I’m terrible at math..is an MBA in reach?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Maniac Craniac, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    You could also consider a MPA, masters in public administration. AFAIK it is the MBA of the non-profit/public world. If you are not comfortable with the profit motive, you may be more comfortable in a program run by the political science department than the business school. Check out Valdosta's MPA. They have a DPA as well.

    Public Administration Front Page

    The MPA does have a quantitative course though.

    Thomas Edison State College's MSM requires no math.
    Thomas Edison State College/ Master of Science in Management/Leadership
  2. DistanceGrad

    DistanceGrad New Member

    No, I am trying to help anyone who reads this. I did not make my comment because I had to do math. I personally do not care about such pecking orders. If you are to succeed at a higher level in a corporation or other organizations that have any sort of quantitative focus, you need great math and statistic skills. If not, you will be a mediocre player and lost most of the time. In the last 25 years I have been a senior vice president or above in three fortune 10 companies. No one would be at this level without great math skills. If you are, you are fortunate, but I guarantee you are missing a great deal. So, not doing the math is up to the individual... it works well for poets and artists I suppose.
  3. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    Its funny how people can say "I'm bad at math" and others laugh, smile and feel closer to them. If the same person says "I can't read" they are looked at as if they are a moron. I see this all the time on the morning news. When they bring in an expert in finance, the anchor almost always mentions how bad he is at math as if to make others feel better about their own lack of math skills.
  4. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    Emphasis mine in the above quote.

    While I'm slightly less interested in the original question now than I was (having decided a different master's will be more likely for me), I still have to say your post is more hyperbole than solid data, facts or experience. What kind of work crossed your desk that required these math skills?

    I will say this: I can imagine there are situations where heavy financial, costs of sales, engineering or logistics analysis would require you to know high-level math-- e.g. sales forecasting, certain kinds of inventory projection, investment math, etc. But you'd have to be pretty high up in the chain and/or in specific roles to need these. Most folks going for MBA-type degrees in middle-tier schools are shooting to hit the next rung in an average small-to-medium size organization, and will thus not need to have the quantitative type focus highlighted above. But then, admittedly, some of these folks might be better served by degrees in leadership or management anyway.

    And I will say here that I am indeed seeing less of an emphasis on quantitative skills in B&M MBA programs lately, having read up on some well-regarded schools near me. That doesn't necessarily mean these skills aren't needed or useful, but it does support my prior assertion that the emphasis is shifting-- not just in DL, but in B&M programs as well.
  5. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I agree. Recently I was watching a panel session on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education. Two top level administration (OSTP) officials stated they were no good at math so they became lawyers. I would say they were innumerate.
    [I think poor math education in K-12 probably accounts for math phobia in most people.)]
  6. lovetheduns

    lovetheduns New Member

    Maybe it is relative to the programs you have been reviewing. I opted to not do my MBA through distance learning-- I chose an executive program. All of the schools I reviewed (Duke, UNC, BU and a few others such as Cornell that were way out of what I wanted to spend) still placed an emphasis on quantitative skills-- especially in the first few courses of the programs.

    Do I think I will use that skills continuously in my chosen line of work? Not everyday for sure, but I believe that the method of thinking, the ability to broaden your mind to think in a more quantitative mindset has tremendous value.
  7. dl_mba

