The modern business world regularly forces managers to make decisions of great importance in complex situations and in the face of much uncertainty that involve many possible options for action. Successful decision-making, therefore, requires the ability to structure complex problems, to analyze available options in an uncertain world, and to finally make the best decision given the information available. This course teaches you frameworks for how to formulate managerial decision models that represent real-world problems in a wide range of business areas including operations, marketing, finance, and strategy. You learn how to analyze and ultimately solve such decision models and to understand the managerial interpretations of your model solution. The skills you learn in this course will greatly enhance your analytical problem solving capabilities.
This course develops and uses Excel spreadsheets as a modeling platform, because spreadsheets have become an essential medium of business analysis. You learn how to apply analytical tools including optimization, simulation, and decision trees to examine managerial decision models using Excel commands, functions, and add-ins. You practice good spreadsheet design and presentation principles, and perform comprehensive sensitivity analyses using your spreadsheet models to check the robustness of the proposed decisions. Business applications include those of resource allocation (how to utilize available resources optimally), risk analysis (how to incorporate uncertainty in problem parameters), and sequential decision-making through time. In case discussions you explore the effectiveness of various spreadsheet model designs in informing managerial decision-making.