Introduction to Operations Management

Learn to analyze and improve business processes in services or in manufacturing by learning how to increase productivity and responsiveness, provide more choice to the customer, and deliver higher quality standards. Key concepts include process analysis, bottlenecks, flows rates, and inventory levels, and more. After successfully completing this course, you can apply these skills to a real-world business challenge as part of the Wharton Business Foundations Specialization.

About The Course


See Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School, talk about the Specialization here.

What did you want the last time you went to a restaurant? You wanted to find something on the menu that you liked, you wanted the meal to be prepared according to high quality standards, you wanted to get it quickly, and you didn’t want to pay too much money for it. Now, remember the last time you went to a doctor’s office or a hospital. What did you want the doctors and nurses to do? You wanted them to provide the right care for you, you wanted the care delivered with great quality, you wanted to get the care quickly, and you (or your insurance) didn’t want to pay too much for it. 

The management skills needed to run the operations of a restaurant are the same needed to run a hospital. You will learn these skills in this course. Specifically, you will learn how to improve productivity, increase responsiveness, provide more choice to the customer, and deliver higher quality standards. In short, you will learn how to analyze business processes and how to improve them.

Complete this course as part of Wharton's Business Foundations Specialization, and you'll have the opportunity to take the Capstone Project and prepare a strategic analysis and proposed solution to a real business challenge from Wharton-governed companies like Shazam and SnapDeal or to a challenge faced by your own company or organization. Wharton-trained staff will evaluate the top submissions, and leadership teams at Shazam and SnapDeal will review the highest scoring projects prepared for their companies. 

Watch this video to learn more about the Wharton Foundation Series on Coursera:

Click below for the other Wharton Foundation Series courses:

An Introduction to Marketing 
An Introduction to Financial Accounting
An Introduction to Corporate Finance

For more information about courses offered online at Wharton, please go to

Frequently Asked Questions

How does this course help me with my own business?
At the end of this course, you will be able to detect bottlenecks, identify productivity wastes, and come up with ideas to improve business processes. (A known side effect of these skills is that you might drive employees, friends, family, or co-workers crazy when you point to their improvement opportunities.) Along with the other courses in Wharton’s Business Foundations Specialization, Introduction to Operations Management will provide you with the tools you need to able to address your own business challenges. You can even choose to do your capstone project on your own business challenge, and get feedback on your plan from your classmates and Wharton-trained staff.

How does this course help me in my job?
Introduction to Operations Management covers not only the key principles of operations management, but also the vocabulary used to describe them. After successfully completing this course, you will be able to identify, explain, and solve inefficient business processes which you can use at your current job, or to get a new one.

How does this course help me if I am thinking about going to business school?
This course was designed to give you a glimpse into what you can learn at business school. While it is based on courses offered at Wharton, it is shorter, and focuses on foundational skills that are a requirement for further study in business. Completing this course and the others in Wharton’s Business Foundations specialization will give you a solid grounding for pursuing further studies in graduate business education. 

Once I complete this course, how can I learn more?
This course is part of Wharton’s Business Foundations Specialization, where you can learn the foundational skills and language of business necessary to address business challenges and then apply them to a real-world challenge by creating a strategic plan. For more information on the specialization, please go to (link to Specialization page). For more online learning opportunities from Wharton, please go to

Recommended Background

No prerequisites, although high school level math will be useful.