    dl_mba Member

    If you need a quick/no-math/easy still accredited MBA, go with the private-online-only(.edu) universities. There is no math, no GMAT, you dont have to buy any text books some do not want you to participate in Discussions. I passed a couple MBA classes in one of these schools with a 'A' without buying any books. I dont want to mention the names of schools here.
  8. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    I have something of a different opinion on this. First, if you skip the GMAT, GRE, etc. you may still find yourself neck deep in mathematics even though the school is open enrollment. My story was I jumped into Ashford’s MBA program and one of the “pro” factors was that I didn’t need a GRE or GMAT score to get in. They also have a leveling course that I took to better my chances of passing their mathematics courses. Although their MBA program was open enrollment, they did not pull any punches on the coursework and I’m guessing we lost close to half of our class size by the end of what Ashford students call the “quantitative hump” (which is Quantitative Methods, Managerial Accounting, Managerial Finance and Managerial Economics one after the other). I myself made a 38% on my first quiz and quickly realized I was in WAY over my head. I had to hire a tutor (a first for me) to get caught up to speed and spent hundreds of hours studying and trying to learn the basics at the same time I was expected to “apply” my knowledge strategically. It was horrible and exhausting and truthfully a GMAT or GRE would pale in comparison. So if you’re scared of an entrance exam, the actual program will horrify you.

    As for applied mathematics at work, I work as a project manager/analyst for an IT department. Part of what I do involves accounting and part of what I do involves statistics. In fact I am constantly using math at work and after accepting my new job (I changed careers) one of my first tasks was to apply statistical models to data to later create info graphics. I was given this task on my team because A.) I was an analyst and B.) because I had an MBA and quantitative analysis is supposed to be one of our “hard skills”. You might do yourself a professional disservice if you earn an MBA without having solid quantitative skills after the fact; generally this is what separates an MBAs from other management related degrees.

    If you are still bent on getting the MBA credential without really doing all the math, try St. Joseph's College of Maine. They are math light, leadership heavy (which I personally like but wish they had at least 1 more quantitative course). Good luck.
  9. GeeBee

    GeeBee Member

    That's my cue. Here's my story.

    I thought I was bad at math. I majored in Art my first time around, and dropped out without finishing. Then, through a very odd set of circumstances, I ended up in a job with lots of statistics involved.

    Eventually I got interested enough to "peek under the hood" and try to understand where the stats came from, instead of just reading the reports that the software spits out. Then I decided a degree would be useful. Now I've gone from "bad at math" to a math major, with a 4.0 average.

    Oh, by the way,when I signed up for that pre-calculus Trigonometry course at the local community college, I was 52 years old.

    I've always been very interested in science. I wonder how different my life would have been, had it not been for a certain high school geometry teacher who convinced me I was "bad at math?"

    Oh, another by the way: taking two classes per semester, I'll probably finish my BA when I'm 57 years old. And I'll probably go on to earn a master's, which I'll probably finish when I'm 62. But hey, I'm going to be 57 anyway, I might as well be 57 with a math degree!
  10. Skooby

    Skooby New Member

    I'm leaning towards Indiana Wesleyan University.

    Anyone have any experiences with them?
  11. lovetheduns

    lovetheduns New Member

    I would say one program that my school provides for all incoming students for the first year (as do many other really strong MBA programs-- check out their news and see who all uses them) is MBAMath.

    You can find them at MBA Math Quant Skills

    I believe the entire program (if your school does not pay for it) is 149.00 and provides per my understanding up to 40 hours of instruction in the accounting, stats, finance and economics that you will be expected to know. Everyone I interviewed with during my interview on-site spoke very highly about it and advised I make sure to go through all of it prior to class.

    I don't have any affiliation with him-- unless you count that when I receive my admissions packet I will have a code or something to sign up for the exam.
  12. MissShona

    MissShona New Member

    This question (the quantitative rigor of MBA programs) seems to come up a lot. In fact, I remember how at my open house for my MBA program, a prospective student practically grilled the Dean about the rigor and passing rates (as well as his own apprehension about math) for the required statistics class. He was practically freaking out about it (as in it would make or break his decision to pursue an MBA...depending on the Dean's responses)!

    I myself was good in math in high school; but I went on to pursue a vocational degree and then a liberal arts degree....neither of which required advanced math courses. However I did get Calculus I & II under my belt because I was an engineering major for a while. So I sort of had misgivings about the quantitative rigor of an MBA as well. Especially since my GMAT score was not the greatest (560 combined....I did much better on the verbal!).

