Intro to Information Systems
Take a glance at the covers of BusinessWeek or Fortune magazine. What do you notice? That’s right—one-third of the cover stories are directly related to technology. Listen to the news or try filtering out the most popular tweets. Which keywords are you most likely to stumble upon? Big data, machine learning, and business analytics. Today, information systems (IS) are an integral part of all business activities and careers. As future managers, you will not be able to ignore the important roles that technology, tech industries, and information systems will have in every aspect of your business. Your organization will be investing in technology to play the game and compete with others in the same space, but is this enough? If every startup and even your everyday mom and pop stores have an information system installed, what is your competitive advantage? How are you different? This course provides you with an understanding of the crucial role that information and technology play in supporting the strategic management of businesses to achieve long-term profits.
The lectured part of this course discusses mini-cases and stories of firms that have been successful in their attempts to leverage IS for competitive advantages. You will also learn about those who have failed, and together we will explore the reasons behind their failures. Did they rely solely on technology that was easily copied while forgetting about developing assets that create sustainable, competitive advantages? Why is it a winner-takes-all, winner-takes-most market? How can you create a monopolistic effect and have it last for a long period of time?
The mini-cases are very relatable, which makes the material interesting and enjoyable. We will discuss firms like Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Google, and Kodak, among other very popular firms. Not only will you be surprised by the outstanding facts that helped shape the success or failure of these firms but in some instances, you will have a different perspective of the firm and its operations that will change your way of thinking forever. As important as these examples are, the focus is not on them, per se, but on the lessons and concepts behind them. I hope you learn a way of thinking about this as I teach you core concepts that stay applicable even as industries and technologies change. You are in the most relentlessly advanced business environment ever, and I want you to gain this managerial utility belt to be able to say, “Hey, I know what’s happening in this situation, and I think I know what we need to do here.”
Having this knowledge along with a wide range of technical terminology will give you a competitive advantage over the other candidate competing with you in the interview process. You have one chance to make a good first impression and be considered for the next level during an interview. Being able to throw down key terms and back them up with current, supporting evidence is key to letting the interviewer know that you have a solid understanding of what it takes to be on the winning side. No matter what your major or academic background is, you need the right verbiage to talk the talk. The terminology in this class will help you do this. Consider this course as your training ground, and take advantage of everything you learn to prepare for a career.
As you will learn in this course, data collection is key to organizational success. However, unless you turn it into information for meaningful insights, its value is questionable. Through the lab portion of this course, you will gain valuable hands-on experience with Microsoft Office applications, especially Microsoft Excel. This course assumes you have never used Excel and is designed to take you from zero to hero. By the end of the semester, you will be ready sit for the introductory and expert levels of the Microsoft Office Specialist certification. Excel wizardry is not only going to help you with a number of future courses but it will also help you with your current job and/or land your first job if you are on the market. In Chapter 1 of this course, you will learn how recruiters are always on the lookout for hot keywords in your resume. If they see that you are proficient in Excel, they are more likely to give you a closer look; employers will see you as an asset who can perform tasks efficiently. In a related vein, communicating and delivering the right message is key. The art of presenting is crucial for you to pitch an idea and deliver content. You will learn how to illustrate the story behind your data and present your findings to your audience using PowerPoint. Last but not least, you will gain hands-on experience managing databases. You will explore how to connect tables using relationships and create queries using Microsoft Access.
The two interrelated parts of the course will allow you to obtain valuable information technology knowledge and skills for effective decision making. No matter what your major is, you need this information to thrive and make sound data-driven decisions.
The vast benefits of this course can be reaped way before you sit for an interview. At the end of this semester, you will have the option of earning two MS Excel badges that demonstrate your expertise, certified by Pearson. The badges are entirely optional and are a bonus; completing them is not factored into your grade. This is a wonderful opportunity and an instant addition to your resume! Instead of just claiming familiarity with Excel, this badge provides verified evidence that you have demonstrated specific skills and competencies using Microsoft Office Excel in a real project. Your digital badge can be shared with future employers and on social media—via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter—or using online portfolios and resumes, leading to real opportunities in connecting with potential employers. This badge will also allow you to view labor market insights and access the discounted MOS certification options. After the semester ends, I will unlock further trainings so you can earn two more badges: MS PowerPoint and MS Access badges.
