – e.g., outsourcing, product development, geographic expansion, construction, merger integration – to help students become familiar with the tools and concepts of project management. 

The objective of this course is to prepare students so that they have the ability to effectively take part in and lead projects. The goal is to equip individuals across any career concentration, rather than extend the expertise of project-management specialists. Therefore, this class will be highly interactive consisting of active case discussions each day that will be supplemented with short lectures when appropriate. We will cover both quantitative and qualitative aspects of project management.  

The course will have four modules: 

       1. Tools of Project Management; 

 2.  Managing Complex and Dynamic Projects; 

 3.  Managing Internal and External Relationships;

 4.  Your Career in Project Management. 


MBA 713 - Sustainable Operations  
Sustainable enterprise is a way of doing business that makes profits through means that reduce harm to society and the environment. The Brundtland commission defines sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. There are many dimensions of sustainability which are often captured through triads such as the three Es (Economics, Environment and Equity) or the three Ps (Profit, Planet and People).

Operations management can be defined as the design, operation, and improvement of the systems that create and deliver the firm's primary products and services. The Operations function of a firm focuses on adding value through the transformation process of converting inputs to outputs. The transformation processes can be physical (manufacturing), locational (transportation), exchange (retailing), storage (warehousing), informational (telecom), and many more.

In this course, we will explore the link between Sustainability and the Operations function of a firm. In particular, we will focus on the following activities encompassing the Operations function of a firm: 1) Product and Process design; 2) Manufacturing; 3) Transportation, Logistics and Distribution, 4) Closed-loop/ After-sales operations such as recycling, remanufacturing and reuse, and 5) Supply Chain Management. Particular attention will also be directed to issues related to impact on people and the planet, through topics such as Humanitarian logistics, and Supply chain management in developing countries.


   1. Provide an understanding of the link between the sustainability goals and the operation function of a firm.

   2. Develop an understanding of Environmental dynamics and give an overview of Environmental legislation and its impact on the Operations


   3. Show profit and sustainability opportunities that exist by radically rethinking products/services sold by a firm through “Servicization”.

   4. Examine the tradeoffs that managers’ face while developing new products in emphasizing one goal (e.g., reduced product cost) as compared 

       to another goal (such as reduced environmental impact).

   5. Make the connection between principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability.

   6. Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of different strategies and techniques in closed-loop operations such as remanufacturing,

       recycling and reuse.

   7. Understand sustainability issues in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics function of a firm.

   8. Show how Supply Chain/Logistics preparedness of an organization can help achieve humanitarian aid goals.

   9. Highlight challenges that arise in addressing sustainability issues in a global supply-chain involving developing countries. 

     10. Provide an opportunity to analyze a sustainability issue in greater depth through a course project.


MBA 898 -Design & Delivery of Healthcare Operations  
The United States spends more per capita on healthcare than many other developed countries, and also has one of the highest growth rates on health care spending. The health care sector recently accounted for 17.3% of the GDP. The Institute of Medicine, in a recent report, estimated $750 billion in unnecessary health spending in 2009 alone, of which $130 billion has been attributed to inefficient delivery of care. There is a large opportunity for health care organizations to improve efficiency, quality, and timeliness of delivery of health care.

In this course we will apply principles and tools of operations management to explore improvement opportunities in the design, delivery, and management of the health care value chain. We will be examining the health care operation from the perspective of operations metrics such as: 1) cost, 2) quality, 3) time (access), and 4) variety/customization.

Operations management can be defined as the design, operation, and improvement of the systems that create and deliver the firm's primary products and services.  The Operations function of a firm focuses on adding value through the transformation process of converting inputs to outputs. In this course, we will use tools from Operations Management towards improving the healthcare value chain. The first half of the course will focus on the factory that provides healthcare service: Hospitals. Many of the well- known principles of production such as process analysis and lean production will be applied to the healthcare setting. The second half of the course will focus on the non-hospital portion of the healthcare value chain including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, pharmacies, healthcare R&D, and healthcare IT.

The main pursuit in the course will be to shine light on specific operations concepts and principles that can result in effective design and management of the Healthcare delivery system. The course will also explore the role of various stakeholders involved in delivery of care such as the hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and government.

