MNGT5520 Quantitative Business Modelling for Managers - 2023

Subject Code
Study Level
Commencing Term
Term 1
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Delivery Mode
Term 1 (Session 3) 2023, Kensington
This course outline is provided in advance of offering to guide student course selection. Please note that while accurate at time of publication, changes may be required prior to the start of the teaching session. To view other versions, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course teaches students the skills required to model, analyse and solve complex business problems that can directly affect a firm's bottom line (i.e. revenues and costs) and its profitability. The course further teaches techniques for the effective presentation of data to senior business audiences.

The course comprises four distinct modules, being:

Module 1 = General Modelling (e.g. model mapping, spreadsheeting skills, determining variables of interest, assumption making, comprehensive scenario and sensitivity analysis, data cleansing and presentation, etc.).

Module 2 = Forecasting Models (e.g. random data forecasting, random walks, autocorrelation forecasting, linear/simple/multiple regressions, analysing combined numerical and categorical business data, dummy variables and seasonality, exponential smoothing, etc.).

Module 3 = Optimisation Models (e.g. linear, integer, binary, dynamic and non-linear optimisation models for business applications).

Module 4 = Simulation Models (e.g. simulation and analysis of business decisions under uncertainties by using Monte Carlo techniques and Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code).

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

This course is scheduled to run in face-to-face mode. However, there is a chance that there could be subsequent COVID-19 restrictions. 

If it is not possible for us to gather together on campus, we will offer the course synchronously online in Moodle.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

Every business uses numerical data and must rely on the visual representation of that data to communicate to its managers, shareholders and interested parties.  Moreover, all businesses strive to optimise their finances - whether through profit maximisation or cost minimisation - and they necessarily rely on numerical techniques to determine appropriate strategies to meet that aim. Quantitative modelling is, therefore, of importance to all managers. The content of this course can also be applied over the full spectrum of business disciplines (whether quantitative or qualitative) and it offers students valuable skills that will complement and enhance any manager's toolbox.

Additional Course Details

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
FacilitatorScott Muller

4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

This course uses an adult-learning approach that stresses proactive and interactive teaching and learning. Direct student contribution, including critical and lateral discussion that reflects students' readings and experiences, is expected and encouraged. Students must be willing and able to be proactive and self-driven with regard to mastering the content of this course.

This course is weighted towards practical application through design, build and open discussion of many quantitative models. Face-to-face sessions will encompass both lecture and workshop components, because the course content must be first learned, then practised and performed in order to be perfected. The workshops will involve students attempting a variety of practical and experiential learning exercises; therefore, students will be required to have access to a laptop during all class sessions.

The lectures by the Facilitator will build student understanding of the main concepts and techniques. The workshops will then provide an interactive environment through which to enhance learning via collaboration. By actively and conscientiously engaging in the workshop activities, students will increase their confidence and competence across the areas of course content.

Students are required to undertake self-driven research and study outside of the face-to-face sessions. This will involve, among other things: (i) reviewing course notes before each session; (ii)  identifying practical business applications for the theory being learned; (iii) proactively researching appropriate spreadsheet functionality where a student might lack a full understanding of the same; and (iv) reviewing workshop activities to ensure that the techniques being developed via those activities are mastered.

Students should note that the course utilises Microsoft Excel and is designed for Windows operating systems. Some Excel functionality/commands may differ, or be unavailable, on computers with Apple Macintosh operating systems.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

Course Structure

6. Course Resources

Self-contained course notes will be provided for each module (including examples and practice activities, with appropriate data sets, answers, and base-level spreadsheets for some activities). There is no prescribed text, but students may find additional reference books useful and/or supporting resources. Several appropriate books may be found in the university library. The course Moodle site will be used for the dissemination of all course material. 

Other general resources include:

BusinessThink is UNSW's free, online business publication. It is a platform for business research, analysis and opinion. If you would like to subscribe to BusinessThink, and receive the free monthly e-newsletter with the latest in research, opinion and business, go to

UNSW Library provides an extensive collection of books and journals that can aid your research and learning. You can also use their online database to access periodicals. For more information, visit

7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

AGSM courses are reviewed each time they run, with updated course outlines and assessment tasks developed. 

Additionally, the data collected in the myExperience survey provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the program in general. This student feedback is considered during all course revisions.

Student Response

  1. The course notes leave it to the student to learn some Excel items outside the course.
  2. I would suggest spending more time on the difficult parts of the course (i.e. Module 4).

Response to Student Feedback

  1. It should be noted that QBM is not intended to be a course that teaches students how to use Excel. Rather, Excel is the tool by which QBM teaches the higher-level application of the principles of quantitative business modelling. That said, each student enters QBM with a different level of knowledge, ability and skill in relation to the functionality that is available within the Excel application. To attempt to level this playing field, two parts of the course have been devoted to teaching/reviewing Excel functionality. The first occurs in Module 1 - where we cover the Excel functions that are most commonly encountered in business models. The second occurs in Module 4 - where we introduce Microsoft's Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code writing, since such code is the most efficient way to run Monte Carlo simulations in Excel. Even with the introduction of these additional Excel sessions, some students may still need to do an amount of external research/practice to ensure they fully master the Excel functionality required to complete QBM. Many students will, however, already have attained that level of Excel proficiency.
  2. The Modules in QBM increase in difficulty as the course progresses (hence Module 4 is the hardest to master) because each Module successively builds on previous learning. With class unanimous consensus, the pace of the early Modules (Modules 1 and 2) can be quickened to provide for a slower pace when covering the material in the later Modules (Modules 3 & 4). Each class group is different so the facilitator can review the pace and adjust as necessary for the then-current class group.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Participation commences (throughout course)Class 1 - General modelling concepts
Assessment 1 : Class participation
Week 2 -Class 2 - Spreadsheeting essentials
Assessment 1 : Class participation
Week 3 -No class
Week 4 -Class 3 and Class 4 - Forecasting models
Assessment 1 : Class participation
Week 5 Global Network Week/Independent Study WeekNo class
Week 6 -No class
Week 7 -Class 5 and Class 6 - Optimisation models
Assessment 1 : Class participation
Week 8 Individual assignment dueClass 7 and Class 8 - Simulation models (including VBA essentials)
Assessment 1 : Class participation
Assessment 2 : Individual assignment
Week 9 -No class
Week 10 Group term project and Business presentation dueClass 9 and Class 10 - Revision and Group Presentations
Assessment 1 : Class participation
Assessment 3 : Group term project
Assessment 4 : Business presentation

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

​The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations. 
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333