Data Models and Decisions

Terms: Fall 2014, Summer 2015 (II), Fall 2015, Spring 2016 (C), Fall 2016, Spring 2017 (C), Fall 2017

The process of making good decisions is critical for business analysts and managers because they regularly encounter new problems in an environment characterized by risk and uncertainty. A good decision is not the same as a good outcome, which can sometimes be a matter of luck. Conversely, a bad outcome is not necessarily proof of a bad decision. We will explore basic analytical principles that can guide complex decision-making. A good decision uses sound reasoning and considers all of the relevant information that is available at the time the decision is to be made. In order to arrive at a good decision, a manager must be able to:

  • Transform a seemingly complex decision problem into an underlying analytical structure
  • Understand the role of uncertainty and risk in the decision-making process
  • Analyze available data to understand relationships among variables and create predictions
  • Understand the trade-offs involved in a decision
  • Use available computing technology (e.g., spreadsheets) to arrive at optimal solutions

The objective of this course is to equip you with these skills.