Bringing the Real World into the Classroom
associate professor of operations management
“I’m surrounded by interesting people doing interesting things. I can’t imagine that there’s a nicer place to work.”
One of the six professors who team-teach the Kelley MBA Program's Integrated Core, Kyle Cattani has a deep curiosity about how goods are produced. That's why his hobby is visiting factories.
“I love visiting companies, talking with the management team to see how they do their jobs, and figuring out how things work. It’s part of staying abreast of what’s current,” says Cattani, who has toured more than 100 facilities over the years.
The factory visits enrich Cattani’s research in the areas of operations management and supply-chain management and infuse his MBA operations management courses with real-world examples. For instance, during a visit to messenger bag company Timbuk2, Cattani and his colleagues learned that the company was charging for changing a logo color on their custom-designed bags, even though it could actually change the color at no extra cost. They ran their findings through a marketing model and discovered that in this case, the model suggested that profit should come from the price of the bag itself, with options offered to the consumer at cost (in the case of the logo color, for free).
Cattani’s students also frequently bring relevant topics to the table. “One of the reasons you become a professor is because you like to interact with students,” Cattani says. “We have students here with experience in all kinds of disciplines, who are smart and have insights to share. I can learn from them too.”