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Strategic Modelling

  • Teacher(s):   A.van Ackere  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Spring Semester 2021-2022, 3.0h. course + 3.0h exercices (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Maîtrise universitaire ès Sciences en management, Orientation Behaviour, Economics and Evolution

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Marketing

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Business Analytics

    Master of Science (MSc) in Management, Orientation Strategy, Organization and Leadership
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The objective of this course is to introduce you to the use of simulation modelling to address strategic business issues. The method we will discuss provides a flexible and powerful approach to structuring complex managerial problems by focussing on the underlying structure and the interaction (feedback) between the different parts of the system. The key idea is that the events we observe are the consequence of various behaviours, i.e., the decisions we take. These decisions are in turn influenced by the structure of the system in which we operate. This approach is particularly useful when dealing with issues which exhibit behavioural complexity, i.e., situations with feedback between several factors which interact in a nonlinear way. While this method can be and has been applied to a wide variety of contexts, in this course the focus will be on business related problems.


The modelling process comprises three steps. The first one consists of identifying and representing the main feedbacks using causal loop diagrams. Based on these feedback loops, a deterministic simulation model is developed, which is composed of a system of stocks and flows, integrated into an information network, with the appropriate equations. The final step consists of simulating the model to gain understanding of the problem being studied. The focus of the course will be on learning by doing. We will start the course with a role playing game, known as the Beergame. The first part of the course will cover different aspects of the modelling process, which will be reinforce through exercise sessions. In the second part of the course you will apply the method to several case-studies. The final part of the course will be devoted to working on a group project. By the end of the course you should be able to identify an issue, represent the key feedbacks using causal loops, build a small simulation model consisting of the stock and flow structure and the information network, write the required equations, use the model to simulate different scenarios, and relate the simulation results to the model structure.

Note that the first 7 weeks of the semester we will meet twice 4 hours per week, while the last 7 weeks (revision, mid-term, and project work) we will meet only once a week.




Familiarity with algebra, derivatives, integrals.


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The course grade is based on a midterm exam (75%) and a group project (25%).


Written 2h00 hours
Not allowed
Not allowed

100% of the grade will be based on the exam.

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