How can you put data to work for you? Specifically, how can numbers in a spreadsheet tell us about present and past business activities, and how can we use them to forecast the future? The answer is in building quantitative models, and this course is designed to help you understand the fundamentals of this critical, foundational, business skill. Through a series of short lectures, demonstrations, and assignments, you’ll learn the key ideas and process of quantitative modeling so that you can begin to create your own models for your own business or enterprise. By the end of this course, you will have seen a variety of practical commonly used quantitative models as well as the building blocks that will allow you to start structuring your own models. These building blocks will be put to use in the other courses in this Specialization.

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Module 2: Linear Models and Optimization

This module introduces linear models, the building block for almost all modeling. Through close examination of the common uses together with examples of linear models, you’ll learn how to apply linear models, including cost functions and production functions to your business. The module also includes a presentation of growth and decay processes in discrete time, growth and decay in continuous time, together with their associated present and future value calculations. Classical optimization techniques are discussed. By the end of this module, you’ll be able to identify and understand the key structure of linear models, and suggest when and how to use them to improve outcomes for your business. You’ll also be able to perform present value calculations that are foundational to valuation metrics. In addition, you will understand how you can leverage models for your business, through the use of optimization to really fine tune and optimize your business functions.