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Courses

You take six taught courses during your MRes (and at least three further courses during the first year of your PhD). Which courses you take depends on your prior training and the requirements of the research topic outlined in your research proposal. An initial set of modules will be chosen by the MRes/PhD Programme Director in consultation with your supervisor prior to the start of the academic year. You can apply for changes to the chosen portfolio of courses during the first week of Michaelmas Term, though the final decision on your individual course portfolio lies with the MRes/PhD Director.

The research coursework is complemented by practical research training overseen by a faculty supervisor. Informal opportunities to develop research skills also exist through mentoring by fellow research students and members of staff. You are integrated into the research culture of your subject group and invited to attend research seminars.

Here are some of the courses that may be relevant to your MRes. Please note, some courses are only offered every other year. In addition, you may be able to take some courses not listed here, run by other departments within the University of Cambridge.

Econometrics I

This course introduces you to the variety of quantitative research methods available for applied research in management and economics, providing you with sufficient background to choose techniques and methods suited to different data-sources and models. The focus is on the way techniques relate to theory, and on the insights that can be drawn from their application. We are concerned with the interpretation and appraisal of results, and emphasise applied work.

Topics covered include:

  • The paradigm: underlying "structure" and "true" models of phenomena
  • Probability distributions
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Estimators and their properties
  • Testing hypothesis
  • Confidence intervals
  • Simple and multiple regression
  • Properties of regression coefficients
  • Transformation of variables
  • Linearity, nonlinearity and categorical variables
  • Simultaneous equations
  • Time series models
  • Stationary and nonstationary processes
  • Estimation

Econometrics II

Given the extensive availability and use of individual-level data sources for applied quantitative analysis, it has become increasingly important to understand the techniques available in applied research, their relation to theory, and what insights can be drawn from the estimation of models.

Many of these methods move beyond the standard tools of econometric analysis, in order to exploit the richness or structure of large sources of either cross-section or longitudinal data, or to compensate for some partial observability of data, or to build complexities in decision-making into an empirical study.

This course provides you with sufficient background to choose techniques suited both to the data-source and the model. There is an emphasis on the interpretation and critical appraisal of estimates, as well as on applied work, exploiting the availability of computer techniques for solutions.

Topics covered include:

  • Binary choice
  • Multiple choice and ordered response models
  • Limited dependent variable techniques
  • Duration and survival models
  • Panel data estimation methods
  • Nonparametric and semiparametric regression methods
  • Count data models

You must have taken the Econometrics I course if you wish to take this course.

Statistical Concepts for Management Researchers

This introductory course enables those of you without prior knowledge of quantitative methods to become conversant in the language of statistics and be able to assess and critique statistical analyses in management research papers (students who have undertaken such training during their first degree will have to take Econometrics I instead). The course is purely conceptual. While the focus of the course is on statistical intuition, you are introduced to the mathematical notation that is required to understand the methods sections in quantitative research papers.

The course covers the following concepts:

  • Social science theory and methods
  • Population models of data generating processes and the estimation problem
  • The sampling distribution of a statistic and the central limit theorem
  • Prediction versus causal explanation
  • Hypothesis testing and effect size estimation
  • Endogeneity

    • Omitted variables and the purpose of control variables
    • Reverse causality and simultaneity

  • Making causal inference in the presence of endogeneity: instrumental variables
  • Transformation of variables
  • Interactions of variables
  • Categorical dependent variables
  • Longitudinal data analysis

Organisational Research Methods

This course helps you understand a variety of quantitative research methods, as well as their embeddedness within various research designs. Upon completion of the course, you'll have a good understanding of various quantitative methods commonly used in management research, and will have applied this knowledge to your own research project. Specifically, the course covers the following content areas: 

  • Research design
  • Experimental & quasi-experimental design
  • Survey design & analysis
  • Mediation & moderation
  • Multilevel analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Meta-analysis

The objectives of this course are to increase your understanding of organisational research method and your sensitivity to the practical problems in conducting organisational research, as well as to apply organisational research methods to your own research projects and interests.

