Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models

4.2
1,550 ratings
285 reviews

Course 2 of 5 in the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization

The simple spreadsheet is one of the most powerful data analysis tools that exists, and it’s available to almost anyone. Major corporations and small businesses alike use spreadsheet models to determine where key measures of their success are now, and where they are likely to be in the future. But in order to get the most out of a spreadsheet, you have know how to use it. This course is designed to give you an introduction to basic spreadsheet tools and formulas so that you can begin harness the power of spreadsheets to map the data you have now and to predict the data you may have in the future. Through short, easy-to-follow demonstrations, you’ll learn how to use Excel or Sheets so that you can begin to build models and decision trees in future courses in this Specialization. Basic familiarity with, and access to, Excel or Sheets is required.
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100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 8 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Portuguese (Brazilian)

Skills you will gain

Data AnalysisDecision TreeMathematical OptimizationFinancial Modeling
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 8 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 1-3 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English, Portuguese (Brazilian)

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Spreadsheets: A Tool for Thinking with Numbers

This module was designed to introduce you to the history of spreadsheets, their basic capabilities, and how they can be used to create models. You'll learn the different types of data used in spreadsheets, spreadsheet notations for mathematical operations, common built-in formulas and functions, conditional expressions, relative and absolute references, and how to identify and correct circular references. By the end of this module, you'll understand the context of spreadsheets, be able to navigate a spreadsheet, use built-in formulas and functions in spreadsheets, create your own simple formulas, and identify and correct common errors so you can put spreadsheets to work for you....
Reading
6 videos (Total 42 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
1.2 Navigating a spreadsheet and crafting formulas19m
1.3 Using functions4m
1.4 Using conditional expressions in formulas4m
1.5 Common errors in spreadsheets4m
1.6 Differences between Sheets and Excel4m
Reading2 readings
PDF of Module 1 Lecture Slides10m
Module 1 examples10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 1 Quiz: History, Formulas, Functions and Errors20m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

From Spreadsheet to Model

In this module, you'll move from spreadsheet to model, so you can begin to create your own models that reflect real-world events. You'll learn how to organize and lay out model elements, as well as the types of objective functions and their use. You'll also learn what-if analysis and scenarios, sensitivity analysis, and other classic models. By the end of this module, you'll be able to design a spreadsheet reflecting assumptions, decision variables, and outcomes, create a basic cashflow model, evaluate a small business opportunity, conduct what-if analysis, identify key variables using sensitivity analysis, and linear programming models and deterministic models....
Reading
6 videos (Total 23 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
2.1 Using assumptions and decision variables in spreadsheet models2m
2.2 Structuring a spreadsheet to model variables, objectives, and objective functions2m
2.3 Constructing simple cashflow model4m
2.4 What-if analysis and sensitivity analysis4m
2.5 Limits to simple, deterministic models5m
Reading2 readings
PDF of Module 2 Lecture Slides10m
Module 2 examples10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 2 Quiz: Classic Models20m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Addressing Uncertainty and Probability in Models

This module was designed to introduce you to how you can use spreadsheets to address uncertainty and probability. You'll learn about random variables, probability distributions, power, exponential, and log functions in model formulas, models for calculating probability trees and decision trees, how to use regression tools to make predictions, as well as multiple regression. By the end of this module, you'll be able to measure correlations between variables using spreadsheet statistical functions, understand the results of functions that calculate correlations, use regression tools to make predictions, and improve forecasts with multiple regression....
Reading
6 videos (Total 40 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video6 videos
3.1 Random variables and probability distributions11m
3.2 Changes in discrete and continuous time5m
3.3 Power, exponential, and log functions8m
3.4 Probability trees and decision trees5m
3.5 Correlation and Regression7m
Reading3 readings
PDF of Module 3 Lecture Slides10m
Module 3 examples10m
Additional reading on exponential and other functions10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 3 Quiz: Probability, Correlation, and Regression20m

4

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Simulation and Optimization

In this module, you'll learn to use spreadsheets to implement Monte Carlo simulations as well as linear programs for optimization. You'll examine the purpose of Monte Carlo simulations, how to implement Monte Carlo simulations in spreadsheets, the types of problems you can address with linear programs and how to implement those linear programs in spreadsheets. By the end of this module, you'll be able to model uncertainty and risk in spreadsheets, and use Excel's solver to optimize resources to reach a desired outcome. You'll also be able to identify the similarities and differences between Excel and Sheets, and be prepared for the next course in the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization....
Reading
4 videos (Total 34 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
4.1 Monte Carlo Simulations13m
4.2 Linear Programming9m
4.3 Next Steps, and Differences between Excel and Sheets7m
Reading3 readings
PDF of Module 4 Lecture Slides10m
Module 4 examples10m
Links and other resources for further study10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Module 4 Quiz: Simulations, Scenarios, and Optimization20m
4.2
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started a new career after completing these courses
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83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By MMJun 22nd 2017

This course has made me understand cost accounting, has provided a fresh perspective on how to solve some of the challenges i had with management accounting and as a bonus, made me love maths again :)

By BHSep 12th 2017

So many tools that I knew existed and have tried to use the How-To's to learn how they work and until the Prof takes you through them one-at-a-time, they never make sense. Great Stuff!

Instructor

Avatar

Don Huesman

Managing Director, Wharton Online

About University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn) is a private university, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. A member of the Ivy League, Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and considers itself to be the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies. ...

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