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• There are descriptions of three projects provided in this document. You are to
pick only one per group.
• The final submission will be an Excel file, neatly formatted. In a worksheet
entitled “Final Dashboard”, create a dashboard (use the directions in the first
assignment) that includes (wherever relevant): (i) Descriptive Statistics, (ii)
Graphs, (iii) Forecasts (if were to be calculated), (iv) Optimal values (if were to
be calculated). The projects are open ended. You are to pick the statistics and
graphs that are the most relevant in your opinion.
• In all the other worksheets of your final submission, show your work.
• Deadline: Day of your final exam, noon. This is the final project so it is not up to
me to flex the deadline. No extensions. You are free to submit sooner if you
have travel plans or have other obligations.
• Academic integrity is of utmost importance to the institution and to me. Work
on your project with your group only. If you have questions, feel free to ask me.
Note: If you have a project in mind that you would like to do for your benefit, feel
free to pitch it to me. I will ask you/your group a few questions and try to define
the scope, if needed. The last date to do this will be November 25, midnight.
There is a mix of techniques that will come into play when you tackle one or more
of the below. One is not harder than the other. Pick the assignment that is
beneficial to you in the long term.
From a few groups (not all), I will invite one student to my office during the first
week of December to explain the approach, current state of analysis, and future
steps. I may even ask them questions to check their understanding. This process
will be at random. Part of the entire group’s grade will depend on their answers.
This is to make sure that all group members are involved in the project.
Project 1: Finance
Portfolio Optimization
Get in touch with me. Please email before Nov 25 if you are interested
in a project of this kind.
Last year’s exercise:
Corporations routinely face the problem of financing short term cash commitments.
Modeling can help in figuring out an optimal combination of financial instruments
to meet these commitments. To illustrate this, consider the following problem.
A company has the following short-term financing problem.
Net Cash Flow
Net cash flow requirements are given in thousands of dollars. The company has the
following sources of funds
• A line of credit of up to $140K at an interest rate of 1% per month,
• In any one of the first three months, it can issue 90-day commercial paper
bearing a total interest of 2% for the 3-month period,
• Excess funds can be invested at an interest rate of 0.3% per month.
There are many questions that the company might want to answer. What interest
payments will the company need to make between January and June? Is it
economical to use the line of credit in some of the months? If so, when? How much?
Create an optimization model with equations.
Create an excel model.
Solve the model and get the optimal mix of financing options.
Make a dashboard that shows the base case above and the following
scenarios on top of that base case: (i) What if Net Cash Flow in January were
-200 (instead of -145)? (ii) What if the limit on the credit line were increased
from $120K to $200K and then again to $300K? (iii) What if the negative Net
Cash Flow in January is due to the purchase of a machine worth 145 and the
vendor allows part or all of the payment on this machine to be made in June
at an interest of 3% for the 5-month period?1
Quick Peak on Grading Strategy: Accuracy: 70% points, Creativity/Exploration of
Perspectives: 30% points.
Slightly modified from: Optimization Methods in Finance by Cornuejols, G. and Tutuncu, R. Carnegie Mellon
University (2006).
Project 2: Operations/Marketing
Flight Delays
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics
(BTS) tracks the on-time performance of domestic flights operated by large air
carriers. Summary information on the number of on-time, delayed, canceled and
diverted flights appears in DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, published
about 30 days after the month’s end, as well as in summary tables posted on this
website. BTS began collecting details on the causes of flight delays in June 2003.
Summary statistics and raw data are made available to the public at the time the
Air Travel Consumer Report is released2. Is there a marketing strategy you can think
of to appease the passengers?
