Computer Based Decision Modeling

Jay Rajasekera
International University of Japan

Business often involves dealing with data and realities. Both are then used strategically to make business decisions. This course is about how to formulate the business problems involving data, taking into consideration the realities, and how to solve such business problems using latest computer tools. The course introduces data handling and modeling techniques for finance, marketing, resource allocation, operational, and various other managerial problems including some involving uncertainty in numbers. The course will make full use of computer tools (Excel, CrystalBall and Macros) that integrates the knowledge and implementation skills to solve such managerial problems.

This is a core course required to be taken by all MBA first year students. If the space permits E-Business Management and International Relations Master Program students are allowed to take.

Course oveview:

The course is targeted to students looking for careers as consultants, general managers, financial analysts, government analysts, strategic planners, and operational managers.

The course is basically covered as two sections. In the first section, after a review of modeling and decision analysis, the computer techniques used for manipulating data for decision making purposes are introduced using tools available in Excel. In second section, the major aim is to learn various mathematical modeling techniques involving management decision making where a practitioner use the models to achieve best results under the assumed circumstances.

The companies and organizations traditionally had relied on real assets such as factories, sales outlets, branch offices, workers, and the cash flows as the main components of their business. The emergence of computers has added a new asset to this traditional business model. While computers and other networking hardware have become part of the real assets, an intangible asset, which is the data and information, has created a very challenging environment for the executive hierarchy to manage. Today, with the spread of globalization, managing IT assets, creating value, and controlling risks while inventing IT strategies and policies are as challenging as the very survival for many companies, organizations, and governments.

Prerequisite:

It is assumed that students who take this course have familiarity with Windows environment on a PC and have basic mathematical and Excel skills.

The main areas of the course include:

  • Key Excel Functions and Tools used in real business
  • Handling and summarizing large business/financial/demographic data
  • Macros and Programming Excel for business application
  • Modeling using mathematical programming techniques
  • Analyzing problems using sensitivity analysis
  • Modeling Resource Allocation, Financial, Utility, Risk Analysis Problems
  • Handling risk (using Crystal Ball add-in)
  • Constructing Pay-off Matrices and Decision Analysis

Teaching Method:

The classes include lecture and lab sessions. Students are required to use the PC for data manipulation, modeling, and solving managerial problems.

Texts:

The main material used for the class include:

  • "Computer Tools for Today’s Business Professionals," Authors: Jay Rajasekera and Naoya Takezawa, (Students will get a copy of the manual, 2014, October Edition )
  • "Spreadsheet Modeling and Decision Analysis", Author: Cliff Ragsdale, Publisher: South-Western College Pub; 5e edition (ISBN : 0324312563), 2007.

Unsolicited comments form past students who had taken this course:

  • "This mail is to thank you for your class ! The first thing i am using in my assignment on exchange is the solver ! This is for a project management class and an optimisation problem for project selection process under constraints. Without your class, I would not have felt comfortable facing this assignment ! Thanks a lot .. makotoni arigatou gozaimashita"!"-- 2006 MBA graduate student working for a top financial company in Tokyo.
  • "As i have mentioned to you several times, I am really greatfull for teaching us pivot table!!! It overtook my mindset and I can not make any analysis now with it.

    We have shifted our production planning now from manual excel to pivot.All these reports and information was done manually before with mistakes and extra time.Now things are more accurate in less time. Thanks again to your course and many thanks to Mr. Gates." -- e-mail message received on Feb, 15, 2011 from an MBA graduate who is running his family business.
  • " Honestly I did not know how to set print area in Excel when I came to IUJ. I was copying and pasting to Word to get the look I want. This may sound funny!. Now, I am able to design applications in Excel for (company name removed due to confidentiality) !! I should Credit your course on Excel. I sincerely thank you for that. "-- 2006 MBA graduate student working for a top financial company in Tokyo.

  • " Professor, I am graduating (MBA) and leaving tomorrow....I am taking with me only one book....which is your Excel Book ("Computer Tools for Today’s Business Professionals")!" -- 2008 MBA graduate!
  • " As I am finishing my 2nd year at BCG (Boston Consulting Group) I was just thinking how valuable that class has been for me. At our (Office location in Europe is removed due to confidentiality) office I am probably in the Top 5 of the best skilled XLS operators. So thanks again. I am also doing 50% of the XLS trainings for new consultants and getting them up to speed in a very short period of time." -- 2008 Exchange Student from Europe!
  • If you want to contact Professor Rajasekera, his e-mail address is: jrr@iuj.ac.jp

    To sign-up for the course, send e-mail to: ofcgsim@iuj.ac.jp


    Updated on 4/11/2015
Copyright © Jay Rajasekera. All rights reserved.