Qualitative Research Methods

This course focuses on three elements of qualitative research methodology:

  • Research philosophy, in which you are introduced to some basic philosophical concepts and tools - particularly in the area of epistemology
  • Qualitative research methods, where we look at the principal types of qualitative data used in management research and the practical and epistemological issues associated with their collection, analysis and use
  • Research design, in which you will come to understand the links between theory, methodology and choice of research techniques; the principles and practice of research design and data access and collection using experiment, observation, interviews, surveys and archival and database retrieval; and issues of research validity, reliability, bias and ethics

Fundamentals of Competitive Markets

You are introduced to the foundations necessary to conduct research in the three areas of marketing, operations, and finance with a view to developing your own skills as researchers in these areas and in business in general. This course covers standard models of:

  • individual choice under certainty and uncertainty
  • production theory
  • general equilibrium
  • monopoly pricing, price discrimination
  • information economics
  • behavioural economics

The course will give you some fundamental knowledge of competitive markets, enabling you to leverage your course knowledge to do original research and write papers in your chosen field of research in a business school.

Quantitative Marketing Models (2017/18)

This seminar-based course is an overview of quantitative modelling approaches to research on marketing problems. Three major areas are covered:

  • empirical modelling (econometrics)
  • analytical modelling (game theory/industrial organisation)
  • experimental economics/behavioural game theory

In each session you're required to read, analyse and comment on selected papers surrounding the key themes of that session. At least half of every session will be devoted to student presentations and group discussion.

Having completed the course, you'll possess some basic knowledge of quantitative modelling in marketing. You'll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an in-depth understanding of relevant topics of interest that'll help you pursue a research career in a business school.

Game Theory & Information Economics (2018/19)

This course is for students who wish to pursue a research career in a business school and consists of a mix of lectures and seminar-based sessions in which you read, analyse and comment on selected papers. Following the course, you'll be able to leverage your course knowledge to do original research and write papers in your chosen field of research.

Topics covered include:

  • Static games of complete information (normal form games)

    • Modelling strategic interactions
    • Iterated dominance and rationalisability
    • Nash equilibrium
    • Application: imperfect competition
    • Mixed strategies

  • Dynamic games of complete information (extensive form games)

    • Extensive form and Nash equilibrium
    • Subgame perfect equilibrium
    • Application: product differentiation
    • Repeated games and one-step deviation

  • Static games of incomplete information

    • Motivation
    • Bayesian Nash equilibrium

  • Dynamic games of incomplete information

    • Perfect Bayesian equilibrium
    • Signalling

Mathematical Foundations of Operations Management (2018/19)

Mathematical modelling has played a key role in both solving operations management problems and providing managerial insights. Mathematical tools such as dynamic programming and queueing theory are used to study fundamental research questions arising in process optimisation and supply chain management. Dynamic programming provides a set of general methods for making sequential, interrelated decisions under uncertainty. Queueing theory deals with the study of waiting lines in traffic control, call centre and hospital management, and booking and service systems. Revenue management is a set of analytical tools for extracting the maximum revenue by selling the right product to the right customer at the right price at the right time. Supply chain management is a set of approaches utilised to efficiently integrate different entities in an interconnected network of suppliers, manufacturers, distributes and retailers. 

The course consists of both lectures of exploring analytical tools and seminars of discussing seminal papers in the related areas, and:

  • gets you acquainted with the most important research in Operations Management
  • provides you with tools necessary to model, formulate and analyse the problems with practical backgrounds
  • stimulates your research ideas through paper discussions
  • explains key results and identify managerial insights

Mathematical Models of Operations Management (2017/18)

Mathematical modelling techniques are an invaluable complement to econometrics in the methods toolbox of operations management researchers. The mathematical modeller makes simplifying assumptions about the world and then uses mathematics and logical thinking to predict consequences of these assumptions as mathematical propositions with mathematical proofs. Optimisation theory and techniques are absolute essentials for formulating and analysing mathematical models for operations management problems. Linear programming is the simplest optimisation problem in which both objective function and constraints are represented by linear functions of decision variables. Nonlinear programming extends linear programming to nonlinear objectives and constraints. Dynamic programming provides a set of general methods for making sequential, interrelated decisions under uncertainty. Game theory is the study of strategic decision making between several decision makers which originated in economics and has found many applications in operations management. Inventory management is about specifying the size and placement of stocked products. Supply chain contracting can enhance supply chain efficiency in a disintegrated system that contains self-interested players such as suppliers, manufacturers, distributes and retailers. 

