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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Basic Data Descriptors, Statistical Distributions, and Application to Business Decisions by Rice University

1,765 ratings
291 reviews

About the Course

The ability to understand and apply Business Statistics is becoming increasingly important in the industry. A good understanding of Business Statistics is a requirement to make correct and relevant interpretations of data. Lack of knowledge could lead to erroneous decisions which could potentially have negative consequences for a firm. This course is designed to introduce you to Business Statistics. We begin with the notion of descriptive statistics, which is summarizing data using a few numbers. Different categories of descriptive measures are introduced and discussed along with the Excel functions to calculate them. The notion of probability or uncertainty is introduced along with the concept of a sample and population data using relevant business examples. This leads us to various statistical distributions along with their Excel functions which are then used to model or approximate business processes. You get to apply these descriptive measures of data and various statistical distributions using easy-to-follow Excel based examples which are demonstrated throughout the course. To successfully complete course assignments, students must have access to Microsoft Excel. ________________________________________ WEEK 1 Module 1: Basic Data Descriptors In this module you will get to understand, calculate and interpret various descriptive or summary measures of data. These descriptive measures summarize and present data using a few numbers. Appropriate Excel functions to do these calculations are introduced and demonstrated. Topics covered include: • Categories of descriptive data • Measures of central tendency, the mean, median, mode, and their interpretations and calculations • Measures of spread-in-data, the range, interquartile-range, standard deviation and variance • Box plots • Interpreting the standard deviation measure using the rule-of-thumb and Chebyshev’s theorem ________________________________________ WEEK 2 Module 2: Descriptive Measures of Association, Probability, and Statistical Distributions This module presents the covariance and correlation measures and their respective Excel functions. You get to understand the notion of causation versus correlation. The module then introduces the notion of probability and random variables and starts introducing statistical distributions. Topics covered include: • Measures of association, the covariance and correlation measures; causation versus correlation • Probability and random variables; discrete versus continuous data • Introduction to statistical distributions ________________________________________ WEEK 3 Module 3: The Normal Distribution This module introduces the Normal distribution and the Excel function to calculate probabilities and various outcomes from the distribution. Topics covered include: • Probability density function and area under the curve as a measure of probability • The Normal distribution (bell curve), NORM.DIST, NORM.INV functions in Excel ________________________________________ WEEK 4 Module 4: Working with Distributions, Normal, Binomial, Poisson In this module, you'll see various applications of the Normal distribution. You will also get introduced to the Binomial and Poisson distributions. The Central Limit Theorem is introduced and explained in the context of understanding sample data versus population data and the link between the two. Topics covered include: • Various applications of the Normal distribution • The Binomial and Poisson distributions • Sample versus population data; the Central Limit Theorem...

Top reviews


Aug 27, 2020

This is one of the best courses i have atended since, the exercises are all related to the topic.Great job. .\n\nThanks to Mr Sharad Borle for explaining very well the content in this course .


Aug 23, 2017

The course has been designed in a manner to give maximum understanding of the concept. The Quizzes are really grilling. and helps you strengthen the knowledge gained from the lecture videos.

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1 - 25 of 287 Reviews for Basic Data Descriptors, Statistical Distributions, and Application to Business Decisions

By Lin Y

Jul 26, 2019

A truly fascinating course. Keep in mind, this is an introductory course, and it is very useful for either refreshing your memory, or teach something useful and practical.

By Valeria R

Nov 13, 2017

As a beginner, I found the course to be extremely useful and very clear. The professor guides you through each step in all his lessons, in a way that makes the course accessible even to a complete beginner. Although the lessons are relatively short, you are given the opportunity to learn a whole set of new skills, that can be surely useful across different jobs.

Only negative point: I would have liked more tests and exercises!

By Susannah

Jun 16, 2020

I took this as part of the specialization, so this review applies to the whole 5-course specialization. The files and PowerPoint slides were well-done; for example, unlike some other Excel courses I've taken on Coursera, the PowerPoint slides are explanatory and clear, the text is big enough to be able to take screenshots of for note-taking purposes, and the quiz and test questions are clearly worded. Sharad also is a very good lecturer- engaging and doesn't rush through things; rather, he reminds you of things throughout the course, rather than just mentioning them once and then never explaining it again and assuming you remember it.

By Hatem A

Dec 13, 2019

Excellent Course that simplifies the explanation of statistical concepts such as probability distribution for continuous and discrete variables and their business applications in the real world. The course is very well designed, well explained, and avoids theoretical details to the benefit of the focus on the statistical business application. Excel is a spreadsheeting tool that is readily available in (almost) all business environments and many people can leverage their investment on it by learning how to do statistical analysis using it before going to more sophisticated techniques after.

By Mitthi J S

Aug 06, 2019

The course was very well structured. It helped a lot in understanding the basics of all the distribution and using them efficiently in excel!

By Jean-Philippe M

Aug 02, 2019

Wish had more exercises but this was an excellent course. Teacher is excellent

By Kalaiselvan P

Jul 21, 2019

Excellent Content, takes me back to the college days

By Lalit G

Aug 02, 2019

Very useful concepts in statistical distributions.

By Prachurya S

Sep 25, 2020

The type of final assignment questions and quizzes you all put are very difficult to understand and also it doesn't include in the lecture so whenever I give the final test my heart beats because after the quiz I get completely confused, also I feel that some of the options which you have given as correct answer are not what I believe. So, kindly please work on it as the purpose of taking a course is not to get confused but to be interesting and to learn more.

