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Mastering Excel Essentials to Enhance Business Value

Illinois Institute of Technology via Coursera


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This course is designed to cater to a diverse audience, particularly those with an interest in working in dynamic environments that place a strong emphasis on data-driven, quantitative analysis. Whether you are an experienced professional seeking to enhance your skills or someone looking to pivot into a cutting-edge industry, this course provides valuable insights and knowledge to thrive in today's data-centric and rapidly evolving landscape. This course is part of the Performance Based Admission courses for the MBA program. “Mastering Excel Essentials to Enhance Business Value” focuses on knowledge that is essential for corporate professionals. The course focuses on practical, real-world examples and provides step-by-step tutorials, quizzes, and practice exercises to build a strong knowledge base. By the end of the course, students will be equipped with essential Excel skills that can be applied to solve a wide variety of business problems. The course’s specific toolbox is fundamental for the following reasons. Spreadsheets are ubiquitous in today’s business environment. A corporate professional should be fluent in their use. Deploying Excel’s functionality to support model creation and analysis also enhances and reinforces students’ analytical skills and their ability to use information intelligently. In other words, the course’s toolbox will allow you to use Excel as a problem-solving tool, and also help you present your findings in a compelling and organized manner. Students will know how to design and create workbooks and worksheets for professional purposes that incorporate the following principles of spreadsheet engineering: Suitability for efficient analysis Readability (can be understood by a non-author) Transferability (to another analyst or user) Accuracy (computes the mathematical model without error) Reusability (can easily be employed again with different data) Modifiability (can be extended or adapted to new circumstances) The toolbox for this course includes lessons tied to understanding the basic core of Excel, data inputting, cleaning, formatting and manipulating, as well as navigating large data sets. We will also cover the use of essential Excel formulas and functions needed for professional success. More specifically, the course starts with an overview of Excel’s user interface, followed by how to create and manage spreadsheets that are error-free and easy to navigate. The course also covers important Excel functions that allow users to automate their analysis and to create compelling reports, including learning how to visualize your data using Excel’s graphing functionality. Software Requirements: Microsoft Excel Course Outcomes Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to: -Design and create workbooks and worksheets for coursework and professional purposes. -Effectively input data and efficiently navigate large spreadsheets. -Employ various “hacks” and expertly apply (the most appropriate) built-in functions in Excel to increase productivity and streamline workflow. -Organize, cleanse, manage and analyze vast datasets proficiently. -Generate engaging and informative Excel reports by leveraging best practices in spreadsheet design along with Excel’s charting functionality. -Apply the “what-if” analysis tools in Excel to conduct break-even analysis, conduct sensitivity analysis and support decision-making.


  • Module 1: Excel Foundations
    • Welcome to Mastering Excel Essentials to Enhance Business Value. In this course we will cover the topics of: Excel Foundations, Essential Excel Tools for Professional Success, and Presenting Information in Excel. In this module, students will establish a solid understanding of Excel’s interface and worksheet anatomy. They will become familiar with the Excel Ribbon, common tab features, and various navigation techniques. The module also covers data entry basics and introduces the concept of formulas. Students will gain proficiency in copying, moving, and hiding worksheets and cells, as well as entering basic formulas. Even if students have used Excel before, this module will teach them shortcuts and little-known features that will help boost their productivity. In Lesson 2 of the module, students will explore time-saving features such as Flash Fill, which uses predictive technology to transform messy data into proper data sets efficiently. They will learn how to leverage date functions and discover how defining custom lists and applying paste functionality can enhance their efficiency. The lesson also covers how to use Excel’s data validation functionality to reduce user input errors, and improve the report interface by displaying screen tips and comments. Additionally, students will dive into must-know formulas and functions, and learn how to handle errors and format outputs effectively in Lesson 3. Students will also learn about relative, mixed and absolute cell references. By understanding these different types of cell referencing, students can create robust and reliable reports, models, and data analyses. They can build spreadsheets that that require less manual effort and that minimize the risk of costly errors.
  • Module 2: Essential Excel Tools for Professional Success
    • In Module 2, students will gain the necessary skills to build models that accurately represent work situations and enable effective decision-making. Models enable us to test our assumptions, enhance our understanding, and make better-informed decisions. Students will develop an understanding that improved decision-making is a result of gaining deeper insights rather than solely relying on output values from a model. Students will learn how to apply logical functions (IF and Nested IF Statements) and utilize the “What-If Analysis” tools in Excel to perform break-even analysis and scenario management. By the end of this module, students will have a solid foundation in using Excel as a powerful tool for decision modeling and sensitivity analysis. In Lesson 1, students will explore essential modeling functions in Excel – IF statements, nested IFstatements, and logical functions are powerful functions for building models that abstract from real-world problems and capture the essence of business operational and planning problems. These functions allow students to dynamically update calculations based on changing conditions. For example, we can use IF statements to calculate different pricing strategies based on sales volume or apply different discount rates depending on customer types. In Lesson 2, students will delve into decision modeling and explore the “What-if Analysis” functionality in Excel. Students will learn how to create named cells and ranges to improve spreadsheet and model readability, which provide clarity and simplicity when working with complex models. Furthermore, students will learn how to use Goal Seek to determine the input value needed to achieve a specific goal or target output. For example, you can use it to find out what sales volume is required to reach a certain profit level. Students will become proficient in using Data Tables to analyze how changes in input values affect multiple formulas or calculations. And, finally, students will learn about Scenario Manager, which allows you to define different sets of input values and compare the resulting outputs, helping you evaluate various possibilities and make informed decisions
  • Module 3: Presenting Information in Excel
    • In this module, students will learn how to present information effectively using Excel. They will discover best practices for designing spreadsheets and explore techniques to define the look-and-feel of their work. The module also introduces Excel Tables as a time-saving feature. Students will explore the power of conditional formatting, as well as master custom rules, to create impactful reports. Student will also develop the knowledge to create effective graphs and visuals that effectively convey information. In Lesson 1, students will learn best practices for spreadsheet design. Students will learn about Cell Styles and how they can enhance the visual appeal and consistency of spreadsheets. This lesson also includes video segments focusing on formatting and referencing for Excel Tables. Additionally, students will master the use conditional formatting to create impactful reports, with videos covering different aspects and examples of conditional formatting. By the end of the lesson, students will have the skills and knowledge to design visually appealing spreadsheets and create compelling reports. Lesson 2 covers the art of communicating insights through Excel charts. Students will gain an understanding of the different types of charts available, including scatter plots, lines, slope graphs, bar charts, sparklines and more. Beyond mastering how to use Excel’s graphing functionality, students will learn will learn how to select the most appropriate chart type to effectively present their data, as well as how to actively declutter visuals, removing unnecessary elements that don't aid understanding, to convey data effectively and drive meaningful insights. By completing the "Mastering Excel Essentials to Enhance Business Value" course, students will acquire the necessary skills to leverage Excel as a problem-solving tool in a corporate setting. They will enhance their analytical skills, become fluent in using spreadsheets, and develop the ability to present information in a compelling and organized manner. Whether it's data analysis, modeling, or creating impactful reports, this course equips students with the essential Excel toolbox needed to excel in their professional endeavors.
  • Summative Course Assessment
    • This module contains the summative course assessment that has been designed to evaluate your understanding of the course material and assess your ability to apply the knowledge you have acquired throughout the course. Be sure to review the course material thoroughly before taking the assessment.

Taught by

Liz Durango-Cohen


4.3 rating at Coursera based on 15 ratings

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