module specification

BA4008 - Business Decision Making (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Business Decision Making
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
 
30 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
189 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   COURSEWIndividual Coursework 1: Quantitative Techniques
Coursework 30%   Individual Coursework 2: Business Analysis
Coursework 40%   Individual Coursework 3: Accounting for Business
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Wednesday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Monday Afternoon
Year City Wednesday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) City Thursday Morning
Year City Monday Morning

Module summary

Data analysis is a top business priority. It drives the opportunity for performance improvement and, with advances in technology, data are generated at an ever increasing rate. As such, it not surprising business data analysis and Excel skills are among the top graduate skills sought by employers today. BA4006, Business Decision Making, responds to these market demands by providing the underpinning skills required to make effective use of the mathematical and statistical methods of data analysis and develops students’ interpretation and reporting skills.

The module introduces data-based decision making and performance measurement and provides students with the practical experience of using Excel to transform data into information. It further introduces students to forecasting and target setting, budgeting and project management. In other words, it provides students with an understanding of the fundamentals of statistical methods for business. In doing so, it provides the skills and knowledge required for levels 5 and 6 modules, including the dissertation, that develop and evaluate the quantitative and qualitative aspects of business management. 

The module also introduces the principles of accounting and finance. Financial statements are interpreted and analysed to review the financial position and condition of a company. Activity-based costing and budgeting methods are introduced to facilitate planning and performance measurement.
  
Overall, this module develops the analytical and communication skills relevant to understanding business Information, with an emphasis on problem-solving techniques in the context of business management, decision making and performance measurement.

Prior learning requirements

Standard University entry requirements

Syllabus

This module is split in to 4 parts.

Part 1 – Numeracy Refresher [6 weeks]
The first part of the module refreshes numeracy skills and lays the quantitative foundation for the subsequent parts. Operations and precedence, expressions, equations, linear functions and breakeven calculations are reviewed. Business mathematics, including percentages, fractions, ratios and index numbers, are covered and students are introduced to the concept of probability in business. LO1

Part 2 – Introduction to Quantitative Techniques [7 weeks]
This part of the module focuses on the processes by which data are transformed into information to provide insights and facilitate decision making. Data sources and survey methods are discussed and students are introduced to Excel for data presentation and the descriptive analysis of ungrouped and grouped cross-sectional data. To examine relationships and future values, correlation, regression and time series analyses are introduced. Whilst this part of the syllabus will be delivered using a combination of pen and paper exercises and Excel activities to familiarise students with the techniques, the focus is on interpretation and the reporting of Excel output and findings. LO2

Part 3 – Quantitative Business Analysis [6 weeks]
Part 3 progresses to specific applications: project management and investment appraisal are introduced, and the impact of compound interest on loans, annuities and investments are considered. Key Performance Indicators, such as: customer lifetime value, retention and churn rates, monthly sales growth, average profit margin, sales conversion rate, repeat purchase volume and employee happiness, are quantified to measure how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.  LO3

Part 4 – Accounting for Business Managers [7 weeks]
The final part of the module focuses on fundamental financial and accounting principles. Financial statements, such as balance sheets, income statements and cash flows, are introduced and interpreted to consider the financial position of a company, whilst accounting ratios are calculated to review its relative financial condition. Finally, planning and performance measurement are introduced through activity-based costing and budgeting methods. LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and teaching are structured around three hours of class contact time per week. The weekly sessions take the form of 3-hour, interactive workshops in a computer lab.

The workshops introduce students to the theories and methods and adopt a problem-focused approach to learning. Sessions are designed to facilitate learning through individual and collaborative practical activities, interpretation and reporting exercises, discussions and presentations, and 360-degree feedback. 

Students will receive module material, including weekly session notes, presentation slides, exercises and computer activities via WebLearn. The computer-based tasks are blended into the weekly activities: students will be using Microsoft Excel to enter and analyse quantitative and financial or accounting data and Microsoft Word to report the findings. A range of tasks are completed in class, though others are completed outside formal contact hours.

In addition to pen and paper exercises and Excel-, or Word-based activities, tasks take a variety of forms, including online research, working with statistical applets and participating in, and interaction with, Mentimeter games (Voting, Word Cloud, etc.), Kahoot quizzes, or similar activities.  It is expected that for every 3-hours spent in the workshop, students spend a further 7 hours a week on independent study. A total of 30 hours is allocated for assessment preparation. 

