nl en

Decision and Risk Analysis (ICTiB&PS)


Admission requirements



This course provides an introduction to both stylized economics models and computer-based optimization models for decision making. The emphasis is on models that are widely used in diverse industries and functional areas, including finance, operations, and marketing. Applications will include production planning, product mix, portfolio optimization, new product launch, project management, among others. The applicability and usage of computer-based models have increased dramatically in recent years, due to the extraordinary improvements in computer, information and communication technologies, including not just hardware but also model-solution techniques and user interfaces. Twenty years ago working with a model meant using an expensive mainframe computer, learning a complex programming language, and struggling to compile data by hand; the entire process was clearly marked “experts only.” The rise of personal computers, friendly interfaces (such as spreadsheets), and large databases has made modeling far more accessible to managers. Information has come to be recognized as a critical resource, and models play a key role in deploying this resource, in organizing and structuring information so that it can be used productively.

Course objectives

The aim of the course is to help students become intelligent consumers of these methods. To this end, the course will cover the basic elements of modeling -- how to formulate a model and how to use and interpret the information a model produces. The course will attempt to instill a critical viewpoint towards decision models, recognizing that they are powerful but limited tools.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University student website

Detailed table of contents can be found in blackboard.

Mode of instruction

Seminar and We will use excel spreadsheets fairly extensively throughout the course. More specifically, we will explore the extensive optimization capabilities built in the spreadsheet.

Course Load

7 3 hour seminars

Assessment method

Individual and group assignments. For many of the class sessions, you will be asked to present your results in class and may receive bonus points for the assignments, depending on your performance. For the detailed weight, please check the syllabus on the blackboard.



Reading list

See Blackboard


You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator


Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo