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MGS3100 Business Analysis

Fall 2009 Course Syllabus

Instructor: Julie Liggett De Jong

Class Time & Location: 7:30 - 8:45am M/W Î ALC224 (08/17-12/11)
Office Hours: By appointment
Phone Number: 678.321.6526 (8:00 – 5:00 pm)
Course Website: (schedule is updated)

Required Text
Selected Chapters on Business Analysis, Second Edition, $44.00. If you buy a used textbook,
make sure you get the CD that comes with it since you will be required to use Treeplan, one of
the programs on the CD, for one of your projects.

You should have satisfied the following requirements before taking this course:
ƒ Course: Completion of DSc3100, Mat1070, or equivalent.
ƒ Computer Skills: CSP 1-Basic micro computing skills; CSP 2-Basic micro computing
spreadsheet skills; and CSP 6-Basic word processing skills. If you need to strengthen your
CSP skills, you can do so through Georgia State's eTraining site:

We use Excel extensively in this class, and you must have access to Excel to complete the
homework assignments and projects. I use Excel in most of my lectures to demonstrate business
modeling concepts and techniques, and you will need to use Excel to complete many of the
homework assignments and all of the projects. I review many Excel tips and techniques during
the semester, but this course is not designed to teach Excel. If you don’t have a working
knowledge of Excel, you will fall behind and have difficulty with the projects and homework
assignments. If you do not have a working knowledge of Excel, you should consider
dropping the class now and take it only after you have acquired some basic Excel skills.

Course Description & Objectives

MGS3100 provides a frame of reference for using models in support of decision making in an
enterprise, and introduces some commonly used modeling approaches and principles. Course
topics include model components, simulation, time series and causal forecasting, decision
analysis, and quality management. The course uses Excel to provide hands-on application of
these techniques. Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

1. Define basic modeling terms, including physical model, analog model, symbolic model,
deterministic model, probabilistic model, decision variable, random variable, parameter,
performance measure, objective function, revenue, fixed cost, variable cost, overhead cost,
sunk cost, demand, price.
2. Explain an overview of the modeling process, including types of models, data collection,
analysis, and interpretation.
3. Analyze a business situation to identify revenues, costs, and other parameters relevant to the
modeling process.
4. Draw an influence diagram to map the relationships between different variables of interest.
5. Build a basic profit model manually and by using a spreadsheet.
6. Perform break-even analysis algebraically and graphically, both manually and using a
7. Perform crossover analysis algebraically and graphically, both manually and using a
8. Interpret the results of breakeven and crossover analyses.
9. Compare and contrast simulation with other types of modeling.
10. Determine when simulation is an appropriate technique to use.
11. Use a spreadsheet function to generate random numbers for use in simulation.
12. Graph and interpret simulation results.
13. Use Excel and Solver to find the “best” solution to a simple problem.
14. Define two types of forecasting: Quantitative (causal and time series) and Qualitative.
15. Forecast using simple moving averages, weighted moving averages, simple exponential
smoothing, seasonal indices, and regression methods (using a spreadsheet).
16. Be able to compute and interpret MAD (Mean Absolute Deviation), MAPE (Mean Absolute
Percentage Error), Standard Error, and R-Squared (R2).
17. Compare and contrast different forecasting methods.
18. Interpret the results of different forecasting methods.
19. Understand the basic concepts of Quality Management.
20. Understand the difference between common cause (natural) variation and special cause
(assignable) variation
21. Understand how control charts can be used to help manage by exception
22. Create control charts for attribute and variable measures
23. Understand the “dollar value of information.”
24. Define the terms: Decision Alternative, States of Nature, Payoff.
25. Compute payoff matrix for a given business scenario.
26. Define the criteria for choosing the best decision.
27. Compute Expected Value (EV), EV of Perfect Information (EVPI), and EV of Sample
Information (EVSI).
28. Construct and solve a decision tree by assigning payoffs to branches, pruning of branches at
decision nodes, and assigning probabilities and calculating expected values at chance nodes.
29. Use Bayes’ Theorem to combine sample data with prior probabilities and incorporate these
“posterior” probabilities into a decision tree analysis.

