The Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences Department (MEDS) comprises of economists and political scientists who study individual decision making under risk, incentives within organizations under asymmetric information, the performance of markets and of political institutions, economic development and international relations. Fundamental research on auctions, mechanism design, game theory, voting, information aggregation, strategic behavior within and between organizations has been produced in the MEDS Department. This research is taught in economics and political science departments across the world and is in leading PhD textbooks. Faculty in the MEDS Department have won numerous research awards, have been elected to memberships of prestigious elected societies such as the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and are editors of leading journals – the journal Games and Economic Behavior was founded in the MEDS Department.
The Economics major offers courses that build on the strengths of the MEDS Department in bringing together disparate functional areas to provide predictions of market equilibrium. This perspective allows decision-makers to forecast the impact of their strategies on customers, competitors, complementors and hence back on themselves. This type of foresight is useful for those interested in careers in consulting, general management, or in regulated industries. In addition, the major is useful for those desiring additional depth and economic perspective to complement a functional major such as finance or marketing. For students aiming for such a combination, we list some sample programs within the economics major that might best connect with the functional area.
The Economics Major offers analytical general management classes, classes that are of interest to students who want to pursue a career in consulting or work in a regulated industry and lab classes that allow students to use analytical skills in a real-world company.
The general management classes (DECS-450 Decision Making & Modeling, DECS-452 Game Theory and Strategic Decisions, MGMT-469 Analytics for Strategy, and OPNS-450 Analytical Decision Modeling) provide frameworks and methods for breaking down problems to forecast individual and market responses to different strategies an individual or company might pursue. They are relevant for students pursuing many career paths. The classes leverage the skills of the MEDS faculty in spreadsheet analysis and modeling (DECS-450), game theory (DECS-452), data analytics (DECS-452), and operations (OPNS-450). These four courses are largely independent of one another, and may be profitably taken either alone or together.
For those interested in consulting with an analytical focus, MECN-441 Competitive Strategy and Industrial Structure, MECN-446 Pricing Strategies, and MGMT-452 Strategy and Organizations are particularly relevant. MECN 441 leverages game theory to provide frameworks to understand strategic behavior between competing firms and to capture value in different industrial settings ranging from highly competitive to near monopolistic. MECN-446 uses game theory to study how companies with market power can capture value through sophisticated pricing methods ranging from customer customization and segmentation to auctions. MGMT-452 studies strategic behavior within firms.
For all interested in regulated industries, public-private partnerships, and/or government policy, MECN-450 Macroeconomics, KPPI-441 Strategic Management in Non-Market Environments, KPPI-470 Public Economics for Business Leaders: Federal Policy, KPPI-480 Public Economics for Business Leaders: State and Local Policy, KPPI-460 Values Based Leadership, and MGMT-444 Health Economics are particularly relevant.
Two lab classes provide students with the opportunity to work on a project with a company. Both make use of economic and data analytic techniques. DECS-920 Risk Lab focuses on evaluation of risks facing a company or business venture. DECS 915 Analytical Consulting Lab is similar but considers a wider range of topics. Only one lab class may be counted toward the major.
** Sample program in economics for combination with marketing: MECN-446 Pricing Strategies, MECN-441 Competitive Strategy and Industrial Structure, DECS-915 Analytical Consulting Lab, and one of the tools-based courses.
Sample program in economics for combination with finance: DECS-450 Decision Making & Modeling, DECS-920 Risk Lab, MECN-450-0 Macroeconomics, and one more course.
Sample program in economics for combination with operations management: DECS-452 Game Theory and Strategic Decisions, MECN-441 Competitive Strategy and Industrial Structure, a lab class, and one more course.