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How math-intensive is an MBA?

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How math-intensive is an MBA? [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2014, 19:03
I'm not sure if an MBA is the right fit-- my interests lie more in the people management side of business; I'm not really interested in accounting, finance, and economics, although they are obviously an important part of business.

My experience is in healthcare (nursing), and I'm interested in the fields of management consulting, organizational development, process and quality improvement, and healthcare risk management. I am wondering if a degree in industrial/organizational psychology and/or organizational development would be a better fit, but I don't want to pigeonhole myself-- MBA seems like a much broader degree with more options career-wise. Also, lacking business background will likely make me a less appealing candidate than those who have it. But, the whole process seems like a huge investment, particularly if I'm not excited about a fair to large chunk of the curriculum.

Any thoughts? Also, any resources/sites/reading you would suggest as far as helping to decide if b-school in general is a good fit?

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New post 01 Nov 2014, 09:58
fallfoliage1 wrote:
I'm not sure if an MBA is the right fit-- my interests lie more in the people management side of business; I'm not really interested in accounting, finance, and economics, although they are obviously an important part of business.

My experience is in healthcare (nursing), and I'm interested in the fields of management consulting, organizational development, process and quality improvement, and healthcare risk management. I am wondering if a degree in industrial/organizational psychology and/or organizational development would be a better fit, but I don't want to pigeonhole myself-- MBA seems like a much broader degree with more options career-wise. Also, lacking business background will likely make me a less appealing candidate than those who have it. But, the whole process seems like a huge investment, particularly if I'm not excited about a fair to large chunk of the curriculum.

Any thoughts? Also, any resources/sites/reading you would suggest as far as helping to decide if b-school in general is a good fit?


If I'm not mistaken, 3 of the 4 areas you listed require fairly strong quant skills.

If you're interested in management consulting, proficiency with numbers is an absolute must. If you struggle, or are slow with mental math and estimation, you will need to be exceedingly brilliant in other areas to be considered, especially at entry level (post-mba). Everything in business needs to be measurable. That being said, the math knowledge required is not very advanced. You're not going to be doing calculus or deriving formulae in MC. You will, however, spend many hours in Excel.

MBA programs differ a lot. e.g., MIT Sloan has a reputation of being very rigorous in math and fundamentals in economics. Wharton and Columbia are traditionally, at least by reputation, finance-heavy courses and therefore contain quite a bit of math and finance. However, Stanford is known to attract more of the "touchy feely" people, perhaps related to a (in)famous course nicknamed "touchy-feely". These are just some examples and I specifically used the term "reputation" because almost all schools are trying to offer an increasingly diverse list of courses to attract more than your typical corporate, banker and consultant profiles.

As a resource, check out the poetsandquants.com, and of course there is a wealth of info here on this forum too.

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New post 05 Nov 2014, 10:38
At most programs you'll need to take atleast one stats, finance, econ, and accounting class...but 3/4 of your classes will end up being electives, which you can fill with qualitative classes. Also, the math is absurdly easy - for stats in my schools, its all done by a program, so you just need to know the commands you need to use. Finance and econ are likewise not too complicated - finance is a handful of formulas, many of which boil down to discounting cashflows.

The MBA is NOT an academic degree, nor is it a quant degree. It's a degree that meant to mold you into a future business leader. It's much more conceptual and critical thinking than math related (most of the most of the math things are open book, they don't care if you memorize a formula, they care if you can understand and apply concepts). That said, to be a successful leader, there are certain quantitative aspects necessary. These are skills you need in business, once you get to a senior level at any job you need to understand these concepts to be successful. That said, its definitely not multivariable calculus, its functional real world stuff.

For you specifically, three out of the four careers (Especially MC) are very heavily numbers focused, so its double important for you to understand the numbers angle.

The hard part is getting a high enough quant score on the GMAT to get into a good school.

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How math-intensive is an MBA?   [#permalink] 05 Nov 2014, 10:38
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