There are three (3) tests and a cumulative departmental final exam. The tests consist of multiple
choice, short problems, and short discussion questions and are based on assigned readings and
classroom presentations and discussions. Partial credit will be given for short problem and short
discussion questions. To ensure you receive the maximum amount of points on a test, be sure to
show your work for the short problem questions. Course policies regarding tests are shown

• No-one can leave the classroom after the test has been distributed. If you leave the
classroom for any reason, I will collect your test and you will not be permitted to resume
working on it when you return.
• Personal items such as purses, backpacks, books, etc. are not allowed on the desktop or
chairs and must be placed on the floor during the test.
• Computers, cell phones, PDAs, and other electronic gadgets are not permitted during tests
and should remain in your backpack, book bag or purse. A simple (no memory) calculator is
permitted, as necessary.
• Cell phones and pagers must be turned OFF (do not set to vibrate) and must remain in your
purse or book bag for the duration of the test.
• If possible, spread out during the tests so there is at least one empty chair between you and
the next student. Keep your eyes on your test. If I notice your eyes shifting around during
the test, I will ask you to move to another location.
• You can use one page of notes (front and back) and 2 sheets of scratch paper during the
tests. You must turn in your notes and scratch paper with your test.

Test dates are shown on the course syllabus and posted on the course website. If you have an
extenuating circumstance or conflict with any scheduled test, you must discuss the conflict with
me as soon as possible but no later than two weeks prior to the test date. I do not give make-up
tests except for extenuating circumstances, so check the course schedule now and plan

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You will complete three projects during the semester. You are allowed and encouraged to work
with a partner on two of the projects, and you will work alone on one of the projects. If your
partner drops the class or does not help with the project, you are still responsible for completing
the project in its entirety– so choose your partner wisely and be sure to complete the partner
assessment form (posted to the website) when you complete the project.

Printed versions of projects must be legible and neat. Any document you submit should use at
least 10 point font. If you can not get an entire worksheet printed on one page, don’t make it
smaller to the point of being illegible to force it to one page (this is useless to me). Instead, print
the worksheet to multiple pages, properly formatted with column and row headings. Do not use
more than 2 colors in your worksheets and if you use color only use pastel colors. Please do not
include report covers. I will deduct points for printouts that are hard to read or that do not have
row or column headings.

The projects are due at the start of class on the dates they are due. We will review the project
solutions in class, and I don’t accept late projects. See the course website for detailed
project guidelines. Firm project due dates are included on the course syllabus and posted on
the course website.

You are obligated to participate fully in each project. With email, instant messaging, cell
phones and the internet, there is no reason why partners cannot work together on
projects. You will evaluate your partner’s performance for each project on the following

1. Provided meaningful input in a timely fashion.

2. Provided meaningful input to the project deliverables.
3. Accomplished project tasks as agreed upon during project discussions.
4. Showed up for team meetings.
5. Showed up for team meetings prepared to work.
6. Participated fully in team meetings (wasn’t on the phone or the internet for unrelated
reasons, didn’t leave early or arrive late)
7. Was a team player (tried to accommodate potential constraints and was cooperative)
8. Made an honest effort to contribute to the project.

I will field questions about assignments until NOON the day before an assignment is due. If you
have a problem with any assignment, you can send me an email with a detailed explanation of
your question / problem. Be sure you have first consulted your textbook and your notes before
you email me because I will not respond to your questions if it appears you have not looked for
the answer in the textbook or the classroom notes. I post hints on the website for each project,
and you should use these hints to validate the correctness of your models. If your model does
not calculate these values, then there is a problem with the model and you should review it
carefully to find the problem and fix it. Do not ask me to tell you what the problem is.

