I have three major goals when I teach this class.
In order of importance they are:

1. To provide practice in the art of thinking abstractly and concretely about the same problem at the same time. Shadow prices, allowable increases & decreases, and supplementary variables can be dauntingly abstract, but proactively managing an enterprise in a world where prices, costs, and resources are subject to sudden change is everyday reality.
The best way to develop this kind of thinking in yourself, and the only way I can guide the process, is through writing, which is why this course is a part of the "Critical Thinking Through Writing" University-wide initiative.  I emphasize short memos because in a long report it's too tempting to compartmentalize the abstract from the concrete.

2. To build up your skill and proficiency with Excel. More important than any particular skill is the skill of rapidly and efficiently learning to do new things using new functions, tools, and techniques. This is the skill which will be the greatest help to you in benefiting from whatever comes next to replace Excel!

3. To teach you about a broad subsample of the myriad practical applications of linear, integer, and nonlinear programming.

The first objective will apply directly to the careers of every one of you.
The second objective supports the first, and will also apply directly to the careers of nearly all of you.
The third objective supports the first two, and will apply directly to the careers of a minority of you.