DECISION 613 - Strategic Modeling

Course Purpose and Objective

Uncertainty and complexity make many decisions difficult.  Furthermore, real decision situations often involve strategic interactions with multiple players, multiple and potentially conflicting objectives, and interactions of forces that drive long term changes in business environments.  In order to make good strategic decisions, one needs to have a deep understanding of these complexities.  This course covers analytical approaches and modeling tools that address high level strategic decision making problems.  For example, how should I evaluate a long term investment project with potential opportunities to expand/scale down the business in the future?  How would you balance numerous considerations when you consolidate manufacturing facilities?  Can we negotiate a deal when different parties hold private information about the uncertainties?  How should I grasp the general trend in the business environment to decide whether to expand, or downsize my business?  How do I form a strategy that is “sustainable” given constraints in my financial, human capital, and natural resources?  In the first half of the course, we will develop Excel based models related to real options analysis, multi-objective analysis, and negotiation analysis.  In the second half of the course, we will focus on a new modeling paradigm, System Dynamics, and associated tools and applications.

This course is intended to be a general management course of interest to all MBA students regardless of functional area.  The course is quantitative in nature, but not for “quant jocks” only.  While the specific tools and methods that we discuss are useful in sharpening your problem solving skills, the structured and logical way of thinking suggested by the tools can be used every day, even when you do not use the tools explicitly.

The modeling tools require no more than a mathematical background in algebra, and some very basic concepts of probability.  All Fuqua students already have the necessary math skills for this course, and the insights developed throughout the course should benefit everyone in a management role.