There is a direct correlation between your success in this class and your committed participation
in class activities. To encourage your commitment to class activities, I allocate 9% of your grade
to participation and award participation points for attendance, homework assignments and

I take attendance at the start of every class. If you leave early or arrive for class after I have
taken attendance, you may be considered absent.

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My attendance policy makes allowances for excused absences and up to three notified absences:

• Excused absences: If you are ill, you must bring me a doctor's excuse if you want the
absence to be excused.
• Notified absences: You are allowed up to 3 "notified" absences without penalty. If you are
unable to attend class or if you must leave class early, you must notify me at least 30 minutes
prior to class. Notifying me regarding an absence after class is not a notified absence.

Even if you have an excused or notified absence, you are still responsible for assigned
homework, project work or for any lecture material covered during the class you missed.

Homework is designed to enforce the concepts taught in class and will be assigned throughout
the semester. We will review the homework at the start of class on the day it is due, so you
should bring two copies of it to class - one copy to submit at the start of class and the other copy
to review in class. I do not grade homework assignments but assign participation points based
on the effort you demonstrate to complete it. In addition to the homework shown on the website, I
may post additional homework assignments to help prepare you for upcoming tests. These
homework assignments will include questions similar to ones you might encounter on a test and
are used to help you assess your readiness for a test.

The course website details each homework assignment and shows their tentative due dates.
These dates are provided as a guideline and may be subject to change. I will announce in class
the firm due dates for homework assignments and adjust the website as necessary. I do not
accept emailed homework, unless you submit it early in anticipation of a notified or excused
absence. I do not accept homework for unexcused absences nor do I accept late homework

I may conduct short quizzes at the start of class over assigned reading material or information
covered in the previous class period. If you are absent or late, you will not receive any credit for
these quizzes.

• Email: I email announcements and other information to your Georgia State University
email address. To stay informed about critical course updates and notifications, check your
GSU email regularly. I won’t initiate email to alternate email address nor will I contact you if an
email gets rejected because your mailbox is full, so check your email often and keep your
inbox clean. You can send me email from any email account you wish, but make sure your
name is clearly identified on the email.
• Course Website: I post all lecture notes, project write-ups, homework assignments and other
course materials to the course website. You are responsible for downloading these materials
and for keeping track of assignment due dates.

Academic Honesty/Honor Code

I expect your behavior to be consistent with College and University policies on academic honesty
and treatment of members of the University community. Cheating, plagiarizing, submitting the
same material for credit in more than one class, and other deceptive conduct with respect to
student work output will be dealt with according to the University Policy on Academic Honesty.
Academic misconduct will be handled in accordance with College and University procedures.
Examples of academic misconduct are:

1. Cheating on Examinations: Cheating on examinations involves giving or receiving

unauthorized help before, during or after an examination. This may include the use of notes,
text, or "crib sheets" during an examination (unless approved by the instructor), or sharing

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information with another student during an examination. Other examples include intentionally
allowing another student to view one’s own examination and collaboration before or after an
exam if such is forbidden by the instructor.
2. Plagiarism: Presenting another person’s work as one’s own. It includes paraphrasing or
summarizing the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submittal of
another student’s work as one’s own. Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge
in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases
written or spoken by someone else. The submission of research completed papers or
projects prepared by someone else or the use of research sources gathered by someone
else when forbidden by the instructor is considered plagiarism. Failure to acknowledge the
extent and nature of one’s reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. Other forms
may be unique to an individual discipline or assignment. Misrepresentation of work includes,
but is not limited to, presenting material that was prepared for another class or outside work
as an original work product that was produced for this class. All work turned in for this class is
represented by the student(s) to be original material prepared in fulfillment of this course’s
3. Unauthorized Collaboration: Submission for academic credit of a work product, or a part
thereof, represented as being one’s own effort, which has been developed in substantial
collaboration with or without assistance from another person or source (or to provide such
4. Falsification: Misrepresenting material or fabricating information in an academic exercise or
5. Multiple Submissions: Submitting substantial portions of the same work for credit more than
once without the explicit consent of the instructor(s) to whom the material is submitted. In
cases of cumulative work or in a sequence of courses, use of prior work may be desirable or
required; therefore the student is responsible for indicating in writing that the work is
cumulative in nature.

