MBA Programs - Continuing Education in Florida
Professors talk about their approaches to teaching leadership skills.
Instructor - University of South Florida
Courses: Statistics; Lean Six Sigma Operations Management; Service Operations Management; Mathematical Modeling; Lean Management
Have you ever watched customers’ behavior when they wait in line to pay? In instructor Ron Satterfield’s graduate course in operations management, students watch and analyze how long they wait and how wait time affects sales. It’s called queuing analysis. “The goal is to try to make my students aware of problems when they see them and give them ideas on how, if they are managing a facility, they can improve the wait times,” he says.
Health care MBA students, for example, have applied queuing analysis to their experiences with patients waiting in hospitals or doctors’ offices. “Often they say they never realized anyone studied this and when they make changes, they see immediate results.”
Satterfield uses a combination of video presentations, classroom lectures and hands-on projects that emulate real business scenarios. By bringing those examples into the classroom, Satterfield proves to his students there is as much to learn from companies with inefficiencies as those that get it right. “Our textbook is just a secondary resource,” he says.
In his Six Sigma course, Satterfield has students dissect business processes, hunting for waste. “We’re looking at how to get the job done faster,” he says. In one class, Satterfield split the students into two groups, each charged with building the most pyramids out of paper. Classmates had to decide which students had certain skills, who would cut, draw, tape and how many students to assign to each area of operations to maximize production while maintaining quality control. “It required communication and adjustments as we realized certain complications impact production in positive and negative ways,” says MBA graduate Nick Vojnovic.
Vojnovic, president of Little Greek Franchise Development in Tampa, says the processes he has learned in the classroom have helped him identify issues around wait times and inefficiency at his restaurants and come up with solutions. Vojnovic credits Satterfield’s style of teaching with students’ ability to grasp even the more advanced concepts and give them real world applications. “He’s not a professor who is lecturing down to you. It’s a very interactive class, and a lightbulb goes off the deeper into class you get.”