University of Houston MBAs Put the DecisionTools Suite to Work

University of Houston MBAs put the DecisionTools Suite to Work
When people talk about leverage, they are most likely talking about financial instruments or mechanical advantage. But when Phil Rogers talks about leverage, he could very well be referring to the use of powerful PC software. Phil teaches Managerial Decision Making to MBA candidates at the University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College of Business where most of his students are managers with industry experience—and this is where leverage from software comes in.

These students need analytical tools that offer both a short learning curve and the ability to accurately model their real-life problems. Phil uses Palisade’s DecisionTools Suite in the classroom because “the leverage you get by using these tools in Excel is phenomenal. My students can very quickly learn and apply the techniques they see in class to difficult decision-making problems faced by their firms.”

To complement the quantitative analysis provided by the DecisionTools Suite, Phil uses a stand-alone tool called Expert Choice, which is excellent at dealing with the more qualitative objectives and criteria that go into the decision-making process.

Given their industry experience, students in Phil’s decision-making classes have current problems they are dealing with on which they can use the newly learned tools and techniques. One team of students developed a model to find the optimal allocation of 1,000 turbines to five wind farms. Students working for a major oil company optimized the frequency of scheduled plant shutdowns. Yet another student, working for a giant natural gas enterprise, determined the most cost-effective use of its inventory in the face of uncertain demand for gas and the changing spot price for gas. And another student, working at one of Houston’s largest hospitals, developed a model to determine the optimal deposit for the hospital to collect from patients undergoing organ transplant operations given uncertainties in insurance coverage and the ultimate cost of the procedures.

Perhaps the students in greatest need of the “leverage” this software offers are the managers from Sinopec and CNPC, the two largest petrochemical companies in China. As part of their Executive MBA program offered in Beijing through the C. T. Bauer College of Business, these students have three days and evenings to learn the material normally taught over a semester back in Houston and, on the fourth day, to present the results of their application of what they have learned to decision-making problems they currently face. Phil reports, “They are able to do it, solving significant business problems.” And, he points out, that couldn’t happen without real leverage.

» Read the full case study
» More about the University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College
» More about Phil Roger's Executive Education program

@RISK ...the leverage you get by using these tools
      in Excel is phenomenal. My students can
      very quickly learn and apply the techniques
      they see in class to difficult decision-
      making problems faced by their firms.
Trial Versions

                           Dr. Phil Rogers,
                           University of Houston

Recent School Adoptions

Over 60,000 students use the DecisionTools Suite annually in their MBA and graduate level programs. In 2012, over 800 universities worldwide adopted the DecisionTools Suite. Professors in business, engineering, OR, and other fields keep their students on the cutting edge by teaching the latest analytical techniques from Palisade. Some major schools with programs and courses that standardized on the DecisionTools Suite last month include:

US and Canada:

  Appalachian State University
Arizona State University
Bradley University
Cornell University
Dakota State University
Dalhousie University
George Washington University
Louisiana State University
Michigan State University
Mount Saint Mary's University
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Rice University
Simon Fraser University
University of Colorado, Denver
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Maryland University College
Yale School of Management
Appalachian State University
Arizona State University
Bradley University
Cornell University
Dakota State University


  Antwerp Management School - Belgium
City University London - United Kingdom
Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH - Germany
Hochschule f. angew Wissensch. FH Ingolstadt - Germany
Hogeschool Rotterdam - Netherlands
International Institute for Learning - Mexico
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals - Saudi Arabia
National Institute of Construction Management and Research - India
Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile - Chile
Postech University - Korea
Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum - Germany
The American University in Cairo - Egypt
TU Delft - Netherlands
Universidad de Murcia - CEEE - Spain
Universidad ESAN - Peru
Universidad Europea de Madrid - Spain
Universitaet Duisburg-Essen - Germany
ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule f. Angew.Wissensch. - Switzerland
Licensing Options