Any and all cases of fraud, plagiarism, misrepresentation of work, or any action that violates the
University Policy of Academic Honesty or other University policies will result in disciplinary
proceedings being held against the student(s) involved. Group members should be aware that by
placing your name on a group project you are representing ALL of the material included.

Accommodations for Special Needs & Requests

I make every effort to accommodate students with disabilities who have validated their claim
through the Office of Disability Services as well as any conflicts that may arise due to religious
holidays or the Regent’s test. Students with disabilities should notify me immediately, and
students with schedule conflicts should notify me at least 2 weeks prior to the event.

Classroom Etiquette
Electronic devices, such as Palm Pilots, Pocket PCs, recorders and cell phones, should be turned
off and stored in your briefcase, purse, book bag, backpack, etc. You may be permitted to use
your laptop, subject to the conditions in the “Classroom Computer Use” section of this Syllabus.

Drinks are allowed, but food is not permitted during lectures.

Please do not talk, whisper with your friends, pass notes back and forth, sleep, put your head
down on the desk, or engage in any other rude behaviors during lectures.

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Classroom Computer Use
To facilitate learning and to enhance classroom lectures. I permit the use of computers during
lectures, subject to the following conditions:

• Computers may be used when I am demonstrating various Excel models/techniques in

class. But computers must be closed and in standby or hibernation mode when I am
lecturing about a concept or principle and referencing mostly PowerPoint slides.
• The only application that you are allowed to operate on the computer during lectures is
Excel (no email, instant messaging, games, internet explorer, etc.).
• Wifi or network access must be turned off. You should not be logged into CatChat.

A Computer Abuse feedback form is posted on the Course website home page to collect any
complaints about any student's abuse of this privilege. If I receive one legitimate complaint from
any student or if I observe any abuses of this privilege, I may disallow all student use of
computers in future classes.

Your grade for the semester is based on:

Scheduled Tests 70% Participation 9%

Projects 21%

Letter Grade Percentage

A 94% – 100% NOTE: I do not round up grades. For
A- 90% - 93.9% example, if you make 89.9% for the
B+ 86% - 89.9% semester, your final grade for the
B 82% - 85.9% semester will be a B+; if you make a
B- 78% - 81.9% 59.9%, you will make an F.
C+ 74% - 77.9%
C 70% – 73.9%
C- 66% - 69.9%
D 60% – 65.9%
F < 60%

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MGS3100 Business Analysis
Spring 2009 Schedule

This schedule provides a general plan for the semester and deviations may be necessary. The
schedule on the MGS3100 course website will be updated to reflect up-to-date changes,
additions and firm assignment due dates.

Date Description Due

8/17 Course Introduction & Overview

8/19 Ch 1: Introduction to Modeling Homework 1 & 2
8/24 Ch 2: Spreadsheet Modeling
8/26 Homework 3
9/07 Labor Day (GSU is closed)
9/09 Ch 9: Simulation (p153-164, 167-174) Homework 5
9/16 Homework 6
Project 1: Profit Model
Homework 7
9/28 Test #1 (Ch 1, 2, 9)
9/30 Ch 13: Forecasting
10/12 Homework 8
10/19 Ch 8: Decision Analysis Project 2: Forecasting Model
10/21 Test #2 (Ch 13)
10/28 Homework 9
11/04 Homework 10
11/09 Ch 15: Quality Management Homework 11
Project 3: Decision Analysis Model
11/18 Ch 11: Implementation
Homework 12
11/23 Test #3 (Ch 8, 15 & 11)
11/24 – 11/29 Thanksgiving (GSU is closed)
11/30 Review for Final (time permitting)
12/02 Review for Final (time permitting)
12/07 FINAL EXAM 8:00 - 10:00 am
12/16 Submit grades to Go Solar (me)
12/21 Grades available for students