Operations Management


Doctoral Program in Operations Management
Michigan Business School

The Operations Management (OM) group at the University of 
is dedicated to changing the world of OM!

Our strategy is to target emerging problems of intense interest to upper level operations managers. Our students are first trained in rigorous model-based research methods, and then use their skills to attack and resolve problems that jointly meet the highest standards of academic excellence, and the real business needs of the senior managers of an industrial sponsor. If this mission appeals to you, and you have outstanding technical training, real-world work experience, and an intense curiosity, you are invited to apply.

Operations Management
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Why Operations Management?

  • Operations Management is the design and management of the transformation processes that create value for society.
  • Firms exist to create value; and the production or operations area of an organization is where the goods are produced, or services rendered, that justify the existence of the firm. In a manufacturing company, this area generally accounts for the single largest concentration of human and capital investment.
  • Operations Management is not only critical to the success of any firm, it is at the core of what the firm does to survive. Without OM, there would be nothing to market, nothing to finance, nothing to account for.

The OM faculty at the University of Michigan Business School is dedicated to furthering the theory and practice of operations management by conducting high level research of industrial relevance, and developing the next generation of leading operations management academics. Whether you join the Michigan OM group to work with specific internationally recognized scholars, or because the broad strengths and research perspectives of the group appeal to your interests, you will find a faculty willing to challenge you and support you in reaching your full potential as a business academic.

I. The Advantages of Michigan

Nationally and internationally recognized for academic excellence and innovation in an array of research arenas

Doctoral students in Operations Management have the opportunity to access an unusually broad set of resources, including numerous unique University and regional strengths that complement the OM faculty. These advantages include the quality of the Business School, which routinely ranks among the best in the country in its MBA program.

- In addition to routinely ranking Operations Management graduates from University of Michigan among the most desired by recruiters in Production/Operations area, Business Week ranks the University of Michigan Business School: 

  • #3 Executive Education  program in the US and
  • #8 MBA program in the US.

- U.S. News ranks us:

  • #2 Undergraduate program in the US,
  • #4 Operations Management department in the US, and
  • #2 Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) program in the US (many Operations Management faculty work closely with IOE).

The Tauber Manufacturing Institute for joint Business/Engineering collaboration is among the top such programs in the US. Michigan is one of the very few Universities to achieve national recognition in all functional areas of management. The University of Michigan Business School has one of the largest academic business libraries in the country, and excellent computer facilities.

OM doctoral students can also benefit from interactions with the greater University environment. The University of Michigan's graduate program, consistently ranked by the Gourman Report among the best in the country, provides advantages to doctoral students in OM through such fine departments as Industrial and Operations Engineering, Statistics, and Economics. Access to several Institutes and Centers within or closely connected with the University is possible for appropriate research purposes.

Formal and funded, cross-functional initiatives

Michigan is regularly recognized for its innovative curricula, due to the many cross-functional initiatives that take place within the business functions and across departments. There are many opportunities to link student research to other schools or departments, and to the external business environment. The Tauber Manufacturing Institute promotes and coordinates joint Business and Engineering teaching and research with industrial needs. The Japan Technology Management Program has funded both faculty and student research in such areas as Japanese research and development techniques and new product development. The Corporate Environmental Management Program (CEMP) supports research in environmental manufacturing issues. The Business and Industrial Assistance Division of the business school can support research on a variety of challenges facing manufacturing firms.

The center of the manufacturing universe

The State of Michigan is a major center for manufacturing in the United States and is the headquarters of many of America's largest manufacturing companies, including General Motors, Kellogg, Ford, Dow Chemical, Chrysler and Whirlpool. Many of their manufacturing plants are in this area. An indicator of the extent of nearby modern technology is that nine of America's ten largest robot manufacturers are located in the Ann Arbor/Detroit corridor. The three largest office furniture businesses in the country are located in the Grand Rapids area. One can research multiple levels of a complex supply chain by driving only a short distance from Ann Arbor. Ultra-modern and highly automated plants as well as older plants in the area provide rich opportunities for comparisons and insights. Access afforded by industry to faculty and doctoral students has been outstanding. These good contacts extend to locations in the greater Midwest region and beyond.  The OM department in the University of Michigan Business School has succeeded in involving most of its doctoral students in company-sponsored research, a strong testimony to the relevance of our research designs.

II. The Program in Operations Management at the Michigan Business School

A. Philosophy

The role of management is to activate and coordinate diverse resources, human and capital, toward the focused objectives of the firm. This is as true for operations as it is for any function within the firm. Consider the following hierarchy of activities:

a.    Mechanically design a single work station;
b.    Schedule production on a single work station;
c.    Coordinate several work stations making several products;
d.    Coordinate installed and acquired manufacturing capabilities with other
       functions in the firm in pursuit of strategic objectives.

These tasks gain degrees of freedom, and increase in managerial complexity, as we move from (a) to (d). The current disciplines that (predominantly) attend to these tasks are:

a.    Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, or other brands of  Engineering;
b.    Industrial Engineering;
c.    Industrial Engineering and Business, and
d.    Business.

The OM group at the University of Michigan is dedicated to problem-solving at the highest level of complexity, (c) and (d); decisions typically dealt with by senior managers. Doctoral students will spend their first year becoming fluent in the Industrial Engineering and Management Science research tools that have served us well in attending to lower-level problems. Then, students will focus these tools on new problem classes at higher levels of complexity. Dissertations are performed with a client organization on real industrial problems.