There are three easy ways to get the DecisionTools Suite for your students:


Course Licenses available from Palisade. These are economical, annually renewing bulk licenses for both
network lab and laptop installation. Palisade offers a complimentary Live Web Training session to all instructors who order a Course License.
» Learn more

Student Versions from Palisade. These are 12-month versions available for purchase individually by students through either the Palisade web site or the school store.
» Learn more

Textbook Editions available bundled with textbooks.
These are time- and model-limited licenses.
» Learn more

Get DecisionTools Suite 6 for your course by contacting:

AddressPalisade Academic Sales    
800-432-7475 / 607-277-8000

@RISK I just wanted to deeply thank you for the
      opportunity to be part of the @RISK
      Decision making training. It definitely
      fulfilled all my expectations, and the
      Palisade instructor did a great job. As we
      share a common background, he
      approached the different topics in a very
      clear and practical way, using real life
      examples. I really enjoyed the training
      and walked out of those 2 days with a
      clear road map understanding the
      software capabilities, I am sure I will
      use it in the near future, I already have
      a couple of challenges in which @RISK is
      going to be very helpful.
Trial Versions

                                   Julio Franco, MS Project Management,
                                   Northeastern University

Teaching Tips & Examples

The DecisionTools Suite is a great way to present quantitative techniques in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. Each month we feature an example or tip illustrating how students can gain "real world" benefits by implementing quantitative analysis.

Evaluating Projects With
Different Variances

Excerpted from @RISK Bank Credit And Financial Analysis,
by Roy L. Nersesian, published by Palisade

In the “good old” days, projects were evaluated in terms of their most likely returns. Aside from considerations in business strategy, if project A had a return of 8% and project B a return of 9%, then the latter would be preferred. @RISK permits project evaluation in terms of both risk and reward. Suppose that two projects provide the same return, but have different variances. The probability distribution of outcomes for projects A and B can be described by normal distributions with a mean of 10%. However, project A has a standard deviation of 1% while project B has a standard deviation of 2%. Project B would be considered the riskier project because it has a higher probability of yielding a lower level of return than project A even though both projects have the same average return.

Palisade Download the example spreadsheet and
    step-by-step instructions

Tech Tip of the Month

@RISK Bootstrap Analysis
A bootstrap analysis provides distributions and statistics for fitted parameters and goodness-of-fit statistics.

When a bootstrap analysis is run, a distribution is generated for the values for each parameter in the fitted distribution. A bootstrap is performed by sampling a set of values from a fitted distribution and refitting those values. Each fit in the bootstrap generates a new value for each fitted parameter of the distribution type. For example, for a Weibull distribution type, a distribution is generated for the alpha parameter and the beta parameter. A distribution of these values is displayed with along with values for the selected confidence interval. The confidence interval allows you to make statements such as “you are 95% confident that the alpha parameter is in the range 1.48 to 1.91, with a fitted value of 1.67.”

When a bootstrap analysis is run, a distribution is generated for the Goodness of Fit Statistics for the Chi-Square, Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Anderson-Darling tests. Each fit in the bootstrap generates a new value for the Goodness of Fit Statistic and, after the bootstrap, a distribution of these values is displayed with along with a P-value. The P-value, which can be read from the delimiter on the graph, ranges from 0 to 1, with values closer to 1 indicating a better fit. (Conversely, a Goodness of Fit Statistic closer to zero is a better fit.)

» See more in the @RISK manual

Textbook of the Month

The DecisionTools Suite is included in dozens of major textbooks, and is a key component of more titles every year. Authors use the DecisionTools Suite to illustrate key analytical concepts and build examples demonstrating the value of quantitative techniques in business, OR, and engineering.

