Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund is a unique text book primarily used by first year MBA students. We at GraduateTutor.com highly recommend this Data, Models, and Decisions text book for anyone interested in decision making.
We believe that Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund is a unique text book for the following reasons.
- Focus on Decision Making: The primary focus of Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science is on decision making. Unlike most text books, the objective is not to cover standard topics in statistics and operations research but to provide students frameworks for decision making.
- Content: Most MBA courses have statistics and operations research as subjects offered in two different courses (and often from two different departments). Text books have evolved to serve these two subjects as different dishes to be enjoyed separately! This decision modeling text book ‘Data, Models, and Decisions’ by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund is unique because it combines the concepts of business statistics and operations research or management science in one book.
- What’s in and what’s out: Both business statistics concepts and operations research are very wide areas of study. Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund however do not choose to introduce students to all areas or aspects of these wide- ranging subjects but have carefully picked out the most important and frequently used decision-making and data analysis techniques and tools in business and management. In choosing the areas to cover, Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund have started with decision making as the primary point and selected the concepts, techniques and tools that assist in decision making. Critics may opine that there are specific areas that are important and should be included. For example, the first chapter covers decision trees and it does a good job of introducing students to decision trees but leaves out the expected value of perfect information. Given the limitations of what can be covered in a tight MBA semester, Bertsimas and Freund have found an optimal mix.
- For beginners: This book is especially recommended by us for students who do not have a business background as it assumes very little background knowledge or experience and starts right from the basics.
- Order of topics: The order in which students learn the various topics is also quite unique. Most textbooks have decision trees towards the end or middle of the text book. Data, Models, and Decisions begins with the building of decision trees in line with their focus on decision making.
It is no surprise that Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund is the prescribed text book for the MIT Sloan MBA program introductory course of the same title given that the authors are both MIT faculty. This text book is also used in a number of universities in the US including the University of Iowa, San Jose University, CA Polytechnic University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Rutgers Business School, Texas A&M University, Bowie State University,University of California, San Diego, UCLA and University of Maryland. Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund is also used overseas in universities such American University of Afghanistan, City University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore and other universities in China. MIT’s Open Course Ware (OCW) also has its Fall 2007 and Fall 2002 courses titled “Data, Models and Decisions”publicly available to anyone interested. The OCW page offers the syllabus, lecture notes, assignments, etc. available to anyone interested in this course. The OCW page of this course introduces the course as follows:
“This course is designed to introduce first-year MBA students to the fundamental quantitative techniques of using data to make informed management decisions. In particular, the course focuses on various ways of modeling, or thinking structurally about, decision problems in order to enhance decision-making skills. Topics include decision analysis, probability, random variables, statistical estimation, regression, simulation, linear optimization, as well as nonlinear and discrete optimization. Management cases are used extensively to illustrate the practical use of modeling tools to improve the management practice.”
GraduateTutor.com’s operations research and decision modeling tutors provide live online tutoring to students using the text book Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund. For many students, the pace at which the MBA program is taught makes it difficult to deeply understand the concepts and applications of a course such as data modeling and decision making. We provide private tutoring on a one-on-one basis making it easier for our students to learn at a far more manageable pace. Our tutors focus on helping students truly understand the concepts so that they can apply it to decision making in their lives.
The first edition of Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund seems to have been published in 2000 by South-Western College Pub./Thomson Learning. This book has been updated only once since then. The second edition of Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund was published by Dynamic Ideas in 2004. We understand that the third edition is currently being worked on and is expected in the near future. We believe that this edition is expected to incorporate a number of changes that the authors may have made since the last edition was published over 9 years ago. Changes expected include the topics selected, recommended modeling software, new distribution and consumption channels like ebooks, etc.
Content covered by the Data, Models, and Decisions text book
The topics covered in the second edition of Data, Models, and Decisions: The Fundamentals Of Management Science by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund include:
- Decision analysis (introduction to decision trees)
- Fundamentals of discrete probability
- Continuous probability distributions and their applications
- Statistical sampling
- Simulation modeling: concepts and practice
- Regression models: concepts and practice
- Linear optimization
- Nonlinear optimization
- Discrete optimization
- Integration in the art of decision modeling
Combining two courses into one creates limitations. A few popular topics found in introductory statistics text books are missing including an introduction to descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, inferences and analysis of variance, expected value of perfect information etc. Also, a few popular topics that are found in introductory operations modeling text books are missing including discriminant analysis, forecasting, queuing theory. It is inevitable that some topics will have to be dropped when you are trying to condense two courses into one. Professors Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund have done a good job in selecting the topics represented. We can expect changes in the next edition of this text book based on the feedback they may have received from a variety of schools.
Bertsimas and Freund definitely do have an alternate and refreshing approach to quantitative analysis for MBA students in that it combines statistics and operations management into one course focused on decision making. One wonders, however, if students would be better off having more depth in statistics and operations management separately.
The Data, Models, and Decisions text book by Dimitris Bertsimas and Robert Freund text book also includes a CD with crystal ball simulation software and Excel templates/data files. The newer edition could feature other software and associated websites with more frequent updates to benefit students using this text book.
Authors of the Data, Models, and Decisions text book
Dimitris Bertsimas has been a Professor of Management science and Operations research at the MIT Sloan School of Management since 1988. He serves on the editorial board of a number of publications and is widely published. His papers cover a wide range of topics in Air Transportation, Applied Probability, Approximation Algorithms Fairness and Resource Allocation, Finance, Health Care, Large Deviations Moment problems, Operations Management, Optimization, Queuing Theory Revenue Management, Robust Optimization, Statistics and Stochastic Networks, Stochastic Scheduling and Vehicle Routing. Bertsimas’s MIT webpage states that his current research is focused on “robust optimization” and its motivation is two fold – 1) tackling data uncertainty for structured mathematical programming problems and 2) modeling stochastic and dynamic optimization problems using uncertainty sets as opposed to probability distributions. Dimitris Bertsimas’s other books include Introduction to Linear Optimization (co-authored with John Tsitsiklis) and Optimization over Integers (co-authored with Robert Weismantel). Bertsimas has taught a wide range of courses in the past including 15.071 – The Analytical Edge, 15.081J – Introduction to Mathematical Programming, 15.083J – Combinatorial Optimization, 5.072 – Queues: Theory and Applications, 15.098 – Special Seminar In Applied Probability, 15.060 – Data, Models and Decisions, 15.45s – Finance Made Difficult, 15.093J – Optimization Methods. Being a finance tutor, my favorite name from this list is undoubtedly: “Finance Made Difficult”!
Robert Freund is a professor of Management science and Operations research at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He has also been responsible for the development of the quantitative methods curriculum at the Harvard Business School. Robert Freund’s areas of research include Nonlinear optimization theory, applications, and computation, Computational complexity of nonlinear optimization, Interior-point methods in convex optimization, Linear programming, Related mathematical systems, Applied Optimization in Management and Fixed-point methods. Robert has been named the Teacher of the year at MIT’s Sloan school of business five times! Freund teaches MBA candidates Optimization modeling, Probability and statistics, Regression modeling, Simulation modeling and Financial modeling and Operations Research/Management Science to mid-career / senior executives among others.
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