By Paweł K

Mar 15, 2019

Last part about Binomal and Poisson was not fully clear to me

By Abhishek M

Dec 10, 2019

Truly wonderful course. The explanation of complex terms was done extremely meaningfully, in clear and simple to understand terms, many real world and practical examples were provided to drive the concepts home, and the exercises were challenging. Care was taken to not let the subject matter become too complex or abstract. I absolutely loved the little recaps and the sharing of handy tips and commands on Excel for immediate practical exploration.

Prof Borle's voice was crisp, loud and easy to follow, which to me was crucial.

All in all, an exceptional experience of learning. Thank you!

By Joshua P

Dec 07, 2017

I enjoyed this course very much. It covered a lot of useful topics to help you understand and apply statistical analysis methods. Professor Borle obviously put a lot of thought into the planning of this course, as the order of topics presented built on prior knowledge, and as usual were presented in a very clear and concise way. I would have liked additional depth and practice on the discreet distributions presented near the end of this course, but that is something I can do on my own time as well. I can't wait to start the next course in this specialization!

By Roni F

May 03, 2018

Truly a great course. Explains things slowly and clearly, provides practice problems to practice what you learn in the videos, and when you don't get or understand a question on the quiz the forum is helpful to help you UNDERSTAND an issue you're having.

The only thing I would tweak is not telling what function to use in the questions - instead, putting it in a helpful note if the student chooses to use it. What I've been doing, since I want to see if I understand when to use what function, is try and skip over them.

Fantastic course.

By Karen S Z

Jul 21, 2018

The instructor is very good. While he has an accent, he isn't hard to understand (and you can rewind if you do miss something :)) This course went step-by-step and explained everything clearly, with examples. The final quiz was just hard enough to know that you understood the material, but not so hard that you couldn't complete it. There were a couple of questions I had trouble with and I went out on the discussion forum to get help on them. (All of them were already out there so lots of people had trouble with them!)

By Akshay H

May 02, 2017

Any one looking for quick refresher course in Business Statics this is the specialization to enroll.

Prof/Instructor Sharad has explain the concept in crisp & precise manner & hands on practice in excel is big plus..!!

For any one who wants to learn business statistics ,I kindly urge you enroll this course/specialization so you have basic overview of all topics in business statistics & later read text book Business Statistics by Ken black for through understanding of all topics.

By Fahim A R

Aug 06, 2020

All the important statistical concepts have been summarized in this course. The learners will be able to apply the concepts in real life scenarios easily using excel. Statistical distributions are really powerful and they are made really easy to use in excel by the Professor. Many thanks to him for clearing the concepts we have been hearing for a long time but never knew that they are really that much important in our daily lives


Mar 14, 2019

One of the best courses It has been my pleasure to complete! And by pleasure, I mean I really enjoyed the learning process. Nicely articulated through video lectures and handouts (for future reference), this course makes seemingly abstract concepts very clear and easy to comprehend. Lays the groundwork for hitherto unthinkable applications in a vast array of business scenarios. The quizzes reinforce the learning through videos.

By Lori-Ann B

Sep 16, 2020

It's a great course. There is no doubt that learning and using statistics can be challenging. It makes you think outside the box. And, learning the correct termination and how it is used is paramount. I would recommend it to others. In addition, I am not a big fan of study groups, but I can understand why many math majors join one. It gives you a chance to explore you logic and though process with others.

By Ali M S

Jul 10, 2020

Even though this is an online course, one of the few issues that will be encountered is that questions during the course will not be entertained. Though since I have basic knowledge on the topic, the course was easy to follow and the general idea is provided well during the course. Most questions are addressed during the course thus, having a complete package and listening will be sufficient.

By Randha S

Oct 21, 2020

Thank you for this course! I was able to brush up on statistics learnt in higher school and learn to actually apply them in daily businesses of life. The only thing I'd want improvement is when giving graded tests and a question keeps going wrong, you get stuck. If better feedbacks are given, it would be easier and much more helpful. Otherwise great course!

By Keli J

Jan 07, 2018

This is a very practical course for those with limited or no knowledge of business statistics, full of real-world applications and opportunities to practice. As a communicator who does not have much of a business or statistical background, I've found this course to provide an excellent foundation and understand of such important business processes.

By Connie W

Apr 16, 2020

I really like how the professor structures the class and videos. The videos are all very concise yet full of useful information, and the explanations are always clear and easy to follow. The examples used in videos are well selected and extremely helpful to understand how statistical concepts can be applied to solving real life problems.

By Sabarish V

Dec 29, 2018

The course content was concise enough to breeze through it in under a dozen hours (for an engineer). The assignments and practice quizzes were very helpful. I was a bit disappointed that the content was very basic, but then again, this was not advertised as an advanced course.


Jun 22, 2017

Excellent course, which is very well developed by Prof. Sharad. It is must for those who wish to understand the applicability of Probability concept in business decision making. On my part, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenging Quizzes, and at the end it was worth it!

By Anita Y

Sep 01, 2020

This is one of the best courses in statistics. All concepts were explained in very simplified way. The instructor has a good command over the subject and is able to teach it in a clear and easy to understand way. The course curriculum is also well designed.