Guide to Management Core Subjects

We all wonder at times about the subjects taught to us. I wondered a lot in high school and before that too. We want to know what these are useful for, or whether they are useful at all. Here is an attempt to simplify some commonly taught subjects in an MBA program.

Operations Research

OR is usually an unpopular subject, like its quantitative cousins. Why is it taught then? Because it gives us an idea of how to use resources optimally, or in a way that maximises returns. Simply put, if I have x amount of money, and I can choose to buy from among 5 goods, how many of each should I buy to maximise my happiness (in my case, usually the answer is None, I am not much of a shopper, except for a few rare goods). But businesses are always making these decisions. For an HR manager, the question may be "How many people of what quality should I be hiring" so that the company optimises its cost and output.

These days, unlike the olden days, computers do the calculations, but the managers need to spell out the question or objective in a mathematical form, and the constraints. In my simplified example, I am trying to maximise Happiness, subject to amount of money, amount of time available for shopping.

Will continue with other exciting (!) subjects like accounting and statistics...

Comments

Harimohan said…
Wonderful stuff Raja. That's good enough to crack some interviews.
Diamond Head said…
I am still trying to figure out what 'Organizational Behavior' was all about - I know it was not about the practical misbehaviors one should be aware of - yet I see today's aang kids carrying the tome to school with an ipod in their orifices
Rajendra said…
OB KanoB, was it the Star Wars character? Will try my two-bit explanation soon, Diamond Head.

Hari, thank you. Hope a few lost souls can be saved.

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