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Management science, or MS, is the discipline of using mathematics, and other analytical methods, to help make better business decisions. While often considered synonymous with Operations Research (OR), MS is differentiated by being generally thought to have a more practical, rather than academic, bent.
Some of the fields that are englobed within Management Science include: decision analysis, optimization, simulation, forecasting, game theory, network/transportation models, mathematical modeling, data mining, probability and statistics, Morphological analysis, resources allocation, project management as well as many others.
The management scientist's mandate is to use rational, systematic, science-based techniques to inform and improve decisions of all kinds. Of course, the techniques of management science are not restricted to business applications but may be applied to military, medical, public administration, charitable groups, political groups or community groups.
MS is also concerned with so-called ”soft-operational analysis”, which concerns methods for strategic planning, strategic decision support, and Problem Structuring Methods (PSM). At this level of abstraction, mathematical modelling and simulation will not suffice. Therefore, during the past 30 years, a number of non-quantified modelling methods have been developed. These include Morphological Analysis and various forms of Influence Diagrams.
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