I teach a combination of information technology strategy and economics and business analytics.  For the 2017 calendar year, I will be teaching my doctoral class (OPIM955) in the Spring and OPIM101 (Intro to OPIM) and OPIM105 (Data Analysis) in the Fall.   I am not sure when OPIM469 (Information Strategy) will be offered again but it will be no earlier than Fall, 2018.  For Penn students, you can view my teaching and difficulty ratings at the Penn Course Review site (pennkey login required).

OPIM101 – Introduction to Operations and Information Management (not currently teaching this course.  Last offering in 2015) (Syllabus)

This is the required course in Operations and Information Management (OPIM) for Wharton undergraduates.  I teach the “off-season” Fall edition while another teaching team covers the regular Spring edition.  The course is an introduction to the various disciplines that comprise OPIM and specifically covers:

  • Optimization:  linear and nonlinear programming
  • Operations Management:  process analysis, inventory management, project management (PERT/CPM)
  • Decisions and Games:  decision trees, basic game theory
  • Simulation:  discrete event and Monte-carlo simulation
  • Information Strategy:  economics of information, competing in information intensive industries, moral hazard and adverse selection applications

Along the way you will get experience building models and doing analysis in Excel (including the Solver and Treeplan add-ins) as well as the Goldsim simulation package.

The course is generally viewed as moderately difficult and medium workload.  The structure of the Fall and Spring versions are also slightly different – the Spring has more emphasis on operations and less on information strategy and economics, utilizes a different simulation tool (Crystal Ball), and delivers material in a lecture-recitation format.  In the Fall there are no recitations, but “hands-on” computer material will be covered in periodic lab sessions as new tools are introduced.  No background is assumed.

OPIM105 – Data Analysis in VBA and SQL (current offering Fall, 2017) (Course Outline)

True to the title, we cover small scale data analysis and programming in Visual Basic for Applications as implemented in Microsoft Excel (VBA) for the first half and large scale data analysis using Transact-SQL as implemented in Microsoft SQL Server (SQL) in the second half.   These two tools are probably the most commonly used software packages for day-to-day analytic tasks in corporate, finance or consulting environments. In addition there side discussions on other relevant issues such as algorithms, testing, object orientation, web services and data management in Hadoop/Hive using the Hortonworks Sandbox.   No programming knowledge is presumed, although students with some programming background find the initial parts of the class somewhat easier.  The course is a combination of lecture/discussion focused on how to do things mixed with 3-4 skill building exercises in the computer labs and 6-8 larger scale problem sets.  In the past the problems sets have included building monte-carlo option simulators, a QQ plot generation tool, developing excel functions for inequality measurement (computing the Gini coefficient), and analyzing the IMDB movie database.  While the difficulty level of the course is moderate, the workload is high.  No programming background is assumed, although students with some computer science or programming experience will typically find the VBA portion a little more straightforward.

OPIM955 – Research in Information Strategy and Economics (ISE) (current offering in Spring 2018) (Course Outline)

This course provides an overview of the relevant economics, strategy, information systems and other research literature necessary to do research in the field of Information Strategy and Economics (ISE) or to participate in the types of research presented at the NBER Economics of Digitization Conference.  While it is intended as a “first course” for OPIM doctoral students in ISE, it may also be useful for students who are engaged in research or plan to do research related to information technology in other disciplines.The course emphasizes three broad areas:  economics of information technology and organizations, information goods, and network economics.  The principal workload will be regular readings and class participation, as well as a term paper.  The course presumes familiarity with intermediate microeconomics and basic graduate-level statistics/econometrics, although the theoretical foundations for the papers discussed will be reviewed as part of the class.  In the past this course has been taken by doctoral students in OPIM, business economics and public policy, management and healthcare, as well as engineering masters and doctoral students.

(Note:  OPIM955 has been offered previously as a half-semester of ISE and a half-semester of information and decision technologies (IDT).  For Spring, 2015 and forward it is all ISE).

OPIM469 – Information Strategy (last taught Fall, 2014;  next edition unknown) (Course Outline)

This course focuses on information economics and applying information economics principles for examining strategy and competition in information intensive industries. We focus on information industries such as digital media, social networks, Internet advertising, online retail as well as more traditional businesses (financial services, construction, manufacturing) that have been transformed by inexpensive information processing and communications technologies. There are four major modules in the class: the economics of information goods and services (bundling, pricing and competition), search and consumer information (search agents, recommender systems), markets and market design, and implementation (security, privacy, software development).  This course is likely to be especially useful for students interested in consulting or staff roles in high‐technology firms and those interested in pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities in the information economy. This course is draws heavily on information economics but is not particularly quantitative.  There are no prerequisites, but it is a course better taken later in your Wharton career since it assumes a base knowledge of managerial economics and strategic management.