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The Operations & Technology Management Specialisation

What is operations & technology management?

Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are responsible for 'getting things done' - for coordinating people, information and resources within and outside an organisation to achieve the organisation's goals. Marketing promises quality to customers, finance promises return on investment to shareholders - the COO is responsible for keeping these promises. Organisations that excel at getting desirable things done quickly, efficiently and effectively, while responding to developing technology, changing customer needs and shifts in the competitive and regulatory landscape take a leading position in their industry.  

To achieve operational excellence, organisations need reliable internal processes, they need an effective ecosystem of external partners, and they need ways to generate and leverage new ideas. In a nutshell, the academic discipline Operations and Technology Management (OTM) is concerned with the study of the fundamental principles that underlie the design and management of organisational processes, reliable partnerships, and intra- and inter-organisational innovation capabilities.  

The field is diverse and inherently multi-disciplinary, drawing on and applying insights from economics, operations research, industrial engineering, psychology and sociology. In addition, OTM research has overlaps with other organisational functions, such as strategy, marketing, organisational development, and financial management.

All faculty members in the OTM subject group are committed to rigorous and impactful research. We leverage long-standing relationships with other research groups at Cambridge Judge Business School and the wider University, with academic partners and PhD students at other universities around the world, as well as with a range of organisations in the private and public sectors.

You can find more information on the research in the group on the faculty webpages of the Operations & Technology Management subject group.

The modules

The typical course of study for the OTM specialisation of the MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations includes:

Introduction to Operations & Technology Management Research

This course consists of two equally weighted parts. In the first part, you are introduced to mathematical modelling paradigms. Mathematical modelling is a core "language" of the field and many of its insights are captured succinctly in mathematical formulae or propositions. It is therefore important for you to become conversant. The goals of the first part of the Introduction module are (i) to enable you to appreciate the gist, if not the detail, of modelling papers in the OTM literature and (ii) to introduce you to the mathematical modelling language at a level that enables you to learn more details from textbooks or take more advanced graduate courses in the university if and when required for your own research. This first part of the module is a natural methodological complement to the econometrics modules of the MPhil programme, which cover empirical methods.

The second part of this module teaches you how to write a convincing OTM research proposal with the goal of developing an academic paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal of the field. What makes a good research question? What is a suitable research method for the question at hand? How does the proposed research relate to management practice? How does it relate to and extend the existing academic literature? You explore these questions using published papers as case studies, and you practice the writing and presenting of research proposals, which will prepare you for the PhD continuation process. This second part of the module also teaches you how to read and evaluate academic papers in an efficient manner and what distinguishes OTM papers from papers in cognate disciplines (e.g. economics or marketing).

Classics of Operations & Technology Management Research

The Classics module introduces you to landmark papers and books that have shaped the OTM field. The purpose of the module is to enable you to position your own research within the existing body of literature. We take a broad view of the OTM field and also cover aspects of cognate fields (industrial engineering, economics, sociology, psychology) that are relevant to current debates in OTM.

Fundamentals of Competitive Markets

You are introduced to the foundations necessary to conduct research in the three areas of marketing, operations & technology management, 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 gives 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.

Econometrics I

This is the first module in the sequence of Econometrics modules designed for Research MPhil students at Cambridge Judge Business School who intend to use econometric methods in their PhD research. It is taught in the Michaelmas Term.

This introductory module develops your capability in using linear regression and associated statistical techniques to examine causal relationships from primarily cross-sectional, observational data. By the end of the module you are to specify, estimate, test, interpret, and critically evaluate single equation regression models, with applications in subject areas of management, finance, and business economics.

The module is followed in the Lent Term by Econometrics II, training you in methods and applications of Micro-econometrics. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Econometrics II

To carry out empirical research that has the potential to make original contributions to knowledge, it is necessary to exploit the richness and structure of cross-sectional as well as longitudinal data. It is necessary to become enabled in an array of micro-econometric techniques that help researchers to build into the design of their studies, a variety of complexities (in decision-making, for example) and also compensate for partial observability that is inherent in research data.

This module introduces you to core econometric methods that are useful in management, finance and business economics research. It provides the background required to confidently choose techniques and methods suited to different types of data-sources and models. The focus is on how techniques relate to theory, on the insights that can be drawn from their application, and critical interpretation and appraisal of results.

Students must have taken the Econometrics I course to take this course. A further module on Time Series Econometrics is offered as an elective in the Easter Term.

Organisational Research Methods (biennial content)

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.

one of the following two courses, depending on year:

Quantitative Marketing Models (2019/20)

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.

Consumer Behaviour (2020/21)

This seminar-based course is an overview of issues related to consumer behaviour research in marketing. The course includes readings on marketing research as well as cognate home disciplines such as psychology and behavioural economics. Two major areas are covered:

  • The information processing perspective
  • The behavioural decision perspective

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 that will help you appreciate and conduct consumer behaviour research. You'll also be able to leverage your course experience to develop an understanding of relevant topics for a research career at a business school.

one of the following two courses:

Further Econometrics: Time Series

The Time Series Econometrics module is intended to provide applicable, if introductory knowledge of time series analysis methods. An increasing number of empirical contexts in Finance and Management now have data in the form of time series. The statistics and modelling of time series data will be very useful in any researcher's toolkit.

Individual Research Project

This module is designed for you to conduct individual research under the supervision of SMO faculty members. Research projects can consist of a thorough literature review related to a specific research question, an in-depth critique of published papers, or a specific application of a research methodology (such as a pilot study on the basis of limited data). Our goal is to familiarise you with the faculty members' current research and bring you closer to the frontier of knowledge. The module can prepare you for the individual research that you will undertake in PhD studies, and can indeed become the starting point of future PhD research.

You are expected to determine your coursework plan at the start of the academic year, upon consultation with the programme director and the faculty representative of the OTM specialisation. In particular, your coursework modules can deviate from the above lists and can be selected from other research courses offered by CJBS or other University of Cambridge departments, upon approval by the programme director.

Closing dates

Deadline for applications: 28 Jun 2019
However we recommend you apply before December.

Cambridge Trusts funding deadlines are 11 October for Gates US applicants, 5 December for applicants from all other countries.

Cambridge MPhil in Strategy, Marketing & Operations alumnus Charles Ebert explains what drew him to the programme.

Watch the video


There are a number of scholarships available to MPhil in SMO students, ranging from University of Cambridge and College scholarships to corporate research funding.

Find out more about scholarships