Project Economics & Decision Analysis:
Two Volume Set
Published 2011, By M. A. Mian

This comprehensive set provides all the necessary concepts of capital investment evaluation, capital budgeting, and decision analysis, particularly in oil and gas. Mian takes the reader step-by-step through the decision-making process, providing comprehensive coverage of all decision analysis tools currently available while outlining how investment decisions are made under different stages of risk. Further, he focuses on practical application, using a straightforward approach with solved “real-life” examples and solutions, end-of-chapter problems, and illustrations throughout the book. Volume 1 includes deterministic models, while Volume 2 deals with probabilistic models and the concepts of decision analysis (incorporating risk and uncertainty as applied to capital investments). Volume 2 also contains Excel spreadsheets (detailed cash flows and calculations) of all the examples in the two volumes and DecisionTools Suite software.

» Learn more from the publisher
» See a list of books bundled with Palisade software

Featured White Paper

Professors, PhD candidates, practitioners and others often use the DecisionTools Suite as part of a complex analysis to address important problems. These analyses are published in white papers. Each month we will feature a different academic white paper addressing a wide range of issues.

A Case Study of Fall versus Spring
Calving for the Rocky Mountain West
By Brian A. Strauch, Dannele E. Peck, and Larry J. Held,
University of Wyoming

Feeder cattle prices are generally lower in the fall, when the volume of calves for sale is highest. Most ranches in the Rocky Mountains calve in March or April, which results in the sale of weaned calves in October, when feeder cattle prices tend to be lowest. This study was initiated with the idea that a rancher might improve profitability by switching to fall calving, which would enable them to sell calves in April at a higher price. In this study, fall calving generated both higher and less variable profit, but mainly because of cost savings.

Most cow-calf ranches in the Rocky Mountain West (including eastern Utah, western Colorado, and Wyoming) are spring calving operations, with calves typically born in March or April. Seventy-four percent of ranchers surveyed in Wyoming (Nagler, et al.), for example, classified their operations as spring calving. Most ranchers in this region also sell their calves at about the same time of year (usually in October), which reduces feeder cattle prices relative to times when fewer calves are on the market.

The seasonal pattern of feeder cattle prices for various weight classes (Figure 1) confirms that calves can be sold for higher prices (on average) in the spring than in the fall, particularly for calves in the 400- to 700-pound weight classes. This creates a question as to whether ranchers could increase their profits by calving in the fall (August/September), which would enable them to sell calves for higher prices the following spring (March/April). Many producers care not only about the magnitude of profit, however, but its variability as well. Differences in the variability of prices associated with spring versus fall calving systems (Table 1) might therefore be important.

Palisade  Read the full paper here


The Academic Global Leader in
Risk and Decision Analysis
Palisade is the world’s leading provider of risk and decision analysis software and solutions. Founded in 1984, its products @RISK and the DecisionTools Suite are used by over 95% of the Fortune 100, in nearly every industry around the world. Palisade is headquartered in New York State, and has offices in London, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo.

What is The DecisionTools Suite?
The DecisionTools Suite is the world’s only integrated set of risk and decision analysis programs. The Suite includes @RISK for Monte Carlo simulation, PrecisionTree for decision trees, and TopRank for “what if” sensitivity analysis. In addition, DecisionTools Suite comes with StatTools for statistical analysis and forecasting, NeuralTools for predictive neural networks, and Evolver and RISKOptimizer for optimization. All programs work together seamlessly, and all integrate completely with Microsoft Excel for ease of use and maximum flexibility.

The Suite is offered in three affordable and flexible licensing options for those in academia: Student Versions, Course Licenses and Full Academic Versions.

» Schools using Palisade software
Textbooks using Palisade software

Story to Share?
How are you using Palisade software in your classroom, lab, or field work? Let us know by answering a few brief questions. Please send replies to

  • Your name, title, institute, and field of interest.
  • How long have you been using Palisade software?
  • Which Palisade software do you use in your class/lab/field work, and what is the course name (if applicable)?
  • What problem(s) do you address with the software?
  • How does Palisade software help you and your students?
  • Any other comments.

