Management Science: Optimisation Methods

The details
Essex Business School
Southend Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
21 August 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC N21612 International Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Module description

In this module, we focus on the methods of mathematical programming that express decision-making problems as optimisation problems where quantities of interest, such as profit and cost, are maximised or minimised, satisfying organisational constraints.

This module will provide the student with a deep understanding of standard optimisation models and techniques and will show how they can be used to identify and solve problems encountered by managers in practice. It will provide the student with skills to formulate organisational problems in the language of mathematics, select suitable techniques to solve them, and use specialised software programs to carry out these tasks in practice. The module will illustrate the use of quantitative methods at both strategic and operational levels.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To develop the quantitative skills required to model and solve critical managerial problems by the methods of management science. Students will be able to identify relevant approaches that suit a particular problem of interest.

  • To equip students with a wide range of models and solution procedures of mathematical programming that are tailored to a set of archetypical optimisation problems. These include, but are not limited to: linear and nonlinear programming, integer programming, dynamic programming, and network models. For each problem type, relevant managerial decisions will be identified and discussed with a particular emphasis on policy implications.

  • To provide students with an appreciation of the competitive advantages that methods and tools of management science can provide to organisations, enabling them to make improved decisions.

  • To familiarise students with different classes of problems and methods.

  • To equip students with analytical skills for representing decision making problems in the mathematical programming formulation, solving them, and analysing sensitivity to changes in organisational factors and conditions.

  • To provide students with knowledge of a wide range of problem prototypes and relevant business problems.

  • To provide students with an academic background that is essential for solving optimisation problems in the domain of logistics and supply chain management.

  • To provide students with essential software skills for implementing, solving, and analysing optimisation problems.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Gain awareness about the increasing importance of quantitative methods in the competitive business environment.

  2. Establish a critical understanding of different classes of problems in the business domain and a range of associated methods.

  3. Develop analytical skills of mathematical programming, enabling to model, analyse, and solve challenging and complex problems of the modern business world.

  4. Obtain the digital / technical fluency for implementing, solving, and analysing optimisation problems in practice.

  5. Obtain a critical view on the selection of appropriate optimisation techniques for particular problems under consideration in the area of logistics and supply chain management.

  6. Develop the ability to interpret theoretical solutions in a business context, particularly through sensitivity analysis.

Module information

Management Science is an interdisciplinary field that employs and integrates methods of applied mathematics, economics, and statistics to help decision making in the management context.

Together with the ever-increasing availability of computational resources, the efficient use of quantitative methods of management science has become a vital instrument to achieve competitive advantage. For instance, efficient scheduling of flights between the many ports spread all over the world is facilitated by a combination of advanced mathematical and computational tools.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Lectures; seminars; lab sessions.

The lectures will introduce the key theoretical concepts of management science, mathematical programming, and solution approaches. Mathematical foundations for representing, solving, and analysing optimisation problems will be established through the lectures. The lectures will also equip students with the critical understanding of the context and scopes of specific models and techniques, directing them to the most appropriate approach demanded by a given managerial problem.

The seminars will focus on real-world applications of the theoretical approaches taught in the lectures. For each subject, relevant managerial problems will be introduced, modelled, analysed, and discussed.

Lab sessions will help students to acquire the software skills for implementing and solving optimisation problems.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non - essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Individual Assignment  08/12/2023  100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Sahar Validi, email:
Dr Sahar Validi



External examiner

Dr Qile He
Available via Moodle
Of 40 hours, 40 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Business School

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