(also known as "Business Risks and Decision Analysis")


John Schuyler

Who Should Attend

Engineers, scientists, marketers, managers, planners and analysts

About the Course

This 3-day, 5 half-day, or 5-day course is designed for all persons involved in analyzing or approving business investment decisions. The examples are mostly from capital-intensive industries, although several problems will involve the client's specific industry or situation. Attendees learn practical, systematic ways to analyze decisions under conditions of risk and uncertainty. The course addresses the perspectives of decision makers, technical professionals who provide expert judgments, and analysts who perform the calculations.

Participants learn how to design and solve decision trees, one of the two popular decision modeling techniques. Judgments about risks and uncertainties are expressed as probabilities and probability distributions. Tree diagrams provide a clear communications vehicle and the basis for valuing each alternative. Four basic probability concepts provide the foundation for the calculations. The mathematics is simple and involves only basic algebra.

Monte Carlo simulation, an alternative calculation technique, is also presented. The same probability concepts learned for decision tree analysis apply. If the facility permits, the instructor can demonstrate some of the popular and low-cost personal computer software available. Optionally, this class can be augmented with hands-on use of personal computers and decision analysis software.

The course involves practical, straightforward concepts. There are no prerequisites other than knowing how to use a hand calculator. Participants learn how many real world problems can be solved with a calculator, pencil and sheet of paper. The emphasis is on practical techniques for immediate application.

Course Format

About half the class time is devoted to discussion and about half to individual and group exercises. The course is conducted in a workshop style, with sessions designed to be informal and participatory. Varied exercises are solved by persons individually and in small groups. People often choose to work with a partner. Participants are encouraged to bring decision problems from their own work for discussion.

Exercises help participants discover and experience the important concepts. Each person should bring a hand calculator (non-solar) with which he or she is familiar. Only the four basic math functions are necessary in this short course.

The course pace is brisk. However, note-taking is minimal because the notebook contains copies of the prepared overhead slides. The 300+ page notebook contains exercises, worked solutions, checklists, glossary and selected reprints.

Course Content

Actual and real-to-life problems are the basis for individual and team exercises. The foremost training goal is to provide participants with sufficient practice to feel confident about solving real problems.

Optional Use of Computers

This course can include hands-on experience with modeling decision problems with spreadsheets and decision analysis add-in and decision tree or Monte Carlo simulation software.

More Information

Please contact the instructor, John Schuyler, for scheduling, pricing, and additional information.