The data might require some cleaning and organizing. Here are the details on what
each variable means:
Year: Year of the flight trip
Month: Month of the flight trip
Day: Day of the flight trip
Day of Week: Day of the week of the flight trip
Airline: Airline Identifier. A file with details is on your canvas
Flight Number: Flight identifier
Tail Number: Aircraft identifier
Origin and Destination Airports: Self-explanatory
Scheduled Departure Time: Planned departure time
Departure Time: Wheel off – Taxi out
Departure Delay: Total delay on departure
Taxi Out: The time duration elapsed between departure from the origin
Wheels Off: The time point that the aircraft’s wheels leave the ground
Scheduled Time: Planned time amount needed for the flight trip
Elapsed Time: Air time + Taxi In + Taxi Out
Air Time: The time duration between wheels off and wheels on time
Distance: Distance between two airports
Wheels On: The time point that the aircraft’s wheels touch on the ground
Taxi In: The time duration elapsed between wheels on and gate arrival at the
destination airport
Scheduled Arrival: Planned arrival time
Arrival Time: Wheels On + Taxi In
Arrival Delay: Arrival Time – Scheduled Arrival
Diverted: Aircraft landed on airport that was out of schedule
Cancelled: Flight cancelled (1=cancelled)
Air System Delay: Delay caused by air system
Security Delay: Delay caused by security
Airline Delay: Delay caused by the airline
Late Aircraft Delay: Delay caused by the aircraft
Weather Delay: Delay caused by weather
The data you have is for two months of 2008. There is a later dataset of 2015
available online in case you are interested. There is also 4 more months of 2008
available. This is just information, not even a suggestion. Your analysis is your take
on the data. You can, using this information only, produce something compelling.
If the question/hypothesis you have needs more information, then foray into that
If the file is too big for your machine, copy and paste different columns/rows as per
the direction of your analysis into different excel files. For example, you can
separate the January and February data into different files.
Your analysis should be summarized in a final dashboard sheet. That will be your
final product.
Quick Peak on the grading strategy: Correctness: 35% points, Creativity/Exploration
of Perspectives: 65% points.
Project 3: Tourism
Visitor Accommodations in Hawaii
Hawaii maybe at the tipping point of “overtourism”3
While most U.S. travelers are excited about Southwest Airlines’ 28 daily flights to
Hawaii that will become available by the end of May, many in Hawaii are concerned
how the influx of visitors will affect the island if a plan is not put in place to
accommodate them.
“We’re not at a crisis point yet. We’re at a tipping point. We have so many visitors,
we need to get serious about creating management programs,” Frank Haas told
WFAA. Haas is a travel industry veteran who is the former marketing director at the
Hawaii Tourism Authority and the former Assistant Dean at the University of Hawaii.
Haas, James Mak, a professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii and Paul
Brewbaker, an economist for the Bank of Hawaii, wrote a nine-page white paper
last month detailing how Hawaii has failed in managing its tourism.
The white paper begins: “Despite a string of record visitor arrivals now totaling
almost ten million annually, Hawaii tourism shows signs of trouble.”
“Hawaii tourism is at risk both for its ability to maintain an acceptable quality of life
for residents, quality of experience for visitors, and economic vitality for the state.
Hawaii tourism has been negatively affected by rapid growth, diminishing
economic contributions and the lack of a comprehensive tourism management
plan,” it added.
The white paper focused on the over-tourism of the state and explained how even
with more tourists visiting the islands, they’re spending less and less money, which
isn’t good for the economy.
“While ‘over-tourism’ has become a buzzword, resident concerns about ‘too many
tourists’ often stem from specific ‘hot spots’ of congestion that have not been
effectively managed,” the paper explained.
“We wrote about what a lot of [local] people are already thinking,” Brewbaker said.
With the new Southwest Airlines flights, Hawaii is expecting to receive 4,000 more
people a day and the governor is slightly concerned about this.
“We definitely are concerned about managing the number of visitors we have here.
We are definitely working to do that,” Gov. David Ige, D-Hawaii, said. The Hawaii
Tourism Authority passed on the opportunity to be interviewed.
The Southwest routes are not entirely bad for Hawaii, according to Mak and Haas.
“So, the focus is now trying to attract more high-spending visitors,” Mak said.
“First-time visitors spend more than repeat visitors,” Haas said. “Part of what
Southwest [Airlines] brings to the party is bringing in visitors from relatively
different markets—the San Jose’s of the world, where we’re more likely to get firsttime visitors.”
