General DSO Undergraduate Electives

Elective Course Descriptions

Undergraduate Elective

DSO 401 – Data Analysis with Spreadsheets (2 units, Fall and Spring)
This course is designed to provide students with an applied understanding of how “spreadsheet applications” are used to analyze business information. This course provides an opportunity for students to master the use and design of ”Microsoft Excel” for business information analysis in the areas of Finance, Information Systems, Marketing and Operations. This course will also enhance students’ understanding of the core business disciplines by providing them with the skills and experience to develop, test and analyze business cases, to increase the effectiveness in the corporate decision making processes. This course is a hands-on course and it is a must have course for internships and jobs.

DSO 424 – Business Forecasting (4 units,  Fall and Spring)
Forecasting in today’s business world is becoming increasingly important as firms focus on increasing customer satisfaction while reducing the cost of providing products and services. Business decisions almost always depend on forecasts about the course of events. Virtually every area of business makes use of some type of forecast. In business forecasting, time series models are used to analyze data that are collected sequentially over time. A primary goal of these models is to exploit the correlation structure of the observations in order to predict future values. This course is intended for students working in the field of economics, business, marketing, production, operations research, international trade, accounting, etc., who want a non-technical introduction to applied time series econometrics and forecasting.

DSO 427 – Spreadsheet Modeling for Business Insights (4 units, Spring)
Using MS Excel, we will learn to design spreadsheet models to solve managerial challenges across many industries and functions. The course features structured frameworks to address uncertainty (Monte Carlo simulation), risk analysis (decision trees), resource allocation (optimization), and financial modeling. In addition to spreadsheet modeling, students will learn industry expectations for quantitate analysis and practice the communication skills necessary to drive organizational change.

DSO 428 – Essentials and Digital Frontiers of Big Data (4 units, Spring)
Essentials and Digital Frontiers of Big Data – This course will help students WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE ON DATA AND TECHNOLOGIES understand essentials and frontier of big data. It will cover core knowledge and skills, prepare students for data related jobs in industry. The course will offer an overview of key concepts in big data and provide hands-on experience at introductory level so you know how to work with big data in a firm. The course has three key components: Big Data Management (basics of SQL/HiveQL, Data Mart, Hadoop/MapReduce), Big Data Analytics (introduction of data mining, A/B testing, data tracking and visualization). Big Data Landscape (career preparation and startup opportunities).

DSO 431 – Digital Innovation as Competitive Advantage (4 units, Irregular)
This course, using company cases and lab experiences will help students WITH NO PRIOR TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE to help companies strategically use new technologies for their competitive advantage. Technologies  covered Web 2.0 (like mashups), Open innovation (like crowdsourcing), Fast internal and external website creation for knowledge sharing, big data and Business Intelligence Dashboards, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (like SAP), different forms of could computing (like Bitcoin), Customer Relationship Management Systems (like and corporate use of social networking (like Facebook for business).

DSO 433 – Designing Digital Processes and User Experiences  (4 units, Irregular)
Gain skill to be a business or systems analyst as a career or part of management consulting by learning how to analyze business processes to identify improvement opportunities, develop use cases for information systems design support improved business processes, develop business cases for convincing managers of the need for process change, become a liaison between business and technology, vendors and developers, and manage the change process to meet user and business need (NO PREREQS).

DSO 435 – Enterprise Data Architecture (4 units, Fall)
Data architecture approaches  have become the foundation of most business information systems. Efforts to support Data Analytics (DA) and Business intelligence (BI), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), increased reliance on ERP packages (e.g., SAP Peoplesoft, Baan, etc.), exposing business data to customers through web-based customer interfaces, compliance with Sarbanes—Oxley/HIPPA/FERPA, recognition of the importance of “Big Data” synchronizing/integrating legacy data with Cloud-based applications, etc., continue to accelerate the need to move toward more comprehensive data integration enterprise-wide management of data architecture. This course is motivated by a recognition of the importance of enterprise data architectures for understanding, designing and building effective information systems for today’s business organizations.

DSO 443 – Business Model Innovations in the Media Industries (4 units, Irregular)
This course is designed for undergrads interested in a business career in this new emerging digital media and entertainment industry. Interactive Digital Media includes the traditional entertainment and media industries as well as new players from the online world, mobile and landline telecom service providers. The course will explore how new players are developing innovative business models to challenge the traditional media industries. We will focus on how the entertainment and media industries operate, and how IT, the Internet, and mobile technologies are changing the economics and management of entertainment and media industries. This course will employ lectures, case studies, guest speakers from entertainment and new media companies, such as Electronic Arts, Disney and Warner Brothers and site-visits to “Digital Hollywood” and other entertainment companies.

DSO 455 – Project Management (4 units, Fall)
This course introduces important behavioral skills and analytical tools for managing complex projects across multiple functions. The behavioral skills focus on organizing, planning, and controlling projects and managing teams, risks and resources to produce a desired outcome. The course also covers analytical tools to perform quantitative trade-offs and make the best possible decision, help decision making under uncertainty. The curriculum overs the major phases in project management including scheduling, resource management, monitoring and control, and termination with best practices. In addition to guest speakers, lectures, games and case discussions; tutorials, on Excel, simulation software called Crystal Ball for project risk management, and Microsoft Project are integrated in every module of the class.