Lastly, I want you to take advantage of the course extras: the mobile application and the Instagram account. Nora’s Corner is a mobile application created for this class. It instantly connects students with course material and news about assignments and exam deadlines and conveys information about deadlines and course updates. It also sends you reminders about assignments and exams. Emphasizing interactivity, its Just Ask Nora feature allows users to ask specific questions and receive advice on course-related queries. Our Instagram account, Excel.Ninja, posts tips and tricks to use in Excel. Keeping up with technology and all its updates is semi-impossible. As the author of the book assigned for this course says, “It is like drinking from a fire hose.” Having updates and hacks at your fingertips is key to keeping you in the know of what is happening and the things you need to be familiar with to stay in the loop about the most recent advancements.
Several students in earlier semesters have described this course as “life changing.” Stressing on this point, I want you to know that your learning is my highest priority. I will be there to ensure that you get the most out of this course and that you leave with a much deeper understanding of all the topics discussed. I do not consider it my job to deliver the content and educate you; rather, it is a passion that I enjoy doing. However, I want you to be fully invested in the course and work hard so that my support is radical. Make sure you reach out for help and that you take advantage of every teaching moment.
I am looking forward to a great and life-changing semester. Best of luck!
OIM210's Teaching Assistants
Teaching assistants (TAs) play a huge role in OIM 210. They have a serious responsibility in the Operations and Information Management Department and Isenberg as a whole. Their teaching complements the work of the instructor, and their knowledge, dedication, and compassion largely influence the learning experience of OIM 210 students. Other than executing weekly lab sessions, TAs run open labs where they answer student questions. They also grade assignments, proctor exams, check on students’ performance, contribute to the course blog, and assist in creating exam questions.
The TA position is one of the most sought after student jobs in Isenberg. Only top notch students are considered for the position and priority is given to those who are well-spoken, knowledgeable and have an affinity for the course and major. Candidates go through a rigorous interview process before they are offered the position. Afterwards, they are periodically evaluated for contract renewal.
The course's current TAs are Excel wizards and incredible teachers. They are charismatic, knowledgeable, and helpful members that make a huge impact on students' learning experience in OIM 210. You can meet them by meeting their mini bios below:
Interested in becoming part of the dream team? Fill out the TA application by clicking on the above link.
Make sure to go over the TA Manual to learn more about the responsibilities of this job.
Satish is a Senior double majoring in Operations and Information Management and Economics with an IT minor. He’s very active on campus both in and out of the Isenberg community. Besides being an OIM 210 TA, he is an Analyst for the Isenberg Undergraduate Consulting Group, a member of Delta Sigma Pi, and a Student Admissions Representative for the university. This past summer, Satish interned for PwC in their Digital Risk Solutions group, employing Excel and data science tools for his client engagements. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and cooking.
Joseph is a Senior majoring in Operations and Information Management. He has become increasingly involved in Isenberg throughout the years, recently becoming the treasurer of the OIM Club and now entering his first semester as a TA! This past summer, Joseph interned as a data analyst at a construction accounting software company, a position in which he was able to utilize the Excel skills he learned in 210 and now hopes to help others learn this school year. Outside of the business school, Joseph is heavily involved in the UMass Ultimate frisbee program as a player on the men’s varsity team and a co-captain for the mixed team.
Shane is a Senior honors OIM major and this fall marks his third semester as an OIM 210 TA. Additional to his role as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Junaid, he is also a member of the Isenberg Undergraduate Consulting Group. This past summer, Shane interned at Ernst and Young in their Advisory Consultant Program. Outside of work and academia, he enjoys to play golf, follow Boston sports teams and hangout with his two dogs, Bubba and Murphy.
Thomas is a Senior majoring in Finance. This will be his third semester as an OIM 210 TA. In addition to being an outstanding TA and excel wizard, he is the Chairman of the Minutemen Fixed Income Fund, which he has been a member of since his Freshman year. He also served as President of the Investment Club for four semesters and currently acts as a Senior Advisor to the club. This past summer, he interned at RBC Capital Markets as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst and will be returning after graduation for full-time. Thomas' interests include golf, football, and surfing.
Christian is a Senior majoring in Finance. Being an expert in Excel topics and an outstanding teacher, he has greatly contributed to the OIM 210 lab curriculum. Christian is the recipient of the “Most Valuable TA” award for both semesters, Spring 2018 and Fall 2018, for demonstrating excellence in teaching and providing students with endless help outside lab sessions. Besides being an OIM 210 TA, he is also a member of the Minutemen Fixed Income Fund, Investment Club, and Sigma Chi Fraternity. He has previously worked as a Wealth Management Summer Analyst at Morgan Stanley and a Sales and Trading Analyst at Citi.
