Descriptive Analytics

Using the past to shape the future

Descriptive analytics is often considered the place to start when evaluating data and the historical insights needed to make effective business decisions. At first glance, descriptive data might appear as the least interesting part of the analytics ecosystem. Yet it forms the backbone of most analytics and, unlike machine learning and data science, most analysts, even those without quantitative backgrounds, intuitively understand descriptive results. Faculty will examine the synergies between data and the decisions we make, and by the end of the program, participants will comprehensively understand data collection and analysis, so the best data drives the best outcomes for your organization.

Faculty have designed this program for individuals and analytics teams to gain immediate and practical skills to solve pressing business problems and challenges.   We will analyze a business case and use the tools of business analytics to immediately create value in any organization. This program will be offered virtually with all content delivered online.

This program is part one of a series of three open enrollment analyst-based programs leading to a Certificate in Analytics for Analysts.  The 2nd program (Predictive Analytics) and 3rd program (Prescriptive Analytics and Optimization) will be offered over a period of three months to allow participants to earn their certificate quickly.   This is a unique multi-day deep dive across the entire analytics ecosystem and culminates in a short Analytics Capstone Project.  Please note: each program can be taken individually to gain critical knowledge and skills, or, combined as a certificate.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why descriptive analytics is the most important starting point in developing an analytics driven workplace.
  • How to build a “level set” and common language in your organization around descriptive analytics.
  • Understanding and application of data aggregation, extraction, analysis, visualization and data story telling as each relates to descriptive analytics.
  • How to develop a framework for building descriptive analytics KPIs and communicating results effectively to both internal and external customers.
  • How to quickly build descriptive analytics models so that you can extract actionable insights.
  • How to influence leaders and decision makers at your organization by telling an impactful story around descriptive data.

Who Should Attend?

The program is ideal for individuals and teams wishing to advance their careers and organizations.  Business analysts, data analysts, financial analysts, analytics managers, program or project managers, and other analytics leaders will be comfortable with the course content, pace, and challenge.

Although there are no pre-requisites, this course is best suited to those who have intermediate level experience in Excel.  Power BI experience is not required.

What You’ll Need for the Program

  • Students will need a laptop with Windows 8 or newer on it
    • Excel 2016/2019 or Excel for Office 365
    • Ability to download and save files
    • Power BI (if possible)

Program participants will receive files required to complete labs before each class day.

Registration and Payment Form

This program was offered in March 2021. There are no future dates set for the program at this time. If you are interested in information about upcoming workshops, please join our mailing list or reach out to

Additional Program Information

Jordan Goldmeier

Jordan Goldmeier is an internationally recognized analytics professional and data visualization expert, author and speaker. A former chief operations officer at Excel.TV, he has spent years in the data training trenches. He is the author of Advanced Excel Essentials and Dashboards for Excel, and currently working on this 3rd book, Becoming a Data Head (Wiley, 2021), on helping managers communicate, challenge, and understand data science with a common language and expectation.

Clients include NATO Training Mission, the Pentagon, Principal Financial, H&M, Wake Forest University, Stony Brook University, and Elementsix.

His work has been cited by and quoted in the Associated Press, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and American Express OPEN Forum. He is currently an Excel MVP Award holder, an achievement he’s held for six years, allowing him to provide feedback and direction to Microsoft product teams. He once used Excel to save the Air Force $60 million.

He is also a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.

March 9 and 10, 2021

8am-12pm, both days

Descriptive Analytics as a stand-alone program – $800


Certificate in Analytics for Analysts – $2,100 for all three (3) programs in certificate track.


The cost of the program is due in full at time of registration. Wake Forest University alumni, faculty, and staff receive a 25% tuition discount. If multiple participants are interested in attending from your organization, please contact us for multi-attendee discount information. Please contact for more details.

Descriptive Analytics is virtual!  Prior to the program date, a Zoom link will be provided to all attendees to access this instructor-led curriculum.

Day 1 – 8:00am – 12:00pm*

Fundamentals of Descriptive Statistics

8:00am – 8:30am                Introductions, Expectations and Course Outcomes       

This session offers faculty introductions and outlines Descriptive Analytics course expectations and outcomes. We’ll review the Capstone Project for those working toward the Certificate in Analytics for Analysts. Finally, we’ll discuss how to understand descriptive analytics broadly within the organization.

8:30am – 9:45am                Descriptive Statistics with Probability Models

Probability is the backbone of descriptive statistics. In this session, we will review the fundamentals of probability and what they mean when describing your data. This section will review commonly misunderstood terms and show you how best to work probability into your descriptive models.

9:45am – 10:00am               Break

10:00am – 11:45am             Data Visualization Principles with Examples

With an understanding of probability, we’ll discuss a key set of data visualization principles with content from Gestalt Psyhology and the Preattentive Attributes. We’ll analyze what charts do the best job to communicating data outcomes, and when it’s OK to break certain data visualizations rules.

11:45am – 12:00pm             Wrap Up and Q&A

At the end of day one, you’ll have all the analytical skill necessary to start modeling processes with dashboards.

Day 2 – 8:00am – 12:00pm

Data Management with Power BI

8:00am – 8:10am                 Brief Review Day 1 and What to Expect in Day 2

8:10am – 9:45am                Data Wrangling with Power Query in Power BI

Your data can come from anywhere. Tools like Power Query (which is part of both Excel and Power BI) help you combine data from files, servers—even the web!—to create tables or analysis. Power Query as a tool that can combine and clean any dataset.

Case study or hands-on exercise…

9:45am – 10:00am               Break

10:00am – 11:45am             Data Modeling with Power BI

Once data has been cleaned and turned into tables, you are ready to connect those tables as part of the data model. In this session, we’ll use Power BI to create fully functional models and dashboards built upon everything we’ve learned so far.

Case study or hands-on exercise…

11:45am – 12:00pm             Wrap Up and Q&A

At the end of day 2, you will have created descriptive models of business data, visualize results using the principles learned, and organize data into highly effective models leading to better business decisions and outcomes for your organization.


*All times provided are EST

Course materials are included in the cost of tuition. Course materials will be distributed electronically in advance of the program start date. Participants must have a laptop or tablet computer to access course materials.

This course is offered contingent upon sufficient enrollment. If a course must be cancelled, all registered participants will be notified at least five (5) calendar days before the course’s start date. All registered participants will receive a 100% tuition refund. No fees will be charged for cancelled courses.

For More Information

For more information, or to speak with a program adviser, please send an email to or visit the Contact Us section of this website.