The main intended audience of the course is students who are interested in exploring opportunities in the Healthcare sector, directly working for one of the stakeholders above. However, students who are interested in consulting, venture capital, private equity and investment banking should also find the course useful given the size and growth in the sector.  No prior exposure to medical or health sector is necessary. The course prepares students for several career paths, including consulting, operations management, technology management (e.g. IT, pharmaceutical, medical devices, regulatory agencies), and health care administration (e.g. hospitals and clinics, insurance). In addition, students seeking domain level exposure to the healthcare sector and insights into the inner workings of the various stakeholders in the industry will find the course helpful.


  1. Provide an exposure to the challenges facing the Healthcare delivery system and an understanding of how operations tools can help provide solutions to some of these challenges. 
  2. Learn about the key stakeholders in the healthcare industry including hospitals and clinics, physicians, as well as medical devices and pharmaceutical companies. 
  3. Provide a high-level perspective on the three dimensions of performance of healthcare delivery systems – cost, quality, access – and the tradeoff between them. 
  4. Introduce different methods of organizing for healthcare delivery. Discuss the role of operational complexity in delivering care and methods to manage it. 
  5. Understand the application of Process analysis to manage the flow of patients and in managing variability 
  6. Introduce various methods of quality management, including lean/six-sigma in health care 
  7. Discuss capacity planning in the manufacturing process for drugs, as well as for Hospital resources (e.g., Physicians, Nurses, etc.) 
  8. Understand the challenges involved in the R&D process at big pharma companies 
  9. Discuss issues on the frontiers of healthcare such as service improvement and new models of healthcare delivery, and healthcare information technology. 
  10. Provide an opportunity to learn in depth about a topic of interest to you through a course project. 



*Not all of these classes will be offered each year

MBA 743 Customer Relationship Management
This course focuses on customer relationship strategy where the philosophy is to view customers as assets of the firm and the goal is to use customer information to build customer loyalty and relationships. This involves, in part, applying differential attention to more valuable customers with the goal of improving customer satisfaction while optimizing the current and future value of the customer base. The course will focus primarily on firms in ‘data-rich’ environments – that is, firms with detailed data on individual customers and firms with many customers.  Built around the notion of the customer lifecycle, the course emphasizes strategic initiatives in customer relationship management including identifying good prospects and customer acquisition; customer development through up-selling, cross-selling and personalization; customer attrition and retention; and winback. Topics covered include customer loyalty and loyalty programs, customer economics including customer profitability and lifetime value, as well as ethical issues raised by the use of individual customer data.  The course will also provide an introduction – including the advantages, limitations, common uses and some best practice examples – to commonly used marketing analytic tools and techniques. These include decile analysis, RFM recency/frequency/monetary) analysis, and predictive models using logistic regression, and some data mining tools (e.g. classification trees such as CHAID).

MBA 748A  Marketing Analytics

In today’s technology enabled world, organizations collect lot of information as a part of their business operations and pool it with data acquired from outside sources. Marketing Analytics is a systematic approach to harnessing this data/ information to drive effective marketing decision making. We will learn to analyze historical data, market research data, and competitive information for making strategic marketing decisions. This course will be extensively based on case analysis and hands on exercises. The cases and exercises used in course will be bundled with data files which will be used for detailed data analysis. The decision making for case problems will be based on insights that you will generate from these analyses. Other pedagogical tools that will be used are lectures, in class discussions, readings, and team assignments.

MBA 753B  Retail And Channel Management 
This course addresses how retailers and brand manufacturers alike have to face new branding and marketing challenges as the retail and distribution environment becomes ever more complex. The rise of global retailers such as WalMart, Best Buy and Amazon has led to a remarkable shift in power from brand manufacturers to retailers. Historically, power in distribution channels has rested upstream with brand marketers such as Philip Morris, manufacturers like Ford, or frachisers such as McDonald’s and PepsiCo. In contrast to these multinational suppliers, most retailers, dealers, and franchisees were local and fragmented. Retailing, and more generally distribution, acquired an image of being a simple, unsophisticated business, undeserving of attention of academics and MBAs. Nowadays, retail giants are increasingly dictating pricing, assortment and branding strategies, often resulting in severe conflicts between brand manufacturers and retailers.

