The BIG Field

Hamed Ahmadi, TMMBA Class of 2012

To me, this fall quarter has been one of the best quarters in the program so far. There was a lot of enjoyable and exciting work. Specifically, the Operation and Inventory Management course by Kamran Moinzadeh.

Maybe it is my personal taste, but I enjoyed this course very much. Mostly because I love math, calculation, excel sheets full of data, manufacturing, and a few other things, all presented in this subject. Another reason for the success of the course, in my opinion, was how Kamran taught the material. It just gets into your head and you start using the concepts everywhere. My wife caught me the other day analyzing how many cashiers Costco should have; she was not happy that I did all my ‘calculations’ on the back of the chocolate box she was going to give as gift!

One of the highlights of the course for me was the lesson I learned from the “Little Field Technologies” simulation, a very intriguing practice of theoretical concepts taught in the first half of the quarter. And by lesson I mean something beyond the course material. Let me elaborate a bit more.

The simulation was about teams driving a factory for a few hundred simulated days (one real week) and whoever got the most money in the end was the winner. The competition was the spice to the activity and I do not believe people really cared much about its grade. What our team did was doing the calculations before the simulation started and then just monitoring the factory during the week. But I got carried away: I redid our calculation a few times and monitored the factory the first night until 4 AM! I was taking snapshots every hour to be able to analyze our performance; and finally too much doubt and qualm about our actions did what I was afraid of: I encouraged my team to change something that eventually put us behind most of the teams; then I was kind of depressed for a week after that.

Now, I imagine I was put in charge of a real factory; real money, global competition, eager stakeholders… Am I going to behave the same way? How am I going to handle pressure and high expectation? And a whole lot of other questions…

This simulation was a ”Big Field” I played a few of my tactics in and realized I have work to do. This was another addition to what I’ve learned about myself in this program, and for that I want to thank Kamran and my team.