Management Science (also known as Operational Research) applies advanced analytical methods to business problems to help managers make better decisions.
- Management emphasises that we're interested in helping manage the organisation better - that MS is very much focussed on the practical, real world.
- Science means that we're interested in rigorous, systematic and innovative ways of managing the organisation better.
So, rather than make decisions based on guesswork and intuition, MS provides a structured and analytical approach to decision making.
MS gives managers the power to make more effective decisions and today, more than ever, public and private sector organisations are looking for people who can help deal with complex business problems in a systematic, practical and creative way.
Management Scientists do a lot of their work with models.
An car designer or an architect might build a scale model of a new car or a new building.
Management Scientists build equivalent models using diagrams, mathematics or computer simulation.
The main purpose of such a model is to build a simplified, but realistic, picture of some decision situation so that it can be better understood, information to help decision-making can be produced and what-if analysis can be undertaken.
Think about a car company like VW - producing different types of cars at its different production sites round the world. The company has to decide how many of each type of car to manufacture, where to manufacture them and how best to transport them to its key markets.
Building a model showing the different production sites, the main markets it want to sell to and the different transportation routes that are possible allows decision-makers to see the effects of different decisions before making a final decision on what works best.