MBA 760  Pricing 
The content of the course is organized to foster learning of pricing strategy and fundamentals, and pricing tactics and implementation. There is an approximately 80-20 mix of case studies and lecture/discussions. My objectives for this course are: 1. To familiarize you with the concepts, theory, and latest thinking bearing on the key issues in pricing, taking the perspective of the marketing manager. This will be done primarily through lectures and assigned readings. 2. To provide you with an opportunity, through extensive case analyses, to apply concepts and theory to the solution of pricing problems in marketing settings. 

MBA790A: Renewable Energy: Project Development and Finance 
The objective of this course will be for students to better understand wind and solar energy projects as they are deployed in the United States, the project finance environment that funds them, and be better prepared for potential jobs in the sector. The content is designed to appeal to students from all concentrations and work backgrounds. Students will learn about each of the leading renewable technologies from the ground up in order to create a pro-forma projection for both a wind and solar project. This includes a review of wind and solar at the technology level so that students learn more about how each natural resource is converted into electricity and the history of each technology over the past 40 years. Another key aspect of this review will cover the various business models deployed by renewable energy developers and how the U.S. electricity markets drive energy project development. The course covers the key risks associated with solar and wind projects, including environmental, competitive, regulatory, counterparty, and power off-take risks. The electricity sector features a particularly strong influence from federal and state governments. We will review the influences of government policies on the renewable sector and how to appropriately mitigate policy risk. Relatedly, the project finance market for renewable projects shows the effects of tax-based government incentives. Impacts include which companies participate in project finance, and the transaction structures that are unique to green energy. The primary output of this course will be a pro-forma projection of a wind and solar exercise. This pro forma will help illustrate the economics of green energy projects as students model realistic variables that determine project success or failure. A simulated power bidding process will show how these variables impact projects in the real world and is designed to prepare students for interviews and be ready to face these challenges in a renewable energy career. The instructors will discuss the future of wind and solar energy and conclude the course by discussing the jobs market in renewable energy for MBA students. Many of the risk mitigation, development, and project finance lessons in this course can be applied to any form of project development. The format of this course will be lectures and in-class discussion, supplemented by guest speakers.

MBA 826B Consulting Skills And Framework 
Consulting Skills and Frameworks is a course designed to provide MBA students with immediately usable tools for any team problem solving situation. The core consulting skill training will focus on the all-important “TAP” skills (teamwork, analysis, and presentations) and will introduce the TEAM FOCUS framework which covers the following aspects of team problem solving – Talk, Evaluate, Assist, Motivate, Frame, Organize, Collect, Understand and Synthesize. We will also cover a few of the most critical high level functional frameworks used by top consulting firms today. The course is geared toward any students considering a career in consulting (or other team oriented career track) as well as those students planning on working on a STAR/GBP/practicum action learning projects or participating in case competitions. The course methodology will involve discussions, individual case analysis, guest speakers and a team case competition.

MBA 897, Health Care Analytics


Sample Concentration Sequence

Year One

Module I
 Module II
Module III 
Module IV
Required MBA Core Curriculum MBA Core Curriculum
Electives N/A

-Ops Mgmt Models

-Operations Strategy

-Sustainable Operations

-Design and Delivery of Healthcare systems

-Consulting Skills

-Marketing Analytics

​-Service Operations

-Mgmt Science Models


-Sustainable Ent

-Retail Ops

Year Two

Module I
Module II
Module III 
Module IV

​-Supply Chain Mgmt

-Retail and Channel Mgmt

-Cust Rel Mgmt

​-Ops Mgmt Models

-Operations Strategy

-Project Mgmt

-Sustainable Operations          

-Design and Delivery of

Healthcare systems

-Consulting Skills

-Marketing Analytics

-Service Operations

-Mgmt Science Models


-Sustainable Ent

-Retail Ops

Note: The list of cluster and elective courses is constantly evolving to reflect the needs of the business marketplace and latest developments. For this reason, the students are encourage to keep in constant contact with the concentration leader and faculty members teaching in the Operations  Concentration to learn about the newest course offerings that may be taken as electives.