Reflective learning is incorporated into the module and students are advised to keep a journal of experiences and personal development to analyse and reflect on the effectiveness of their learning.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module, students should be able to:

LO1:  use Excel to transform data into information to facilitate business decision making; 

LO2: appreciate the role of quantitative business analysis in planning and performance measurement;

LO3:  understand and interpret financial statements and appreciate the principal activities of cost accounting to inform financial decision-making;

LO4:   have a wide range of IT, research, and data analysis skills.

Assessment strategy

Assessments are designed to provide feedback opportunities and enable students to demonstrate the learning outcomes have been achieved. On BA4006, assessments take the form of individually-completed coursework with a reflective component embedded.

The module has three formal assessment opportunities. The first is linked to learning outcome 1 and requires students to complete and comment on a set of short tasks that may require the use of Excel. The deadline for this coursework is the end of week 14 and the work contributes 30% to the overall module mark.

The second assessment takes the form of a 1,000-word report and requires the use of Excel and application of quantitative business analyses. This coursework is linked to learning outcome 2, is due at the end of week 22 and contributes 30% to the module mark.

The third assessment involves the analysis of financial or accounting information and the planning of a budget. It requires the preparation of a 1,000-word report reviewing the financial position or condition of a company and a discussion of the budget. This coursework is linked to learning outcome 3, is due at the end of week 30 and contributes 40% to the overall module mark.

A short, reflective commentary is required as part of each assessment.

In addition to the three formal assessments, an online diagnostic numeracy test is taken in week 6. Whilst this test is not linked to a learning outcome and does not carry a mark, it provides valuable, formative feedback and identifies whether extra numeracy support should be arranged.

Coursework briefs and assessment criteria are discussed in class to ensure requirements, and the basis on which academic judgements are made, are clear. In the weeks where coursework workshops replace the regular sessions, students are encouraged to show draft work for developmental feedback. To improve the quality of work, these sessions focus on business report writing and developing good academic practice, for example in terms of consistently crediting sources.

Provisional results and feedback will normally be made available within 5 working days of submitting the first coursework and within 10 working days of submitting subsequent pieces of work. The module is passed on aggregate. Results are finalised following internal moderation and are published on Evision at the end of the academic year.

Bibliography

Recommended Textbook: Quantitative Techniques and Business Analysis
Oakshott L. (2016) ‘Essential Quantitative Methods for Business, Management and Finance’, 6th Edition, Palgrave

Recommended Textbook: Accounting For Business Managers
Carey M., Knowles C. and Towers-Clark J. (2017) ‘Accounting: A Smart Approach’, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press

Additional Reading
Waters, D. (2011) ‘Quantitative Methods for Business’, 5th Edition, FT Prentice Hall, Pearson
Swift, L. and Piff, S. (2014), ‘Quantitative Methods for Business, Management and Finance’, 4th Edition, Palgrave Macmillan
Dyson, J. R. and Franklin, E. (2017) ‘Accounting for Non-Accounting Students’, 9th Edition, Pearson
Weetman P. (2015) ‘Financial and Management Accounting. An Introduction’, 7th Edition, Pearson
Farris, P. W., Bendle, N. T., Pfeifer, P. E. and Reibstein, D. J. (2016) ‘Key Marketing Metrics: The 50+ metrics every manager needs to know’, 3rd Edition, Pearson

Websites
BA4006 WebLearn module
Bloomberg – European Edition, https://www.bloomberg.com/europe
Reuters. Edition: United Kingdom, https://uk.reuters.com/
Rice Virtual Lab in Statistics (simulation applets, interactive multimedia course, cases and more): http://onlinestatbook.com/rvls.html
Other
Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, on the Importance of Statistics and Data: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/hal-varian-on-how-the-web-challenges-managers
Online Statistics Education: A Multimedia Course of Study (http://onlinestatbook.com/), Project Leader: David M. Lane, Rice University. Free statistics Textbook (pdf version): http://onlinestatbook.com/Online_Statistics_Education.pdf
London Metropolitan University Harvard Style Referencing guide: http://student.londonmet.ac.uk/library/subject-guides-and-research-support/referencing-and-copyright/referencing/