Curriculum

The thirty-credit MPS curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation for understanding the issues central to decision-making in an organizational context, allowing you to better anticipate how they might provide an opening for change in one case or block a plan of action in another. Throughout the program, an emphasis on data and analysis will provide you with tools to gather, understand, and communicate the information at the heart of strategic decision-making. Finally, the capstone project is designed to reinforce the practice of thinking across complex systems and support the transfer of learning from the classroom to application in real-world organizations.

The curriculum answers the following questions:

Organizational Behavior
How does bureaucracy operate across different organizations? What role is played by an organization’s culture? How do leaders make the right decisions? How does change happen?

This foundational course is about how to think analytically about organizational issues via an understanding of organizations as complex systems in which individuals must take action, providing the framework that undergirds the MPS curriculum. You’ll explore a range of issues affecting the everyday efficacy of organizations, including organizational theories and their underlying assumptions about human nature; organizational structures; motivating and leading individuals and teams; the relationship between organizations and their environments; leadership and culture; organizational change; and the role of power, politics, and decision-making in organizations

Labor and Employee Relations
What does it mean to have a unionized, outsourced, digital, or global workforce?

Policies and practices around employer-employee relationships can prescribe actions undertaken in every type of organization. This course offers an in-depth look at the employment relationship and the varying forms it can take both domestically and internationally, including areas such as labor-management negotiation, work restructuring and employee participation processes, collective representation, offshoring, and workplace conflict resolution. You’ll analyze and compare employment systems, with a focus on cross-national differences and similarities, and examine the impact of globalization, labor standards in global supply chains, and the rise of multi-national corporations.

Labor/Employment Law and Policy
How are organizations shaped by laws?

This course looks at the laws regulating the workplace, especially as they pertain to discrimination and the rights of employees to bargain collectively. While the legal issues are varied, they raise similar questions about whether U.S. labor and employment law is meeting the needs and challenges faced by today’s workforce. Using a “law and society” based approach, you’ll analyze the way the law addresses social questions and the ways in which social forces shape legal issues. During this intensive summer-session course, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the law and its relationship to social relations and policy development in an organizational context, and gain knowledge of the applicable guidelines for organizational decision-making.

Labor Economics
How do we make allocation decisions within our organizations?

This course examines how economic principles govern employment and organizations, with a look at factors both internal and external. An opening module on the finance function will familiarize you with the pressures, opportunities, and priorities that impact decision-making from a financial perspective and help you understand the practical interplay of accounting rules, tax policy, and financial regulations. During the core section of the course you’ll look at labor markets and the economic issues that relate to selecting, training, assigning, motivating, and compensating workers, as well as critical policy and economic security issues such as unemployment, pensions, disability, discrimination, globalization, and immigration. You’ll develop your understanding of the financial motivations and actions of both employers and employees and be better able to predict and evaluate the impacts of organizational decisions, external events, and public policies.

Human Resource Management
How do we translate organizational expertise into plans for action and to implement change?

This course presents human resource management as a strategic issue no less significant than the management of any other organizational asset and explores HR decision making with an eye toward understanding the impact on employees, organizational effectiveness, and the broader market and social contexts. Building on your knowledge of the internal and external factors shaping organizations gained from your previous courses, you’ll revisit the issues introduced in your first semester to see how ideas and strategies get put into action. Comparing and contrasting different approaches to human resources decisions in different environments, you’ll evaluate alternatives for staffing and talent management, analyze compensation and reward systems, understand the design and management of teams, anticipate international HR needs, and interpret the role of organizational culture in management.

Statistical Research, Data Science, and Analytics
How can data be used to inform decisions and manage organizations effectively?

An essential part of the MPS program—and for success in the workplace—is sharpening the ability to gather, distill, and apply information. Across the organizational spectrum, it has become more and more necessary to be able to apply these skills effectively to quantitative data. Statistics, the systematic evaluation of data to reach new conclusions, is a powerful tool. When used properly, data can be used to make larger statements about the bigger world. We use statistics to unlock patterns that are not apparent on the surface and rely on them to determine everything from the safety of pharmaceuticals to the fairness of compensation. Statistics helps us create data-driven stories. This course will take you through the first layer of statistics, giving you an understanding of the language of data and the interpretation of statistical tests, with an emphasis on the critical but often overlooked skills that allow for the clear and effective communication of results. You’ll gain new tools to guide your decision-making and be better equipped to work with analysts and consultants to really understand what they are providing, and know what questions to ask.

The approach of this course is one of active engagement. People come to the quantitative space from many backgrounds and with different learning styles. And a little math anxiety is not uncommon among adults returning to the classroom after some time. Everyone starts at a different place, and multiple modes of learning will reinforce concepts throughout the course. Along the way, you’ll refresh your Excel, PowerPoint, and presentation skills. Statistics will soon be a tool you can use to solve real problems, and you’ll build capacity to navigate the data-driven world.

MPS Project
How do I apply my learning to practice?

An in-depth study of a single organization, the capstone is completed through a series of modules running in parallel with the core MPS curriculum, giving you the opportunity to create a blueprint for how to bring the subject areas of each course to bear in the workplace, relying on the actual documents and data from the organization. By directly applying the insights of the corresponding course to make sense of what’s going on and where the organization ought to go, you’ll gain immediate and valuable hands-on experience putting your classroom learning into action. Structured, faculty-led meetings with your cohort guide each stage of the project and are supplemented by guest lectures on topics like data visualization and analytic storytelling that will give you practical skills for turning data into arguments. It is not enough to have the right answers if you cannot persuade the right people. You will learn how to translate formal academic analysis into straightforward but compelling arguments for change.

The capstone culminates with a final deliverable, for which you’ll compile your analyses and produce a comprehensive organizational report with recommendations for change.