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Essential Spreadsheet Modeling Course for Business Students

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Executive Summary

Learning the art of modeling constitutes more than exposure to models and computing solutions. The latter has evidently been the primary approach so far. Modeling is really about dealing with open-ended questions, navigating around assumption and trying to make some sense of the situation. It must explore unspoken possibilities and overcome dead-ends. Whereas models try to find the answers, modeling deals with asking the right questions. Without good modeling skills, students are unable to develop simple new models or even adapt old ones to real-world circumstances. Clarifying modeling, Powell proposed a hierarchy of modeling skills: basic quantitative reasoning, informal modeling (e.g. identifying critical assumptions), formal modeling (like Excel skills), understanding models from other disciplines, end-user modeling, understand and work with large-scale models.

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