    Because I had a business minor, I was able to waive the core accounting and economics classes. However I still had to deal with the quant-heavy courses of Statistics, Operations Management, Managerial Accounting and Finance. All of these courses were challenging for me. However they were not impossible in the end. But yes, I did have to allot a good bit of time to them and really hunker down and make sure I was fluent on the basics (such as finance formulas and accounting rules).

    Thankfully the math in most MBA programs is geared towards a group of students who colleges know are not math majors (the exception to this would be MBA programs that are known for being very quantitative in nature...like the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University). Therefore there are a lot of "tools" available to help you be successful. All of the aforementioned courses in my program (except the accounting course) had software that we would use to help do the bulk of the crazy math computations. The ultimate focus is not to spend so much time on number crunching, but to be able to obtain figures and interpret them in order to make sound business decisions.

    My suggestion is that you look at the MBA programs that you are considering, take into account their requirements as far as program pre-requisites (i.e. is calculus required or not required for admission), and look into the required coursework. For example, my MBA program required 6 credits of Statistics...but I know of other MBA programs that only require 3 credits.

    But it would be inaccurate and unfair to tell someone that the math in MBA programs is a breeze. Some people are good at using math as a tool in order to answer organizational problems (do you like solving problem questions on math tests?). MBA students need to be at least competent in this area.
  13. lovetheduns

    lovetheduns New Member

    You bring up some good points. I am not particularly enamored with math. I have had statistics before-- when I trained as Green Belt in Six Sigma we also did some statistics work and I used portions of it in my daily job for a few years. With that said-- going through my statistics homework in prep for January-- it is still... rather scary. *lol*

    I think quantitative skills are very good to have-- and I think any MBA program should have a degree of those classes required.

    My program gets it out of the way-- the bulk core courses in the first module. And will also say-- that from everything I have seen the professors, administrators, etc REALLY want the students to do well. They provide A LOT of resources to help you get extra help, etc.

    I will say the MBA Math program I am doing-- I feel it is giving me the extra confidence needed to get ready to begin the actual coursework.
  14. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'm good at Math. I don't know why that's true, it's just true. I GET IT and, in part I owe my career to the fact that I'm good at helping others understand the numbers. Right now I'm playing with the idea of getting a Masters degree in Statistics or Research Methodology.

    But I understand this is not true for everyone. Some people just aren't good at Math. It's a brain thing and not directly related to general intelligence. There is an MBA program for people who would like to focus on other areas. It's offered by St. Joseph's College (Maine). The focus is on leadership and critical thinking. Check it out.

    Online MBA Degree - Leadership MBA - Master in Business
  15. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I think your could parlay a Master's in Statistics into a very lucrative position as an adjunct at several schools.

    I don't "have it".....whatever it takes to "get" math, I just don't have it. I can bang-out a 10-15 page research paper in a single night with no problem, but ask me to count to 11, and I practically have to kick-off my shoes.

    I've survived (barely) 2 graduate statistics courses (with more on-deck), and during the last one, I held up the textbook and remarked to a classmate "If I were in prison for Murder 1, life with no parole, and spent the rest of my life reading this book, I still wouldn't understand it".
  16. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    How old will you be two years from now if you DON'T learn calculus?
  17. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    While there are lots of different styles of learning, in the end, math is just logic (or is it that logic is just math) It's just a set of rules and while it may be more intuitive to some as opposed to others, they are rules can be simply memorized, just as one might meorize a poem or any other text.
  18. Petedude

    Petedude New Member

    Easy for you to say. :)

    From what I've seen of math teaching, the problem lies in being able to explain the rules while working through the mechanics of finding a solution. If someone can find a way to do both without boring students to tears it'd be helpful. The closest thing I've seen to that so far are the Idiots books.
  19. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    The hardest part is learning the proofs.
  20. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I do not understand why hard-to-understand text books are used to teach statistics when there are many very understandable books available. I still have my degree textbooks and very rarely use them preferring other texts.

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