DSO 458 - Essentials of Business Data Analysis Using R (4 units, Spring)
R is one of the most popular open source programming languages for Data and Business Analytics. The course uses a small program oriented approach and strong emphasis will be given to small programs that solve a specific business analytics task. The course will use business cases to introduce practical ways of solving problems and will provide you with the knowledge of R programming for Business. You will learn how to use R to download real-world data, manage information and produce high quality charts.  Prerequisites (1): BUAD 310 or BUAD 312.     

DSO 459 - Business Analytics with Python (4 units, Spring and Fall) 
This course introduces the Python as a tool for solving business problems and making data-driven decisions. We develop computational thinking principles through important programming concepts such as variables, data structures, conditional statements, loops, functions, and object- oriented programming. We also utilize the Pandas module to analyze and visualize data. Through labs and a team project, students gain exposure to real-world data in a wide variety of business domains, including retail, service, transportation, education, and the public sector.

DSO 462 - Managing a Small Business on the Internet (2 units, Fall and Spring)

Understanding the current and future uses of the internet for business is essential and empowering for any student. This introductory course summarizes the foundational knowledge and hands-on skills that any student needs to know about effective use of the internet for managing a small business, enabling global business visibility, improving business growth and accelerating global visibility and opportunities. Students apply the internet skills they learn in class in hands on projects that uses commercial tools to design and develop innovative websites for internet-based small businesses. This course is open to all USC undergraduate students from all schools and all majors, and there are no prerequisites.

DSO 464 - Deep Learning for AI and Business Applications (4 units, Spring)

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools play an increasingly important role in modern business and big data applications including new AI-based startups. In particular, deep learning has become the driving force of AI in recent years. This undergraduate elective course, which was created and offered initially in Spring 2018, provides an introduction to deep learning with a focus on business applications. It will help students learn the basics of deep learning technologies as well as some state-of-the-art developments that are reshaping and driving the business and industry. The course will benefit greatly students with strong interests in a future career or graduate program in Business Analytics or Data Science.

 DSO 482 – Supply Chain Management (4 units, Spring)

This course focuses on management and improvement of supply chain processes and performance.  It will be valuable for students who would like to pursue a career in consulting or take a position in operations, marketing or finance functions in a manufacturing or distribution firm. We explore important supply chain metrics, primary tradeoffs in making supply chain decisions, and basic tools for effective and efficient supply chain management, production planning and inventory control, order fulfillment and supply chain coordination. We will also investigate topics such as global supply chain design, logistics, and outsourcing, several other recent supply chain innovations. The content covers both quantitative and qualitative materials. Cases will feature high-tech companies as well as firms in more traditional industries such as apparel and manufacturing.

DSO 483 – Operations Consulting (4 units, Irregular)

This course covers concepts, frameworks, analytical and managerial skills for leading and adding value in management consulting projects with a focus on operations. We will concentrate on operational issues and decisions including developing competitive advantage through operations, strategic planning, collaborative supply chain planning, and six-sigma. The class format includes hands on student consulting projects with a well-known client companies, lectures, case discussions, and guest speakers.

DSO 499 - Statistical Computing and Data Visualization in R and Tableau (4 units, Fall)
In this course, students will learn how to make sense of data numerically and visually. The course starts with statistical computing, and students will gain experience with a programming language called R and Rstudio. In addition, students will learn Tableau and be able to integrate R with Tableau to maximize these tools’ capabilities for business. They will learn the practice of data cleaning, reshaping of data, basic tabulations, and aggregations in order to be able to produce high quality visualizations.

DSO 499 - Optimization: The Science of Making Better Decisions (4 units, Spring)
The course will teach students how to make better business decisions through the use of optimization models. The students will learn about the enormous and impactful applications of optimization across multiple industries, including aviation, hospitality, retails, supply chain, manufacturing, and agricultural industries. This course will teach students the tools and techniques to formulate an optimization model, solve the model, and interpret the resulting solutions. The course will provide students with a unique analytics edge in an increasingly competitive global business environment.

BUAD 315x –Basics of Project and Operations Management for Non-Majors  (2 Units, Fall, Spring)
This course is about “How to get things done better and more efficiently.” Different organizations have different goals – making a movie, deliver books to customers, develop a drug, organize volunteers after a hurricane, etc. In this course, we learn a versatile set of tools and frameworks to make sound decisions. We then apply these tools and frameworks to different scenarios and consider problems in different organizations/industries. More specifically, we cover such topics as Project Management, Resource Allocation and Planning, Managing Uncertainty, Managing Variety, and Managing Global Supply Chains.

BUAD 491 – Honors Seminar (4 units, Spring)
The Honors Thesis is a scholarly piece of work involving an in-depth exploration of an area of interest in the student’s field of study. The unifying thread for all Honors theses or projects is that they contribute to the development of knowledge or practice in new ways, involve significant background research, require sustained attention in the implementation of the project, and result in a piece of written work that documents the student’s learning process and outcomes. Researching and writing the thesis engages the student in a rewarding academic experience, and affords them the personal mentorship of a faculty member, experience conducting sustained scholarly activity, and excellent preparation for graduate work or careers.