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Operations Management (OM) focuses on the production and distribution of goods, services, and information, and on achieving competitive advantage through superior capabilities in these areas. Research in OM investigates how organizations design, improve, execute, and coordinate their numerous and varied processes, and make efficient and effective use of resources.
Both tactical and strategic issues are investigated in OM research. For example, at the tactical level, the focus may be on developing decision support systems to manage demand and supply, while at the strategic level, research may focus on acquisition of new technology, and design of supply chains. Questions of integration of OM decisions with decisions in other business areas such as marketing and organizational behavior are also investigated. Operations Management faculty members at the University of Illinois use a variety of methodologies and modeling techniques to research problems that have roots in the real world.
The program of study for PhD in Operations Management is designed to train students to be scholars engaged in rigorous research, and teachers committed to educating students about OM and its indispensable role in any organization. The diverse interests of faculty members, coupled with the fundamentally interdisciplinary nature of inquiries in OM, provide a tremendous opportunity for students in the PhD program to gain familiarity in a variety of research topics. Faculty members are firmly committed to providing PhD students with a nurturing and supportive environment for the demanding nature of the program.
Recent graduates from the program have received job offers from Case Western Reserve University, Bentley College, Kookmin University (Seoul, South Korea), Sogang University (Seoul, South Korea), University of Illinois, IBM, Samsung, and I2 Technologies.
An interest in analytical problem solving abilities is required for admission into the OM PhD program. Common academic backgrounds of successful applicants in the past have included degrees in business, economics, engineering, or science, supplemented by prior work experience.
The course-work in the Ph.D. program assists students in developing the essential skills for knowledge generation and dissemination:
- breadth of knowledge about business related disciplines.
- a good understanding of past research in Operations management and related areas
- the methodological and analytical skills to conduct independent research relevant to the field of Operations Management
- the ability to synthesize past research and develop the frontiers of knowledge in the field.
The required course-work is designed to enable students to develop methodological skills. Seminar courses expose students to various area in OM and to the application of methodologies. These courses provide an opportunity to develop independent thought through critiquing past research, and to develop independent research papers. Students also complete the approve courses associated with a chosen minor area of study. Recent graduates have chosen minors in areas such as Accounting, Marketing, Economics, and Strategic Management.
In addition to the required and elective course-work, research seminars form an integral part of the doctoral program. At these seminars, students are exposed to recent developments in Operations Management research and, beginning in their second year of study in the Ph.D. program, are expected to present their own research at least once a year. The course work and seminars should help students identify a dissertation topic, the research and writing of which is the focus of the third and fourth years.
For a complete list of Operations Management faculty members please visit our faculty directory.
For a complete list of current candidates in Operations Management please visit our PhD student directory.