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University of Michigan

Decision Criteria & Applications

University of Michigan via Coursera


This course is an introduction to decision-making criteria widely used in the real world and will help you understand the foundational principles of how most organizations make decisions. This course is part of a specialization titled “Foundational Finance for Strategic Decision-Making” and is helpful if you are interested in applying to an MBA degree program or learning the foundations of finance to be more effective in your career.

This course is applied and problem-based with assignments that are intentionally introductory and simpler than real-world applications you will confront when making day-to-day financial decisions and in more advanced courses.


  • week 1: Decision Criteria
    • During this week, we develop a basic understanding of alternative decision criteria - Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Profitability, etc. - that are commonly used in the real world, with a focus on a critical evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Week 2: Decision Making - A Deeper Look
    • Having looked at multiple decision criteria last week, we will focus this week on a more deeper and critical analysis of the most widely used Criteria. Again, we will use examples to evaluate all issues. This week will also include the first graded assignment.
  • week 3: Cash Flows
    • This week we will introduce the basics of cash flows, one of two critical inputs to any value-creating decision. Some exposure to Accounting will be helpful and Ross School of Business also offers a MOOC on the basics of Accounting.
  • week 4: Applications of Cash Flows
    • This week is all practice of cash flows. You are encouraged to use a detailed Cash Flow Template to create one for yourself. This will require putting together a bunch of information in a Spreadsheet and learn how to do some financial modeling. You will then have to submit the second and last graded assignment for this course that will help you evaluate your skills.

Taught by

Gautam Kaul

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