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Student Review: IIMBx Statistics for Business

This review by Rodrigo Serrano was originally posted on ClassCentral. Rodrigo is a passionate digital learning professional based in Paris, France. Have you posted a review of your edX course? Let us know – email stories@edx.org.

Statistics for Business 1 is a superbly designed, spreadsheet-based course on introductory statistics and probability.

The truly practical approach of the course should attract just about anyone wishing to gain spreadsheet and statistically savvy for solving real business problems. The course is now archived, but you can still access the content and go through the quizzes. The faculty at IIMBx are considering re-running it, which would allow you to get a verified certificate.


I studied statistics and probability as an economics major. I remember being seriously turned off by the quickly escalating levels of abstraction during the lectures. I believe I am not the only one having endured the “chalk-and-talk” approach to learning these subjects.

A couple years later, I found myself working for a major online training provider. We had to go through data sets and figure out what the content consumption patterns of our customers looked like. After being at task for a couple days, I realized there were holes in my spreadsheet and statistical game. I was able to carry out a proper analysis with the help of my colleagues, but I became self-conscious about my skills.

A month later, I ran into the Statistics for Business 1 course on the edX platform, which promised to “examine data from the perspective of business scenarios”. I didn’t hesitate to enroll.

I didn’t know it that day, but I was in for a great ride.


Statistics for Business 1 is definitely demanding, yet no prior knowledge of statistics or spreadsheet manipulation is required. Week Zero provides sufficient practice and resources on the necessary spreadsheet skills (vlookup, pivot tables…). It is all uphill from there, but the faculty at IIMBx seem to have found the sweet spot between accessibility and challenge.


The course was designed by faculty at the Bangalore branch of the Indian Institute of Management, an academic powerhouse located in the “Indian Silicon Valley.” The main instructor is Professor Shankar Venkatagiri, a mathematician and computer scientist with broad business experience, a PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology, total command of his subject, and a very welcome sense of humor.

Dr. Venkatagiri guided us expertly through the tutorials. His crystal clear walkthroughs are coupled with helpful insights on how to correctly interpret our findings. Lisa, his brainy yet modesty-challenged assistant, added just the right amount of quirkiness to the course.


You will need a spreadsheet software such as Excel, Numbers or Calc. A good internet connection is necessary, since most of the information in presented in the form of video tutorials.

Due to its hands-on nature, it is not possible to take this course solely on a mobile phone. I personally recommend using two screens so as to follow the tutorials and carry out the exercises comfortably.


You will need a solid 5-7 hours per week for about 5 weeks to go through the course. You will get to practice all the material presented during the extensive, all-hands-on exercises that count for the final grade. By the end of the course, I had accumulated a good 40 hours of practice. Some of the exercises were challenging and I often had to re-watch big chunks of the lectures to be able to answer to a single quiz question. This is especially true for the final exam, which is no walk in the park.


Statistics for Business 1 is a hands-on, spreadsheet-based tour de force of a Mooc. It can help you seriously increase your spreadsheet, statistics and probability savvy and apply it to real business problems. I won’t hesitate to enroll in the next installment, Statistics for Business 2, available September 29th, 2015 on the edX platform.

IIMBx: Statistics for Business – Part 2 is now underway.