B. Program overview

All doctoral students will spend the first two years in intensive coursework, punctuated by field examinations. A sample schedule appears in Figure 1. After passing his or her field examinations, the student enters a period of independent thesis work with an advisor and thesis committee. It is expected that a student will finish in four years.

III. Faculty and research interests

Hyun-Soo Ahn, Assistant Professor of Operations Management.  

Ravi Murthy Anupindi, Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow & Associate Professor of Operations and Management Science: Supply chain management, supply contracts and inventory management, just-in-time systems and operations-marketing interfaces.

Damian Ronald Beil, Assistant Professor of Operations Management.

Paul Damien, Associate Professor of Operations and Management Science: Bayesian Theory and Applications.

Izak Duenyas, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research; John Psarouthakis Professor of Manufacturing Management; Professor of Operations and Management Science:  Scheduling and coordination of manufacturing systems, capacity planning and allocation, pricing and due date setting, and investments in new technologies.

R. Eugene Goodson, Adjunct Professor of Operations and Management Science:  General management of operations including investments, analysis and control, and acquisitions.

Sudheer Gupta, Assistant Professor of Operations and Management Science:  Economic models of distribution channel structure and inter-organizational cooperation; strategic alliances and research joint ventures; impact of flexible technologies and product variety on inter-firm relations and market structure.

Robert W. Haessler, Associate Professor of Operations Management: Manufacturing control systems, scheduling systems, heuristic procedures to solve cutting stock scheduling and packing problems.

Julie Simmons Ivy, Assistant Professor of Operations and Management Science: Decisions under conditions of uncertainty.  Statistical and decision analysis as applied to manufacturing, business, and service environments (optimal maintenance and diagnostic in manufacturing and medicine).

Roman Kapuscinski, Assistant Professor of Operations and Management Science: Value chain analysis, efficiency as a function of ownership, value of information in coordinating elements of supply chain, optimal design of production-inventory systems with capacity constraints, and lead-time quotation.

Colin Kessinger, Assistant Professor of Operations Management:  Supply chain contracting and coordination, inventory control in production/distribution systems, flexibility in manufacturing.

Peter J. Lenk, Associate Professor of Operations and Management Science: Bayesian inferential and forecasting models, applications of these modes to marketing, finance, and information science, nonparametric Bayesian models.

William Lovejoy, Raymond T. Perring Family Professor of Business Administration & Professor of Operations and Management Science: New product development, managing complexity, capacity planning, inventory control, decision making with partial information, and cross-functional issues in manufacturing.

Karl D Majeske, Lecturer of Operations and Management Science.

James S. Reece, Professor of Accounting and Operations and Management Science; Goff Smith Co-Director of the Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute and Co-Director of the Corporate Environmental Management Program: Manufacturing cost accounting and performance measurement, performance measures in multidivisional companies, management of professional service firms, activity-based accounting.

W. Allen Spivey, C. E. Griffin Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Business Administration & Professor Emeritus of Statistics.

Kathryn E. Stecke, Associate Professor of Operations Management: Various aspects of flexible manufacturing system (FMSs) including strategic considerations, effective design, and efficient operation.

J. Eric Svaan, Lecturer of Operations and Management Science: Quality learning in advanced manufacturing, Service operations analysis, Manufacturing product/process portfolio management.

Paul E. Sweeney, Lecturer in Operations Management: Logistics, inventory and scheduling techniques, applications of simulation to manufacturing decision making processes, cutting-stock problems, manufacturing strategy.

F. Brian Talbot, Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration, Professor of Operations and Management Science: Manufacturing strategy, focused operations, resource-constrained allocation problems such as project scheduling, job-shop scheduling, assembly-line design, vehicle loading, manufacturing strategy.

Curtis Vail, Adjunct Professor of Operations Management: Quality, Managing technology and R&D.

William J. Wrobleski, Professor Emeritus of Statistics.

The Operations Management faculty are active researchers who contribute to the state of the art through publishing in leading research journals such as Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing and Services Operations Management, the International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems, and the International Journal of Production Research, for example. All maintain relevance in their research and teaching through such activities as professional consulting and field visits to production facilities.

Many faculty in other groups, including Industrial and Operations Engineering, Statistics and Management Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, and Computer and Information Systems, teach courses related to Operations Management, serve on dissertation committees, and perform research in the Operations Management area.  










Year 1 


Integrated Operations 
Research Methods I
Real Analysis
Stochastic Processes
Doctoral Seminar

Technology Management 
Research methods II 
Linear Programming
Dynamic Programming
Doctoral Seminar





First Year Exam: 
         Foundation Tools



Year 2 


Manufacturing Strategy 
Inventory Control
Game Theory 
Doctoral Seminar

Supply Chain Management 
General elective 
General elective 
Doctoral Seminar





Second Year Exam: 
          Research Ability



Figure 1
A sample program for first two years



Required courses are shown in boldface. Several combinations of the remaining courses are possible, see the text for details. If the student has not entered with an MBA, or has not tested out of the general background requirements, some of the elective courses above will have to be replaced with marketing, accounting, finance and/or organizational behavior electives. The student may also, with faculty approval, cut back on coursework the semester before his or her exams, in order to leave time to prepare.



Operations Management

Group Strategy
Recent Doctoral Seminars

University of Michigan Business School

Ph.D Program
Ph.D Program Admissions
Ph.D Program Financial Aid
Contact Information
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