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Masters (MSc) in Business Analytics: Operational Research and Risk Analysis

With MSc Business Analytics, you will learn the skills to ensure that processes run smoothly, particularly in the face of challenges and opportunities arising from the global reach of business. You will gain vital knowledge and practical skills to become a professional operations, project or supply chain manager in a globalised environment.

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MSc Business Analytics: Operational Research and Risk Analysis

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Mathematical Programming and Optimisation

Unit code BMAN60101
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course covers the main mathematical programming and optimisation methods, including: linear, non-linear, integer and dynamic programming. The course also provides an introduction to meta-heuristics. Emphasis is placed on solving managerial optimisation problems by using software tools such as Excel Solver.


The main aim of this course is to familiarise students with the theory and applications of mathematical programming and optimisation methods. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the basic mathematical principles and the main technical and computational skills, required for application of various optimization methods in management and business-related areas.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the unit students should be able to understand the main optimization approaches and their applications for solving managerial decision problems. Students should be able to critically analyse and model appropriate decision problems and solve them analytically, or by using the Excel Solver. They will learn to present solutions and arguments in textual and oral forms, both individually and in groups.

Assessment methods

70% Exam (closed book, 2.5 hours)

30% Coursework (group presentations)

Feedback methods

  • Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.
  • Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.
  • Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework
  • Written and/or verbal comments after students have given a group or individual presentation.
  • Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.

Recommended reading

The  CORE text is:

HILLIER, F and LIEBERMAN, G (2004 or any later edition), Introduction to Operations Research with CD-Rom, McGra Hill

TALBI, El-Ghazali (2009), Metaheuristics: from design to implementation (e-book available through the library)

Other readings:

(some of these may be available via the Blackboard site for this unit)                                        

Burke, E. K. and Kendall, G. (2005/6) Search Methodologies Introductory Tutorials in Optimization and Decision Support Techniques, Springer

Garner, S.G and Gass, S, I. (1999) Stigler’s diet problem revisited. OR Chronicle 1- 13

Hastings, N.A.J (1988) Dynamic Programming with Management Applications, The Butterworth Group, England

Johnson, D and McGeogh, L.A. (1995) The Travelling Salesman Problem: A Case Study in Local Optimization in: Local Search in: Combinatorial Optimization, Aarts E and Lenstra J.K (eds.), John Wiley and Sons, London, 1997, 215-310.

Orman A.P and Williams, H.P (2004) A Survey of Different Integer Programming Formulations of the Travelling Salesman Problem. LSE Working Paper: LSEOR 04.67

Suman, B and Kumar, P (2006) A survey of simulated annealing as a tool for single and multiobjective optimization. Journal of the Operational Research Society No. 57, 1143–1160.

Waters, D. (2007) Quantitative Methods for Business. 4th ed. Prentice Hall.

Williams, H. P. (1999) Model building in mathematical programming, Chichester, John Wiley & Sons

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2.5
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 114.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Dong Xu Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Method

Office hours

Peer Assisted Study Sessions

Return to course details

Silviu Tofan, Romania, MSc Business Analytics Class of 2016

"I’ve always felt welcome – the staff here offer endless encouragement and support. I’ve had a really good time in Manchester and I think that the University, together with Alliance MBS, has contributed greatly to my experience. This course was quite demanding, but with enough free time to get to enjoy new friends as well as personal hobbies."

Silviu Tofan, Romania

MSc Business Analytics: Operations, Research and Risk Analysis, Class of 2016


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