This is a course about using spreadsheets to model businesses and business processes, from the perspective of a manager. It emphasizes both the modeling techniques, and the process of modeling itself. That is, we're not only interested in building models that managers need, but we want to build them in ways that are easily managed, and that give reliable and cost-effective results. In the form of a stand-alone Web site, it has dozens of examples. This product is available at our Web site. It includes three months of access and unlimited email support.
This course was delivered to students in classes at Harvard Extension School, for 21 years, from 1993 to 2014. Although it is no longer offered there, I continue to update it with new techniques and new ways to approach business modeling using spreadsheets. Development is continuous. This online edition therefore has benefits compared to the downloadable edition, because we add improvements and make corrections continuously.
It includes dozens of worked examples and homework problems, with solutions. Not just descriptions of solutions (though we include that, too) — actual Excel workbooks. Moreover, the solutions are far more than just answers. They come complete with narrative explanations which discuss alternatives and tradeoffs of different approaches. And when more than one approach is possible and instructive, the solution includes both.
Here's a sampling of topics:
- Accumulations and derivations: running sums, running differences
- Relative and absolute references: what the heck are they good for?
- Operations on references: unions, intersections, and compound ranges
- Named parameters, parameter blocks: save time and reduce maintenance costs
- Drilling down and rolling up: tools for doing either one effectively
- Array formulas: manipulate whole ranges, not single cells
- Matrix multiplication: do in one row what others do in twenty
- Safety margins and crowding: save money by managing your resources
- Circular reference headaches: how to resolve them
- Convolution: simplify calculations involving time variation
- Use convolution for multiple lease events
- Terminology, styles, tips for effective charts
- Using charts to catch errors in models
- Key practices for organizations that use spreadsheet technology on an enterprise scale
- Formal technical reviews of spreadsheets: reduce errors and educate your team
- Writing macros using Visual Basic for Applications
- Inventory modeling: Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)
- Purchasing decisions in the context of volume discounting
- Modeling waiting lines
- The Fast Food Drive-Thru: How long should the driveway be?
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Last modified: 21 Feb 2015 18:39 Eastern Time