Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems

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This program introduces participants to MIT's unique, powerful, and integrative system dynamics approach to assess problems that will not go away and to produce the results they want. Through exercises and simulation models participants experience the long-term side effects and impacts of decisions and understand the ways in which performance is tied to structures and policies.

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Understanding and Solving Complex Business Problems
Certificate Track: Management and Leadership
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Tuition: $3,900 (excluding accommodations)
Program Days (for ACE Credit) 2

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This program will introduce participants to "systems thinking" as a response to the rapid changes in technology, population, and economic activity that are transforming the world, and as a way to deal with the ever-increasing complexity of today's business. Systems thinking was devised to improve people's ability to manage organizations comprehensively in a volatile global environment. It offers managers a framework for understanding complex situations and the dynamics those situations produce.


Senior managers can use the system dynamics method to design policies that lead their organizations to high performance. The program is intended to give participants the tools and confidence to manage organizations with full understanding and solid strategy.


Participants will experience the Beer Game, a table game, developed by Jay Forrester. Played with pen, paper, printed plastic tablecloths, and poker chips, it simulates the supply chain of the beer industry. In so doing, it illuminates aspects of system dynamics, a signature mode of MIT thought: it illustrates the nonlinear complexities of supply chains and the way individuals are circumscribed by the systems in which they act.

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John Sterman: System Dynamics

In this video, Professor John Sterman talks about systems dynamics—a technique invented by MIT Sloan's Jay Forrester—to better understand dynamic problems arising in complex systems.

Participant Testimonials

"The experience and learning I gained from this course opened up a wider horizon of applications for my company and clients with these powerful new tools. Great course!" —Carlos M.

"Excellent program! Well-structured exercises, great work groups dynamics and provoking takeaways. This program definitely makes you rethink how to approach complex business problems, using in a very assertive and scientific method." —Thiago A.