BUS 260 W — Making High-Quality Decisions: A Practical Guide to Decision Analysis
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Oct 5—Dec 4
Drop Deadline: Oct 8
Instructor(s): Richard Kim
Flex Online(About Formats)
Oct 5—Dec 4
Making high-quality decisions is a challenging endeavor. Even the largest companies struggle with decision-making, often investing far too much in market research reports, marketing campaigns, or capital investments. Similarly, with personal decisions, we often find ourselves plagued with regret after purchasing an electronic device, an insurance policy, or perhaps even a home. Decision analysis is a field of engineering developed in the mid-twentieth century by mathematicians at Stanford and Harvard. It uses a mix of math, philosophy, and gut instinct to guide individuals and organizations toward making better decisions. This method is used in many large organizations such as Chevron, Pfizer, and the US military. When Chevron mulls over, “Should we drill for oil here or not?” or when Pfizer asks, “Should we invest in an advertising campaign?” they employ techniques of decision analysis to guide their thinking. This course will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use the wisdom of decision analysis to avoid the decision traps we commonly fall into. Students will learn mathematical and conceptual tools that, while relatively simple, are incredibly powerful. Topics we will explore include influence diagrams, decision trees, value measures and functions, statistical interference, and sensitivity analysis. This course can be useful to anyone interested in strengthening their ability to make decisions of consequence, and works equally well in both business and personal applications.
Knowledge of basic math (algebra and probability) is required.
Richard Kim, Co-Founder and Senior Space Systems Engineer, Aerospace Technical ServicesRichard Kim has fifteen years of experience as a consultant and advisor to the US Air Force and US Space Force on various classified programs, where he has experienced firsthand examples of both good and bad decision-making. He is co-founder and CEO of Lucid, an online technology company that enables its community to rate news stories on their truthfulness and political bias. He received a PhD in management science and engineering from Stanford.
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.