NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2013

Instructor Details

Xiao, Wenquiang


1pm to 2pm Wednesday

KMC 8-72


Course Meetings

MW, 9:30am to 10:45am

KMC 3-90

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals


Operations Management is the design and management of the processes that transform inputs into finished goods or services. Operations is one of the primary functions of a firm.  Whereas marketing focuses on the demand for the product, and whereas finance provides the capital for the product, operations actually produces and delivers the product. 


This course provides a foundation for understanding the operations of a firm. Our objective by the end of the course is to provide you with the basic skills necessary to critically analyze a firm's operating performance and practices. Such knowledge is important for careers in a variety of areas, including general management, entrepreneurship, investment banking (e.g. business restructurings, mergers and acquisitions), venture capital (e.g. evaluating new business plans) and management consulting (business restructuring improvement).


Unlike many courses in the core, which tend to treat the firm as a "black box", we will be primarily concerned with "opening up" the black box and discovering what makes a firm "tick" - or, for that matter, "stop ticking". In contrast to your management courses, our focus is on the technological rather than human dimension of a firm's internal operations - though there are obvious connections between the two that we will explore. In contrast to the measurement focus of your accounting courses, our concern is understanding what elements of a firm's operations enable it to produce quality outputs at a competitive cost structure. That is, we will focus on how the "physics" of material, work and information flows and the design and management of a firm's processes interact to determine a firm's cost structure and its ability to compete effectively in terms of non-cost measures such as quality, variety and speed.


Because the operations of a firm vary widely from one industry to the next, a course like this cannot cover all topics that are relevant to any given industry. Rather, we have selected a set of topics that are fundamental to understanding operations in a wide range of industries. These concepts are then illustrated using cases from a diverse set of businesses.


Course Pre-Requisites



Course Outline





Important Events


Introduction to OM

Jan 28 (Mon)


Process Management

Video Study: The Goal

Jan 30 (Wedn)


Bottleneck Analysis

Feb 4 (Mon)


Case Study: Panama Canal

Feb 6 (Wedn)


Video Study: Toyota Production System

Feb 11 (Mon)


Service Management

Reducing Waiting Time

Feb 13 (Wedn)


Case Study: First City National Bank

Feb 20 (Wedn)


Project Management

Critical Path Method

Feb 25 (Mon)


Project Crashing

Feb 27 (Wedn)




Mar 4 (Mon)

Homework #1 due


Exam I

Mar 6 (Wedn)

Exam date

Inventory Management

Newsvendor Model

Mar 11 (Mon)


Inventory Simulation Game

Mar 13 (Wedn)


Linear Programming

LP Formulation

Mar 25 (Mon)


Excel Solver to Solve LP

Mar 27 (Wedn)


Sensitivity Analysis

April 1 (Mon)


Revenue Management

Revenue Management I

April 3 (Wedn)


Revenue Management II

April 8 (Mon)




April 10 (Wedn)

Homework #2 due

Exam II

April 15 (Mon)

Exam date

Supply Chain Management

Video Study: Amazon and Zara

April 17 (Wedn)



Supply Chain Contracts

April 22 (Mon)


Global Supply Chain

April 24 (Wedn)


Video Study: Thinking Globally

April 29 (Mon)


Playing Beer Game

May 1 (Wedn)

Beer game

The Bullwhip Effect

May 6 (Mon)




May 8 (Wedn)

Homework #3 due


Exam III

May 13 (Mon)

Exam date


Required Course Materials



Assessment Components



Class Attendance/Participation                       10% 

Homework and In-class Exercises                  15%

Exam I                                                           25%

Exam II                                                          25%

Exam III                                                        25%


Group Projects




At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course



In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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