Decision Analysis Using Excel (IND520)

The course uses Excel to analyse different buisness- and microeconomic decision problems. The course focuses on analyzing real world examples to show how to solve relevant economic decision problems using Excel.

Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


Exam semester


Language of instruction



The course uses the spreadsheet program Excel, a powerful and commonly used tool for quantitative analysis. We analyze different examples of business- and microeconomic decision problems. Focus will be on develping spreadsheet models that are logically corret and easy to read, in addition to sensitivity analysis. Mathematical methods for problem solving will not be part of the course. The main topics are optimization models, simulation models, decision trees and data analysis.

The lectures are streamed and available online. Access will be given to university computers at specified computer rooms. The course allows students to use their own computers with the Excel software (add-ins) used in the course. This software is available by purchasing a new course textbook. The software does not work optimally on mac computers, and to practice and follow the lectures with your own computer you need a pc with Windows operating system. If you do not have access to this, you have to use one of the school (stationary) computers.

Learning outcome


After completing the course, the student should know:

  • Linear, integer and non-linear mathematical programming relevant to business decision problems
  • Conditions under which different models can be used and their limitations
  • Basic knowledge of solution algorithms
  • Economic interpretations of model solutions
  • Sensitivity and robustness analysis of solutions
  • Analysis of decision under uncertainty, Bayes law
  • Simulation analysis


After completing the course, the student should be able to:

  • Use Excel
  • Set up a spreadsheet model of a business decision problem in Excel
  • Solve for the optimal solution of the problem in Excel
  • Give economic interpretations of the model solutions and what they imply for the costs and constraints facing businesses in decision problems
  • Analyze decision trees for decision problems under uncertainty
  • Perform basic simulation analysis in Excel

General competence

After completing the course, the student should be able to communicate:

  • How a business decision problem can be formulated as a mathematical decision problem
  • The different types of models available and the conditions under which they apply
  • How the models can be practically implemented and solved
  • The fundamental economic constraints and trade-offs businesses face in their decision problems

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

Basic knowledge in business economics, mathematics, micro-economics, statistics and use of spreadsheet


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Home exam 1/1 1 Days Letter grades All

Coursework requirements

Mandatory assignments
Two mandatory assignments during the semester. Must be approved in order to take the exam. Can be done in groups of up to four people.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Atle Øglend

Course teacher:

Lars Christian Bruno

Head of Department:

Tore Markeset

Method of work

Normally four hours lectures/problem solving on pc per week. Lectures will be given in English. Student will follow the lectures using their own laptops (not mac), or using the university computers.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Decision analysis with Excel (MIN240_1) 10

Open for

Master in Industrial Economics and master in Business and Administration at the UiS Business School

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto