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 is an open enrollment program. Application is not required. Course registration is complete when payment is processed. Upon registration, a representative of Wake Forest will contact you to validate the registration information and to assist in fee payment. 

Register Now

Additional Program Information

Jordan Goldmeier

Jordan is an internationally recognized analytics professional and data visualization expert, author, and speaker. He is Chief Operations Officer at Excel.TV, a Microsoft analytics training and consulting company. He is the author of Advanced Excel Essentials and Dashboards for Excel. Past clients include NATO Training Mission, the Pentagon, Principal Financial, and H&M. Jordan once used his Excel skills to save the Air Force $60 million dollars.

His work has been cited by and quoted in the Associated Press, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and American Express OPEN Forum. He was previously an Excel MVP Award holder for six years where he had the chance to provide feedback and direction to Microsoft product teams.  Jordan also volunteers time as an EMT in his community.

This is a two day program, participants must attend both sessions in full:

  • December 2, 2020 – 8:00am -12:00pm
  • December 3, 2020 – 8:00am – 12:00pm 

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 – 8:00 – 12:00

  • Virtual ice breaker / technology testing / etc.
  • Session 1: Descriptive Statistics in the Organization
    Descriptive statistics are often considered the first place to start when moving into analytics. At first glance, they might appear as the least interesting part of the analytics ecosystem. Yet they form the backbone of most analytics and, unlike machine learning and data science, most analysts, even those without quantitative backgrounds, intuitively understand descriptive results. In this session, we’ll explore descriptive analytics and identify how they represent the most important step in developing an analytics driven workplace.
  • Session 2: Business Uses for Descriptive Analytics
    What applications do business statistics have? In this session, we’ll review KPIs, data aggregation, extraction, analysis, visualization and data story telling.
  • Session 3 KPIs: Creating performance indicators that analyze problems
    In a world of uncertainty, how do you measure what’s hard to measure? This session will describe a framework for building descriptive analytics KPIs and communicating results.
    Case Study – developing KPIs to model a real-world business process
  • Session 4: Data Extraction
    How do you pull the most important information from your data systems? What is the best way to organize this data to make it easier? What tools can you use to get the job done? In this section, we’ll talk about how you can easily pull data to quickly form a model so that you can extract insights.
    Application & Demo – Using Microsoft Power BI to create a data model

Day 2 – 8:00 – 12:00

  • Session 5: Data Analysis
    Analysis is a large part of descriptive analytics. What types of analyses form descriptive analytics? How can you start analyzing the data you already have?
    Application & Demo – Using Excel to analyze your data
  • Session 6: Data Visualization
    What are the best ways to visualize data? How can you evaluate your own visualizations to ensure they communicate the right information?
  • Session 7: Data Story Telling
    Story telling is a major determinant as to whether or not data and analytical models have an impact on your organization. Without the ability to influence leaders and decision makers by telling the story, analytics is far less impactful. In this session, we will explore best practices on influencing with data.
  • Session 8: Bringing it all together
    In this last session, we will analyze a business case and use the tools of descriptive analytics to create value for your organization.
  • Case Study – Planning an effective descriptive analytics dashboard

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 About Us section of this website.