DAO1704 / DSC1007 Decision Analytics using Spreadsheets

Module: DAO1704 / DSC1007 Decision Analytics using Spreadsheets

Semester taken: AY 2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer: Various

Tutor: Assoc Prof Tan Kok Choon

Textbook: Business Analytics: Data Analysis & Decision Making, 6th ed., Christian Albright & Wayne L. Winston, 2017. Cengage

What it is about

This module provides students with a basic understanding of how data is used to help in decision making. Excel spreadsheets are used and taught extensively throughout this module so as to allow students to have a better appreciation of how data can influence decisions made by management.

The lectures are taught in a flipped classroom format and in-class discussions emphasizes a lot on hands-on practical work using Microsoft Excel. Simple statistics are also taught in this module along with a simple introduction to linear optimisation.

Assessment components

  • Project Report (Group): 10%

  • Project Presentation (Individual): 5%

  • Class Discussion (Individual): 20%

  • Quiz (Individual): 10%

  • Assignment (Group): 15%

  • Final Exam: 40%


This module is essentially an extension of the Business primer module that Business students need to take on Excel skills and statistics. However, most of the Excel skills are retaught in this module to ensure that all students are on the same page. This module is rather fun for students who love to play with data, as often the case studies provides data that arrives at conclusions that may not be intuitive.

In the later half of the module, a simple introduction to optimisation is introduced which I felt was the most enjoyable part of this module. Optimisation, as the name suggests, is a mathematical tool for finding the most optimal way of allocating scarce and limited resources in order to maximise output and profits.

This module is definitely easier for students who prefer math-based modules and dislike the fluff in class participation.


The sections are 3 hours long and no new content is being taught. Instead, the time in class is spent on firstly attempting a short quiz to test your understanding of the online lecture materials, then followed by multiple case studies that the class will work together to attempt. This is the chance for class participation, although I did not actually speak up in class throughout the entire semester.

I was very fortunate to have selected the class with what I felt was the most qualified professor. He is also very interesting to listen to, although to some people he may be a little long-winded. Nonetheless, most of the teaching is done using the online materials, which I felt was sufficient in understanding the content of the module.

Group Project

The group project required us to simulate a case study, make some random data and then present some business solution to the problem(s) identified in a way that is as believable as possible. My group chose to do Tesla, to simulate some of the costs involved in producing a new car and then finding the optimal amount of cars to produce for direct and indirect (third-party) sales. As the only CS student in the group, it was thus easier for me to help crunch the data and then make sense out of it, which was exactly what I did. The business aspect was mainly handled by my other teammates, which did manage to make a very convincing story out of the case study. Finally, a group presentation is required, which is done through recording the person and the slides and uploading it for the tutor.

It is rather crucial to craft your case study correctly, as going off tangent will cost you and your group the whole project. From there, make believe some variables that you can vary, then argue your case from there. Overall, I felt that the project is rather easy once you get past the crafting stage.


The finals was a significant percentage of the overall grade, which is not often the case for business modules. Due to COVID-19, the manner in which the test was conducted changed significantly and we were required to complete the test online. To prevent cheating, the module coordinator required us to complete it as 4 segments, each having approximately 25 minutes to complete. Once you submit a particular segment, you can not go back and edit your answers again.

One thing I felt was particularly dumb about this structure is because there may be some aspects that you tend to spend shorter time working on, which can then be used to work on the other questions that you have difficulty working with. I was penalised heavily for the first segment as it was an optimisation problem and I was spending valuable time trying to craft a suitable spreadsheet, only to find out that the spreadsheet was available on the next page, which I did not realise.

Overall, I felt that the way the test was conducted was not ideal, but the questions that they gave were rather easy and doable. Even though it was open book, most of it were testing on skills, which you should have picked up well during the module. The given textbook is also a good source of possible questions that may come up during the test, and answers for those questions are also provided by the tutors, although there may be some instances of incorrect answers.

Other information

Assignment workload: There were no assignments. However, there are regular quizzes to test your understanding of the lecture materials

Project workload: There is one project to be completed for half of the semester

Readings: None

Recommended if: A compulsory module for Business students. I would not recommend if you are interested in Business Analytics itself, as there are definitely better and more rigorous modules out there.

Rating: 4.0/5. Simple module and well structured, although I felt that more content should have been covered

Expected grade: B+

Actual grade: A (completely unexpected, it might be because of finals that pulled me up)

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