**A core course taken in the first term**

**8 lectures, plus reading and study group work**

*Pre-course thoughts*

As far as I can tell this course is statistics for business use. Looking at the course structure it seems to start with an introduction to statistics and statistical tools, and situations where these techniques are useful. From there it heads into more complex modelling of business situations, including things like risk analysis (which I know a *tiny* bit about), decision analysis and so on.

There’s also something called Monte Carlo simulation. I’m hoping that this is the bit where they teach me to cheat at roulette, but I’m not holding my breath. The course is examined through two ‘Excel assessments’ and an end of term exam.

Truth be told I’m not looking forward to this one. As far as I remember stats is an awkward branch of maths and a tricky beast, plus I haven’t done any real maths since I was 17, when I dropped out of A-level maths.

*post course thoughts*

I really liked this one, which came as a huge shock. It’s been a very long time since anyone managed to make me interested in maths and numbers, and while some of the complexities of probability density theory and the like were left well alone there was plenty to get your teeth into even if you’d done some of it before.

Normal distribution, z-scores, t-stats, simple and multiple regression, I can do all this stuff now. What’s more the course looked eminently usable, building financial models, discreet event simulation, even the above mentioned Monte-Carlo simulation – all stuff I could imagine walking into an office and using. I’m not an expert on probability and I probably never will be, but if someone else claims they are I’ll definitely have an idea about which questions I should be asking them.

The course made a great deal of use of Excel (and a few add ons), which was nice because I’d never realised how useful spreadsheets were before. As with the rest of the Office suite there’s a big bunch of powerful stuff hiding inside what I’d previously thought of as the program you use to draw up lists.

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