“If [Southwest Airlines] attracts first-time visitors from these smaller markets, it’ll
be good for us. The other aspect for Southwest coming to Hawaii is basically the
benefit of competition on inter-island travel. We basically only have one carrier,”
Mak said.
Now that Hawaiian Air has some competition with Southwest, Mak predicts
Hawaiian Air will drive down their inter-island air transportation prices, which will
entice locals to travel among the islands, as well as their flights from stateside
states which could help tourists spend more money when they arrive to Hawaii.
All in all, Brewbaker, Haas and Mak are calling for a state level plan for tourism,
something that’s not in effect now, but could assist with over-tourism and take full
economic advantage of the influx of visitors.
Mak said, “I think what we’ve done is sow the seeds. It may take a decade before
we see change.”
Taking you away from the current, you have been provided a dataset from 2011
from: also has other datasets on the economics of the region that is so
heavily dependent on their tourism industry. The column descriptions are in the
Grading Strategy: Creativity and exploring the data to find insights: 75%,
Correctness: 25%
Build a dashboard with the relevant information. That will be your final product.
Project 4: Public Administration
Bike Usage in London
London’s public bike-sharing scheme, Santander Cycles, is available 24/7, 365 days
a year. There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes in
circulation across London to help you get around quickly and easily. The scheme
includes south-west London, so now you can saddle up anywhere from Shepherd’s
Bush to Canary Wharf, and Wandsworth Town to Camden Town.
Santander Cycles bikes are available for hire at the docking-station terminal with a
bank card or contactless payment card. Getting started is easy: simply hire a bike,
ride it where you like, then return it to any of the hundreds of docking stations
across the city.
It costs £2 to access the bikes for 24-hour bike access, and the first 30 minutes of
each journey is free. Longer journeys cost £2 for each additional 30 minutes.
Remember, if you aren’t using a bike, dock it. You can hire a bike as many times as
you like within the bike access period you have purchased.
When you’ve finished your journey, just return the bike at one of the many docking
stations across London. Cycle hire docking stations are located across nine London
boroughs and in several Royal Parks in Central London.
If you want to hire a bike for a full day or longer, it may be cheaper to rent it from
one of London’s many bicycle-hire companies4.
Your data has total number of hires of the Santander Cycle Hire Scheme, by day,
month and year – Data for each day since the launch on 30 July 2010.
Grading Strategy: Creativity and exploring the data to find insights: 35%,
Correctness: 65%
Build a dashboard with the relevant information. That will be your final product.
Quantitative Business Analysis
Spreadsheet-based analysis and modeling for data-driven decision making that ranges from forming
competitive business strategies to powering operational tactics. Learn techniques that support descriptive,
predictive and prescriptive analysis that assist in problem-solving and organizational growth.
Course Objectives:
Technical Learning: Learn and apply spreadsheets to acquire, manage, edit, and prepare structured data sets
from raw data. Run and interpret descriptive statistics and KPIs, and visualize the findings. Apply
predictive and prescriptive analytics onto data sets to forecast and optimize business outcomes, and enable
high-value solutions. Model structured and unstructured decision problems.
Conceptual Learning: Thinking beyond just facts and methods. A successful student will develop the
understanding and the ability to apply mathematical ideas to existing and new business contexts.
Conceptual Thinking: Learning by doing. Ability to identify the root cause of a problem and thoroughly
understand it by identifying patterns, connections, or behavior and how analytics can provide answers that
require more than common sense. Identify opportunities to create value through analytics.
Problem-solving Skills: Recognize situations where quantitative analysis can contribute to a solution of a
problem, define the scope, generate ideas on ways to reach the solution, consider possible techniques that
can be used (internally or externally with consultants) to solve, evaluate, execute, communicate clearly and
strategically, and re-examine.
Communication / Presentation Skills: Learn to coherently communicate and build a telling presentation of
the results and their interpretations in a business context with a professional tone.
Prerequisite: Quantitative Methods for Business [Math 106] and Sophomore standing.
Text: Business Analytics: Data Analysis and Decision Making, by Albright, Winston, and Zappe, 4th ed.
