World’s Best B-School Professors: Michael Trick
Tepper School of Business
Claim to Fame: Computational Methods and Optimization
Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD
University of Waterloo, BMath
Fun Fact: A company I run, the Sports Scheduling Group, provides the playing schedules for Major League Baseball and many college athletic conferences.
If you weren’t teaching, what would be your dream job? While teaching is my dream job, I suppose running a Caribbean inn would come close.
What’s the best part of the job? The opportunity to learn new things and see fields like business analytics grow and prosper.
What’s the worst part? The worst is seeing through grading that I did a poor job of explaining something.
When Michael Trick was doing his postdoc work at the University of Minnesota in 1988, one school that invited him to come in for an interview was Carnegie Mellon’s business school. He was an engineer by training and by interest, unsure whether his professional home should really be a business school. Nonetheless, Trick decided to make Carnegie Mellon his first job interview, largely as practice for what he expected would be an eventual post at a school of engineering.
“Here is a sign of how little those of us in engineering knew about business schools,” he recalls in a blog post. “The previous year, a fellow doctoral student went out on the market and interviewed at a number of places before finding a job at a business school. At the time, we were all a bit surprised since he had a good dissertation and we (other doctoral students) thought that it was good enough to get a top engineering job. Too bad he was stuck in a business school, we said: must be a tough job market. That school was the University of Chicago, then and now a preeminent business school that much of the field would kill to get a job at. Business schools were really not on our radar.”
Much to Trick’s surprise, he very much enjoyed his visit and took up Carnegie Mellon on its offer–and has never really looked back. He brought his engineer training and way of thinking to become an undisputed leader in the field of operations research and in particular the computational methods in optimization. Trick’s amusing posts on “Michael Trick’s Operations Research Blog” is a humorous look at various happenings in the world of operations research; everything from the importance of accurate data to optimizing one’s chance of finding love.
MBA students will likely encounter Trick in two key courses: “Statistics” as well as “Applications of Operations Research and Data.”
Trick is the author of forty professional publications and he has served as a consultant for the United States Postal Service on supply chain design. Also related to his expertise in operations and computational methods, Professor Trick has worked extensively with Major League Baseball and college basketball conferences on scheduling issues and with companies such as Motorola and Sony on machine scheduling. At the Tepper school, Professor Trick serves as the Senior Associate Dean of Education.
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