The course consists of both lectures of exploring analytical tools and seminars of discussing seminal papers in the related areas, and:

  • gets you acquainted with the most important research in Operations Management
  • provides you with tools necessary to model, formulate and analyse the problems with practical backgrounds
  • stimulates your research ideas through paper discussions
  • explains key results and identify managerial insights

These modules introduce you to current academic debates in specific disciplines:

Operations Management

This is a seminar-style course to explore research in the area of Operations Management (OM). OM focuses on the effective planning, scheduling, and control of manufacturing and service entities. As such, it is concerned with decisions and execution of processes that enable the firm to compete profitably and deal with rapidly changing environments. Achieving operations excellence is one of the most essential strategies to improve efficiency and to gain competitive advantage. 

This course introduces students to a broad range of foundational concepts, problems, strategies, and analytical methods in the operations function of a firm. Topics include problems and issues confronting operations managers such as optimal timing and sizing of capacity expansion, inventory management, and incentives. The course material also provides exposure to conceptual, analytical and empirical research and informs the students about a suite of methodological options that ought to be considered while building their subsequent research. This course covers a mix of qualitative concepts and quantitative methods such as linear programming and dynamic programming.

Process Perspectives on Innovation Management (2018/19)

Over the past two decades the topics of innovation and new product development have become synonymous with firm competitiveness and sustainable growth. Through a seminar-style course we explore fundamental aspects of the process that governs innovation and the development of new technologies, products and/or services. Therefore, we address research questions that require understanding of the firm objectives but emphasise the execution aspects. Topics include but aren't limited to:

  • innovation as a search process
  • resource allocation and project valuation
  • project prioritisation and portfolio selection
  • project management under risk
  • process challenges at the "fuzzy" front-end of innovation
  • new product experimentation and testing
  • management of cross-functional project teams
  • the collaboration and coordination challenges in innovation processes

Athough there's no methodological focus for the different studies discussed during the seminar sessions, several of the sessions will expose you to a few rare (for the OM/MS community) methods and techniques.

Managing Innovative Organisations (2017/18)

In the last two decades the innovation and new product development (NPD) processes have received much attention as key determinants of firm competitiveness and success. While it is obviously the case that innovation is a topic that spans across functional and disciplinary boundaries within academia, different disciplines approach the various challenges through diverse methodological lenses. The operations perspective has naturally focused more on the innovation process through optimisation, empirically based as well as experimental tools. This seminar intends to give to future researchers an overview of some of the topics that have acquired special attention within the areas of innovation and NPD. A dominant characteristic of these topics is their cross-functional nature, which is reflected in the highly interdisciplinary mix of papers presented throughout the seminar.

Organisational Analysis

Organisational analysis is a very broad subject, concerned with the individual in the workplace, how work is structured and organised, and the experience of work and change within organisations.

To provide a framework to comprehend this breadth we investigate key themes in organisational analysis including the individual in the organisation, motivation, groups and teams, leadership, control and commitment, learning, culture, and change management.

Topics covered include:

  • Organisations, individuals and management
  • Motivation and performance
  • Managing groups and teams
  • Leadership
  • Conflict and cooperation
  • Control and commitment
  • Learning and knowledge management
  • Organisational culture
  • Change management

Seminar in Strategy Content (2017/18)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the content of strategic management - the relationship between the different strategies and resource and capability bundles firms develop, strategic positions they create, and their financial performance and competitive advantage. Building on strategic management, economics-based, and organisational theories, this course covers substantive research on the antecedents and consequences of competitive and corporate strategies undertaken by firms in connection with the changes and disruptions in the environment. The course involves active student participation in group discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

Seminar in Strategy Process (2018/19)

This course provides a foundational survey of the key theories and empirical works that shape research on the process of strategic management - how strategic decisions are made and implemented. Building on behavioural and psychological theories, this course covers substantive research on the strategic processes such as strategic decision-making and implementation at the individual executives, groups (e.g. top management teams, middle managers) and the organisation as a whole (e.g. culture, corporate governance). The course involves active student participation in collective discussions and critiques of the seminal classic contributions as well as latest research in various topics on the content of strategic management. It also involves you developing your own research ideas and proposals that build on some of the topics and theories covered.

