Carnegie Mellon University

Behavioral Economics and the Science of Decision-Making

Improve organizational outcomes through behavioral science.

Behavioral Economics and the Science of Decision-Making is designed to help a range of individuals. This program enables executives and senior management to leverage insights to strengthen their brands, engage consumers, and institutionalize an evidence-based approach to organizational decision-making and change management. Those who are in the trenches doing the work of maintaining the productivity and efficiency of an organization benefit from the program by understanding its application for functional improvements.

This program leverages behavioral insights to enhance employee productivity, increase sales, and lead organizational change.

Taught by the world’s leading faculty in behavioral economics, this program will teach you foundational principles and then quickly transition to real-world applications.

During the interactive program, you will collaborate with faculty to strategize how behavioral science can help to address a specific challenge faced by your organization and workshop your findings with the cohort.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the basics and the critical importance of evidence-based decision-making.
  • Learn how to deploy state-of-the-art behavioral science and behavioral economics concepts to improve organizational outcomes.
  • Apply insights to grow the bottom line, engage more customers, promote employee well-being, and more.

Who should attend?

The executive program is most appropriate for people working in strategy, marketing, sales, human resources, or data analytics.


Faculty Insights

Linda Babcock

"We found substantive and overwhelming evidence that women more than men are tasked with non-promotable work. Less addled with these tasks, men have the freedom to concentrate on work that helps them advance, while women's careers are stalled or stymied.

— Linda Babcock, Ph.D., James M. Walton Professor and featured faculty of the Behavioral Economics program

Read more of Linda's expertise and collaboration with fellow female faculty members in the recently published "The No Club"

Program Schedule

Day 1

  • Opening Remarks
  • Principles of Behavioral Science
  • Group Dinner and Networking

Day 2

  • Principles of Behavioral Economics
  • Decision Science of Consumers
  • Decision Science in Organizations
  • The Cutting Edge of Behavioral Economics
  • Networking Event

Day 3

  • Decision Science Hands-On Project
  • Conclude

Featured Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

By the end of the course, you will develop a rich understanding of the basics and the critical importance of evidence-based decision making, learn how to deploy state-of-the-art behavioral science and behavioral economics concepts to improve organizational outcomes, apply insights to grow the bottom line, engage more customers, promote employee well-being, and begin to solve a specific organizational problem that you bring with you.

The executive program is appropriate for a wide range of individuals including executives and senior management responsible for their organization’s corporate strategy, marketing, sales, human resources, or data analytics and those in the trenches doing the work that keeps an organization running. If you have an interest in learning how to apply behavioral economics and behavioral science to furthering your organizational goals, then this program is right for you.

While we can’t share that list, we can tell you that, in previous years, attendees have included individuals from both the for-profit and non-profit sector, spanning a variety of industries, including, education, marketing, energy, finance, and government. They range in their seniority from mid and senior level executives to those tasked with directly implementing organizational objectives. Ultimately, what attendees share is deep interest in applying behavioral science to solve real problems.

The most important pre-work is deciding on your project. This immersive course will culminate with an opportunity for you to apply the behavioral science and behavioral economics principles that you’ve learned to a problem you are facing in your organization. To that end, you will be asked to submit a proposed problem to the two faculty directors (Linda Babcock and Jeff Galak) by Monday, April 11th.  We will send you a template of questions that will help you put together your project description.  The faculty directors will work with you to refine the scope of the problem to align with the content of the course. Problems you can propose to work on can be wide ranging, including things like organizational structure, work culture, consumer behavior, influence of customers/stakeholders, upcoming key decisions, or anything else that you think behavioral science can help with. If you’re stuck on whether an idea is a good one or not for this course, please don’t hesitate to reach out early on to get feedback. We will work with you to ensure that the problem you select is tractable and appropriate.  Participants will present their project to the class on the final day.

There are no formal pre-readings, but we do recommend a few books if you have the time. These books often pull on ideas that we will dig into throughout the course. 

  • "Nudge" by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
  • "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman
  • "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely

Yes, participants who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion. In addition, participants earn 3 TEUs toward the Certificate in Executive Leadership.

Our first session starts at 2 p.m. EST on April 21. Please ensure that you arrive by then. Commute time from Pittsburgh International Airport is about an hour, so please plan accordingly. 

Breakfast is provided on Friday and Saturday. Lunch is provided on Friday. Dinner is provided on Friday. All other meals are at the individual’s own expense.

CMU’s COVID policy for visitors can be found on the website. If you have any questions, please contact ExecDir@andrew.cmu.edu.

Carnegie Mellon welcomes all individuals to participate in and attend Executive Education programs and events, on campus and/or online, as outlined in the university’s Statement of Assurance.

Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to accommodate requests for support for guests, visitors, and alumni with disabilities. To discuss your individual or group accommodation requests, please contact Carnegie Mellon's Office of Disability Resources at least two weeks in advance of your program start date.

Contact Executive Education at Carnegie Mellon

Contact a program director at 412-268-2304 or exec-director@andrew.cmu.edu to learn more.