In This Issue

» Univ. of Houston MBAs
   put the DecisionTools
   Suite to Work

» Recent School Adoptions

» Licensing Options

» Teaching Tips &

   Evaluating Projects With
   Different Variances

» Tech Tip
   @RISK Bootstrap Analysis

» Textbook of the Month
   Project Economics &
   Decision Analysis:
   Two Volume Set

» Featured White Paper
   A Case Study of Fall vs.
   Spring Calving for the
   Rocky Mountain West

» About Palisade and the
   DecisionTools Suite

» Story to Share?

Keep in Touch

PalisadeClick to chat live with
a sales representative

2013 Palisade Risk Conferences
These events include industry experts presenting a selection of real-world case studies, practical software workshops and training classes presented by Palisade trainers, consultants, and software engineers. Also, be sure to sign up for an Expert Session, in which you can have an expert review your model and answer questions, one-on-one, at no charge!
» Santiago de Chile:
   19 March

» São Paulo: 21 March
» Johannesburg: 25 April
» Tokyo: 14 May
» Shanghai: 16 May
» London: 11 June
» Frankfurt: 13 June
» Las Vegas: 20-21 November


» Training Seminars
Auckland: 22-23 May
Perth: 19-20 June
Kuala Lumpur: 3-4 July
Sydney: 10-11 July
Melbourne: 17-18 July
Brisbane: 7-8 August
Adelaide: 21-22 August
Bangkok: 11-12 September
Hong Kong: 16-17 September

Brasilia: 3 - 7 junho

London: 4-6 June
Paris: 10-12 June
London: 16-18 July
London: 17-19 September
Munich: 24-26 September

Latin America
Bogotá: 4-6 de junio
Santiago: 25-27 de junio

North America
Calgary: 4-6 June
Portland: 19-20 June
Toronto: 25-27 June
New Orleans: 8-9 July
Cincinnati: 9-10 July
Houston: 16-18 July
New York City: 30-31 July
Calgary: 6-8 August
Boston: 13-15 August
Chicago: 27-28 August
Atlanta: 10-12 September
San Francisco: 17-19 Sept.

» Live Web Training
Decision-Making and
Quantitative Risk Analysis
using the DecisionTools Suite

11-12 July, 1pm-5pm ET
9-10 Dec., 9am-1pm ET

1- 2 August, 1pm-5pm ET
19-20 Dec., 9am-1pm ET

Decision-Making and
Quantitative Risk Analysis
using @RISK

31 Oct. - 1 Nov., 1pm-5pm ET

14-15 Nov., 1pm-5pm ET

Project Risk Assessment
using @RISK

18-19 Sept., 1pm-5pm ET

Trial Versions

Palisade software is available in fully functional trial versions. Try @RISK or any of our software today!

The DecisionTools Suite
The complete risk and
decision analysis toolkit

» English
» Español
» Português
» Deutsch
» Français
» 日本語版
» 中文版

The world's most widely
used risk analysis tool
@RISK» @RISK for Excel
@RISK» @RISK for Project
@RISK» @RISK for Six Sigma

Visual decision analysis
for spreadsheets

Sophisticated neural networks for spreadsheets

Advanced statistical analysis for spreadsheets

The Innovative Optimizer
for Windows

Microsoft Certified Partner

Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

©2013 Palisade, visit

798 Cascadilla Street, Ithaca, NY 14850 USA, +1 607 277 8000
Palisade Brasil
Av. Presidente Vargas 435, Sala 501, Centro, Rio de Janeiro CEP 20071-001, +55 (21) 2586-6334
Palisade Europe UK Ltd
31 The Green, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7PN, UK, +44 1895 425050
Palisade Asia-Pacific Pty Limited
Suite 404, L4, 20 Loftus Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia, +61 2 9252 5922

Palisade Asia-Pacific, Tokyo Office
〒 150-8512 東京都渋谷区桜丘町 26-1 セルリアンタワー15F 電話 03-5456-5287