Why Do We Need to Study Statistical Analysis as Part of a Business Program?

You may be wondering why you should take a course in Statistical Analysis as part of a business program.  After all, you are not taking this major in order to become a mathematician!  Won't there be other people you can rely on to help you make sense of numbers?  Maybe you will be lucky enough to have someone working with you that can do this for you.  

In the business world, you will be faced with many decisions to make every day.  In many cases, these decisions will not be made in a vacuum; you will have information available to you that is relevant to the decision.  In the future, you may find yourself in a position to make a key decision for your business.  But will you know how to use the information available?  Will you know the right questions to ask?

Consider the following scenarios:

  • You manage a portfolio of investments and are presented with a research report that shows that over the past five years, technology stocks have outperformed utility stocks by 13.7% to 10.1%.  Is this a significantly higher return or just the results of random chance?  Should you think about investing in technology stocks?  What questions would you ask about this research?  In this course, you will learn how to compare two values against each other and determine if they differ in any significant way (Subunit 6.4 Testing Equality of Two Percentages). 
  • You manage a line of consumer products and want to change your marketing campaign.  You decide that you want to test a new campaign against the existing one to see if the new one is any better.  How would you design the test?  What sort of data would you collect?  How much better does the new campaign need to be to justify the change in marketing plans?  In this course, you will learn how to design research (Unit 5 Sampling) and how to determine if the results are significant (Subunit 6.3 Hypothesis Testing: t-Tests). 
  • An online research survey shows you that 57% of your competitor's customers would switch to your product if you offered a coupon.  Should you create a coupon?  What factors would you consider?  Can you trust an online survey?  In this course, you will learn how to read survey results and ask the right questions about them (Subunit 6.2 Confidence Intervals). 
  • You are the manager in a company that finances automobile purchases. What variables should you use to predict the price of next year's cars?  Variables such as weight, horsepower, towing capacity, and miles per gallon have all been shown to have an impact on the price.  Which one is the most likely predictor of price?  Is this even possible?  In this course, you will learn how to determine how variables relate to each other and how to make predictions based on them (Unit 2 Correlation and Regression). 
  • Your company's data warehouse collects sales data and reports it to all the company's directors and vice-presidents on a daily basis.  At the next director's meeting, it will be your job to make some recommendations based on these numbers.  How will you analyze the data?  In this course, you will learn how to read and analyze data sets (Unit 1 Introduction to Statistical Analysis). 

These are just some of the many skills you will learn in this course.  While you may not consider yourself to be an expert in Statistical Analysis when you are done, you will have the skills you need to answer these questions and the many others that you will be faced with in your daily business activities. 

Last modified: Thursday, 14 May 2015, 7:12 PM