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Monash University

FIT5097 Business intelligence modelling - Semester 2, 2014

This unit introduces students to the principles, techniques and applications of computer-based decision support models for business and industry. Topics include: decision trees; linear programming and optimisation; other mathematical programming methods; waiting lines and queues; time series analysis and forecasting; inventory modelling and discrete-event simulation. Models will be built and solved using spreadsheets or other computer applications as appropriate.

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Evening)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Two hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour laboratory

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • A minimum of 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships




At least one quantitative unit (such as Mathematics or Statistics) in an undergraduate degree.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


David Dowe

Consultation hours: T.B.A.




Consultation hours: T.B.A.

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. The University’s student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash’s educational strategy, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

Previous student feedback for the course was highly positive and thus no changes have needed to be made this year.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:
  • explain a variety of techniques for modelling business decision problems;
  • choose the appropriate decision model for a particular problem;
  • set up simple models and solve with hand calculations;
  • set up mathematical models for solution in a spreadsheet or other application software;
  • validate models and conduct a sensitivity analysis;
  • analyse a real problem and report the results;
  • explain the difficulty of applying models to real situations - which often requires that approximations, simplifications and generalisations be made;
  • explain the approximate nature of some types of business modelling and why this usually means that a sensitivity analysis needs to be conducted.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0 Please register for tutorials in Allocate Plus. There will be NO tutorials in Week 1. However, students are advised to attempt a "Do-it-Yourself" Tutorial in Week 1 to familiarise with EXCEL basics. No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction to Mangement Science and Operations Research; Introduction to Optimisation and Linear Programming No tutorial in Week 1
2 Modelling and Solving LP Problems Graphically Assessment task 2: Tutorial Work is assessed in Weeks 2 to 12 after each tutorial session
3 Spreadsheet Modelling  
4 Sensitivity analysis and the interpretation of solutions  
5 Integer Linear Programming & Goal Programming  
6 Transportation and Assignment Problems; and Network Modelling  
7 Decision Analysis and Probability Theory  
8 Decision Trees  
9 Time Series Analysis and Forecasting Assessment task 1: Spreadsheet Modelling due in Week 9
10 Inventory Modelling  
11 Queuing  
12 Simulation  
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your learning system.

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning

Assessment Summary

Examination (2 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Spreadsheet modelling 30% Week 9
Tutorial Work 10% Weeks 2 to 12 after each tutorial session
Examination 1 60% To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Spreadsheet modelling
    Solving business decision problems by linear programming and integer programming using the Excel Solver.
    Criteria for assessment:

    The criteria used to assess the assignment are:

    1. Correctness and understanding - Correct answers are to be provided with explanations and justifications. We will look for answers that reflect understanding of the underlying modelling techniques.
    2. Completeness - that you have answered all parts of each question. Presentation - that you have presented your answers in a suitably formatted report style.
    Due date:
    Week 9
  • Assessment task 2
    Tutorial Work
    Tutorial work will be assessed.
    Criteria for assessment:

    The criteria used to assess submissions are:

    1. Correctness and understanding - We will look for answers that reflect understanding of the underlying modelling techniques.
    2. Completeness - that you have answered all parts of each tutorial question.
    Due date:
    Weeks 2 to 12 after each tutorial session


  • Examination 1
    2 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:
    Non-programmable calculators

Learning resources

Reading list

Anderson, D., Sweeney, D., Williams, T. (2001), Quantitative Methods for Business, 8th Edition (or latest Edition), 2001, Thomson Learning. 

Lapin LL and Whisler WD (2002), "Quantitative Decision Making with Spreadsheet Applications", 7th Edition, Duxbury Press, 2002

Winston WL (2004), "Operations Research: Applications & Algorithms", 3rd Edition, Duxbury Press, 2004

Winston WL and Albright SC (2004), "Practical Management Science: Spreadsheet Modelling and Applications", 3rd Edition, Duxbury Press, 1997

Monash Library Unit Reading List (if applicable to the unit)

Faculty of Information Technology Style Guide

Feedback to you

Examination/other end-of-semester assessment feedback may take the form of feedback classes, provision of sample answers or other group feedback after official results have been published. Please check with your lecturer on the feedback provided and take advantage of this prior to requesting individual consultations with staff. If your unit has an examination, you may request to view your examination script booklet, see http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/procedures/request-to-view-exam-scripts.html

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments without comments
  • Solutions to tutes, labs and assignments

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the learning system for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

Excel Solver is available for use in all University labs.

Prescribed text(s)

Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library.

Ragsdale C.T. (2015). Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis. (7th Edition) Thomson.

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Key educational policies include:

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

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