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Operations Laboratory

Donald  RosenfieldDonald Rosenfield

Faculty: Donald Rosenfield, Zeynep Ton

“Our research agendas have led us to look at companies in certain ways. For example, I do a lot of work on globalization, global strategy, and supply chain management. I think my past work has influenced how I have my current students approach these problems.” – Donald Rosenfield

From the Bulletin: This course provides a hands-on educational and Action Learning experience in implementing operations improvement. Teams, consisting of 3–5 students, act as consultants on operations engagements in small-to-medium-sized Boston-area organizations. Class time focuses on helping the students with their projects and exposing them to methods and techniques that are commonly used in operations improvement. Organizations include small manufacturing companies, service organizations such as hospitals, and nonprofits. These types of environments provide a wide range of real-world operational problems, as well as a hands-on environment.

Zeynep TonZeynep Ton

CURRICULUM

For years, the School offered Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) and other master’s students a course on the practice of operations management. But last year, following requests from LGO students and others, this course became Operations Laboratory (O-Lab). With 27 students in the course’s inaugural session, faculty members Don Rosenfield and Zeynep Ton reached out to organizations in greater New England to identify project matches with an operational focus.

THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Operations Laboratory joins a suite of Action Learning courses at MIT Sloan that get students out into the field and give them the opportunity to take theory learned in the classroom and put it into practice. What makes O-Lab different? It’s local. Partner organizations that are within driving (or train) distance allow O-Lab students to be on-site as often as once per week. This course was consciously designed to give them deep experience, frequent contact, and an opportunity to be involved in a series of operational challenges during the course of the class. By working with small organizations on a wide range of challenges, the students gain a deep understanding of the role that operations plays in the successful management of organizations. Further, the faculty of O-Lab provides student teams with one-on-one consultation and support.

RESEARCH DRIVERS

While Professor Rosenfield has a long history of research in manufacturing, Professor Ton has done more work in the service sector. This division in research interests has been key to the successful partnerships with external organizations. Both faculty members attest to the fact that their research not only influences how their students approach and problem solve the challenges they encounter, but also empowers their partnering organizations to build a competitive advantage in their industry.

Donald Rosenfield is Senior Lecturer in Operations Management and the Director of the Leaders for Global Operations Program.

Zeynep Ton is Adjunct Associate Professor of Operations Management