[South – Western CENGAGE Learning, 2013]. ISBN 9780538476126.
Business Analytics: Data Analysis and Decision Making, by Albright and Winston, 5th
ed. [South – Western CENGAGE Learning, 2013]. ISBN-13: 978-1133629603 ISBN -10: 1133629601.
The book will be available on reference at the USF Gleeson Library
You may buy the book, rent it, or buy electronic copies of the needed chapters. However, you may have to
buy the access to the files and add-ins. The easiest way to do so is to go to and enter the ISBN number then
add it to your cart.
Grading: In accordance with the school’s grading system and policy each student will receive a grade from
A+[4.0] to F [0.0]. These grades will be determined based on the following:

Individual Homework
Group Homework
Pop Quizzes
Class Participation
Final Project
Grading Scale: A+: 97; A: 94; A-: 91; B+: 88; B: 85; B-: 82; C+: 79; C: 76; C-: 73; D+: 70; D: 67; F: 0
Exams: Midterm and Quizzes are closed books and closed notes. You are allowed a one page cheat sheet
during the Midterm. The tests will be a combination of multiple choices and problem solving. Students
must bring their own calculator or laptop. All exams have a written and computer component. Students
shall not share their books, notes, and electronic devices during the exam. Students shall also not
communicate with each other using email, chats, social media, cell phones, or any other means of
Quizzes: Unscheduled quizzes will be given to ensure students are keeping-up with the reading and
homework. These quizzes are designed to test your conceptual clarity. They will be multiple choice tests
that may or may not require computations.
eHW Saving: Always save your individual HW file as follows: LastFirst name HW#, for example:
SmithChrisHW2. Always save your group HW file as follows: Group name HW#, for example:
SmartTeamHW3, followed by the names of all people who contributed to it. Students will have HW
assignments to be completed in Excel, or as instructed. Students must upload the HW file to the CANVAS
Assignment. All HW shall be deposited by the midnight of the day its due, any HW deposited late will not
be accepted.
Your homework assignments might include analysis of the results in addition to producing the numbers.
The students are encouraged to be creative in those sections. Background research toward the topic will
also be rewarded. In group HW, if two groups submit the same or near same (in content, format, and analysis)
assignments, both groups will be penalized and will receive a zero.
Spreadsheets and Microsoft Excel: Spreadsheets provide a very flexible environment for analyzing data
and modeling decision problems, and more decision makers have access to spreadsheets than specialpurpose software. One of the most useful skills that a manager can have is expertise in the use of a
spreadsheet program.
I use a recent Windows Excel version in class. All students must have access to Microsoft Excel 2013 or
2016 on their personal laptop/notebook. We will be using Excel 2013 during class, Excel 2010 may work
for you but the features may not be the same making it harder for you to follow along in the class. Excel
for MAC is NOT acceptable as the non‐standard user interface differences make collaboration and
mutual support very difficult. Note that spreadsheet add-ins do not work with Mac.
Technology Requirements: It is important that you get habituated with Excel. Usage of calculators is
allowed but not encouraged. I will be communicating with all the students through their USF emails only
(announcements, homeworks, and instructions included). Groups are allowed to collaborate with each other
through any platforms or portals. However, you are required to ensure that you submit the individual or
group assignments in the suggested format and file nomenclature.
Tutoring: I have a Teaching Assistant available for helping you through any issues you may have. Their
availability is listed on the first page of this Syllabus.
Consultation: I encourage that you seek the help of my TA or me in case of any issues you have with the
course or the material. It is not surprising that students struggle with courses, however communication is
key. Please do not wait to ask for help. In addition to the office hours, I will be available by appointments.
If you have specific queries, feel free to email as well. I will ensure a quick turnaround.
Attendance and Punctuality: Students are expected to attend classes regularly. The exams, quizzes, and
homework might refer to concepts that are not in your text and were covered in the class. Attending classes
will generally be an effective use of your time (3 hours in class every week can save numerous hours at
home where you might struggle on your own). You are required to be physically prese …
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