How can you put data to work for you? Specifically, how can numbers in a spreadsheet tell us about present and past business activities, and how can we use them to forecast the future? The answer is in building quantitative models, and this course is designed to help you understand the fundamentals of this critical, foundational, business skill. Through a series of short lectures, demonstrations, and assignments, you’ll learn the key ideas and process of quantitative modeling so that you can begin to create your own models for your own business or enterprise. By the end of this course, you will have seen a variety of practical commonly used quantitative models as well as the building blocks that will allow you to start structuring your own models. These building blocks will be put to use in the other courses in this Specialization.

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Module 3: Probabilistic Models

This module explains probabilistic models, which are ways of capturing risk in process. You’ll need to use probabilistic models when you don’t know all of your inputs. You’ll examine how probabilistic models incorporate uncertainty, and how that uncertainty continues through to the outputs of the model. You’ll also discover how propagating uncertainty allows you to determine a range of values for forecasting. You’ll learn the most-widely used models for risk, including regression models, tree-based models, Monte Carlo simulations, and Markov chains, as well as the building blocks of these probabilistic models, such as random variables, probability distributions, Bernoulli random variables, binomial random variables, the empirical rule, and perhaps the most important of all of the statistical distributions, the normal distribution, characterized by mean and standard deviation. By the end of this module, you’ll be able to define a probabilistic model, identify and understand the most commonly used probabilistic models, know the components of those models, and determine the most useful probabilistic models for capturing and exploring risk in your own business.