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Rice Debuts New Course Offering

Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business is offering a new Integrated Course Offering or ICO that has been developed to teach students strategic decision-making and critical thinking.

While these terms might seem like broad descriptions of the types of skills one develops at a university no matter what, Rice has very specific definitions. “Strategic decision making is the process where people, instead of getting bogged down with the problem-solving aspects of a decision, actually pay attention to the strategic process,” explained Vikas Mittal, J. Hugh Liedtke, Professor of Marketing and head of the Energy Initiative at the Jones School. “They ask questions about engaging the right people, developing the right relationships, keeping personal bias out of the decision process, and managing cognitive and emotional conflict. Critical thinking is the art of being able to evaluate an issue non-judgmentally — thinking about an issue from all perspectives, evaluating different alternatives without getting wedded to any particular alternative.”

In order to effectively teach these skills, Mittal developed ICO. The course offering is taught by four professors from a variety of research backgrounds: Vikas Mittal, decision making and psychology; Brent Smith, psychology and social psychology; Alex Butler, finance and econometrics; and Amit Pazgal, game theory and operations management.

The course will launch during the summer and fall session of 2015 and will be offered on a competitive basis. More information about the course can be found on Rice’s news website.

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