Erika is a Senior majoring in Operations and Information Management. She is a member of the Alumni Relations Committee in the OIM Club. This past summer, she had an internship at J.B. Hunt working in logistics. Erika appreciates the powers of Excel for executing tasks in a more efficient manner, and loves teaching OIM 210 students. Her students describe her as very helpful and inspiring. She is the recipient of the “Top Junior TA Award” for Fall 2018 for being an outstanding TA. Some of her favorite things are skiing and rollerblading. Erika also enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures.
Iordanis, or "Yan" as he is known by all, is a Senior majoring in Operations and Information Management with a minor in IT. He has recently returned from an unforgettable study abroad experience in Florence, Italy. This previous summer he worked to open the brand-new Encore Resort and Casino in Everett, MA. Yan is impressed by the powers of excel every day and is excited to pass his knowledge onto others. Outside of the classroom Yan loves cooking, spending time with friends, and searching for new music on Spotify.
Cat is a Sophomore honors Operations & Information Management major pursuing minors in Information Technology and Natural Resource Economics. She is excited to begin her first semester as an OIM 210 TA teaching integral tools for the business world. Aside from being a TA, Cat is a project analyst in the Isenberg Undergraduate Consulting Group as well as the CTO of Smart Woman Securities. This summer she will be joining Wellington Management Company in Boston as a technology intern. In her free time, Cat enjoys spinning, concert-going, and traveling.
Erik is a senior Operations and Information Management major with an IT minor who loves helping others succeed in solving challenging problems. On campus, he is very involved, having served most recently as the President of Delta Sigma Pi, the professional co-ed business fraternity. Erik has previously interned at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and at Lime Rock Park, and currently works as a Data Analyst for TrueMotion. When he isn't hard at work, he likes to be on the hiking trails, the skiing slopes, or the river banks, relaxing and appreciating nature. He hopes to find a career in humanitarian logistics and law after graduation, where he can push to make the world a better place.
Dylan is Senior majoring in Corporate Finance with a minor in Information Technology. He has worked at Dell Technologies in the finance internship program the past 2 summers where he worked in professional services at RSA and indirect tax at EMC. He is a part of the UMass Blockchain and Cryptocurrency club and actively takes part in intramural sports throughout the year. He is an outgoing person who loves helping other students reach their full potential and achieve their academic goals.
Benjamin is a Senior majoring in Operations and Information Management and minoring in Natural Resource Conservation. He has outstanding problem solving skills and is naturally driven to situations that entail changes for the better. He is a Director at the Isenberg Undergraduate Consulting Group, collaborating with global corporations to solve their most pressing challenges. Besides his teaching role as a TA for OIM 210, he is also a teaching assistant for the Isenberg Fellows Business Leaders Seminar. For the past to summers he has worked in Data Analytics at Liberty Mutual and Technology Consulting at PwC, utilizing and expanding on the skillset he learned in OIM 210.
Amanda is a senior majoring in Operations and Information Management with a concentration in Supply Chain and minoring in IT. This past summer she interned at TJX as an IT Business Analyst on the marketing team. Upon graduation in the Spring, she is working full-time at Wayfair in their E-Commerce Associate Rotational Program. Amanda is also the recipient of the Spring 2019 “Top TA Award".
John is a Senior majoring in Finance. He is a Senior Analyst in the Fixed Income Fund. This summer Jack interned as an Investment Banker at Miller Buckfire, using the lessons taught in OIM 210 every day. Jack loves answering any questions about the Microsoft Office Suite. In his free time, Jack enjoys cooking, lifting, reading and learning new Excel shortcuts.
Navya is a sophomore majoring in Operations and Information Management and pursuing a certificate in Data Analytics. She has developed a strong interest in excel and its applications in the real world and is very excited for her first semester as a TA! In Isenberg she is part of the Isenberg Undergraduate Consulting Group as an analyst and uses her problem-solving skills to analyze business problems. Navya interned at John Hancock Financial this past summer in their IT department and was amazed at how extensively excel is used. Outside of school, Navya enjoys painting, reading, and cooking.
Kaytan is a Junior honors Finance and Economics double major. This will be his first semester with the OIM 210 TA team. On campus, he has served as Co-President of the Investment Club for the past two semesters and now acts as a Senior Advisor. In addition, he has been a member of the Minutemen Fixed Income Fund since his sophomore year, and will be serving as the Fund’s President this semester. This summer he looks forward to interning as a Sales and Trading Analyst at Citi. In his free time, Kaytan enjoys watching football, staying active, hanging out with friends and spending time with family.