Marketing Strategy

This course is a survey of three distinct yet related areas: marketing, innovation and emerging economies. Marketing is the study of the interaction between organisations and markets. Innovation is the study of the commercial exploitation by organisations of new ideas. Emerging economies, such as India and China, are the big economic phenomenon of the contemporary global scene and the theatre in which new opportunities for marketing and innovation are unfolding in real time. This course takes a strategic perspective on these topics, viewing them all from the perspective of the firm and its performance.

Strategic Organisation for Digital Innovation (2017/18)

This course focuses on the foundational theories, central debates and key texts on digital innovation and innovation ecosystems. It provides you with advanced reading and insights on emerging topics related to the process of innovation, leadership and culture for innovation, digital innovation strategies and leveraging business ecosystems. The sessions combine interactive lecture vignettes and intensive seminar-based debates in which key articles and case studies covering developed and developing contexts are presented and discussed. Having completed the course, you'll be equipped to engage in advancing debates in this area through developing your own research in an innovative and critical manner.

Information Systems, Innovation & Organisational Change

This course focuses on some key theories and central debates that help us conceptualise the relationship between information systems, innovation, and strategic change. The main texts will draw from information systems, sociology, sociology of technology, and organisation theory. The course examines three key themes:

  • The role of new information technologies in processes of innovation and strategic change within and between industries
  • The role of information systems in enabling innovative work practices and the organisational issues involved in implementing and using technological innovations
  • The relationship between information technology and processes of globalisation

Organisation Theory

This course focuses on the foundational theories, central debates and key texts that help us conceptualise organisational dynamics. It provides you with advanced reading, writing and interpretation skills relating to, for example, organisational identity, organisational control and theories of entrepreneurship. It is based around intensive seminar-based sessions in which key articles are closely read and discussed. Having completed the course, you will be equipped to interpret and problematise scholarly material relating to the organisation of innovation in a creative and critical manner.

Asset Pricing I & II

This two-part course in asset pricing, one of the building blocks of finance, covers models that determine security prices and the methodologies used to empirically test their predictions. The course mixes theoretical and empirical lectures, with fifteen sessions over two terms.

Asset Pricing I & II requires a strong prior background in microeconomics and statistics/econometrics.

Consumer Behaviour (2018/19)

Consumer behaviour is the psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different marketplace alternatives. Consumer behaviour is an important research area within almost all marketing departments at top business schools (and business schools in general), and is also closely related to other fields both within and outside of marketing (e.g., marketing strategy, organisational behaviour, experimental economics, behavioural finance and accounting, sociology, and experimental and social psychology). Thus, an understanding of consumer behaviour is useful to researchers in a number of disciplines, in addition to those planning an academic career in consumer behaviour.

The course mainly consists of seminar-based sessions in which you read, analyse and comment on selected papers from various sub-areas of consumer behaviour, with a view to:

  • developing your own skills as researchers in these areas and in business in general
  • getting you to the point where you can review and write high quality papers in consumer behaviour
  • giving you an understanding of what it takes to publish consumer behaviour research in the top academic journals

Continuous Time Finance

This course provides you with an overview of continuous-time finance methods and their applications to corporate finance and financial economics. The course is taught primarily on the basis of journal articles, supplemented with the lecturer's own teaching notes. Throughout the course you should also learn critically to assess and evaluate papers.

Important note: This course is offered biennially. If you wish to continue onto the PhD at Cambridge Judge, this course is mandatory if it's running during your MPhil year.

Corporate Finance I & II

Structured by topics, this course introduces you to theoretical and empirical research in corporate finance. Each topic examines the fundamentals of corporate finance theory (e.g. the theory of the firm's choice of its capital structure and dividend policy under alternative assumptions), as well as various essential areas in corporate finance (e.g. the notion of moral hazard and agency problems, adverse selection and signaling). The course further covers the related empirical evidence with a focus on recent research in empirical corporate finance and a critical assessment of the research design in empirical studies.

The course requires some basic knowledge of fundamental concepts in corporate finance (at the level of Brealey, Myers and Allen's Principles of Corporate Finance). We will recommend some summer reading as preparation to the course for those admitted to the MPhil.

Please note that the content of the programme is subject to change.