How Much Math Is Required In Business Management? - What to Know


So many people find Math tricky. It’s one of those subjects that can be really important later in life, and it’s the skill that parents are more likely to pay for tutoring for.

If you’re wondering whether you could take a course in business management without having to do any math at all, then I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

But I am pleased to report that you don’t have a math wiz to pass a course in business management. Just a good, solid grounding.

Rather, the important math skill here is to be able to simply interpret data, so that you can make business decisions while taking the data into consideration.

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Table Of Contents

Using Math As A Business Manager

When you are working as a business manager, you will likely have a finance department or accountant to take care of putting the reports together, which is where the day-to-day math comes in.

However, business managers need to be able to understand certain financial statements, such as a profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

This is important because these are key documents that paint a picture of the financial state of the business, and they inform the manager, and anyone else who sees them, whether the business is making a profit or not, and how fluid the business is.

Business managers also need to assess different budgets and determine how much of the company funds can be allocated to various departments or projects.

Business managers also care about the productivity of their workforce, and need to be made aware of the business’ key performance indicators, also known as KPIs, which are usually represented numerically.

While business managers are rarely required to actually do the math themselves, because they have employees and software to do that for them, it is imperative that they understand what the figures mean. 

The figures in financial documents, budgets, and key performance indicator spreadsheets effectively tell a story. And it is only through understanding what the various figures mean for the business that a business manager can accurately assess the situation, and make decisions on any actions that need to be taken.

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But this doesn’t mean that a business manager has to stare at some spreadsheet full of numbers and do mathematical calculations.

Data is much easier to understand when it is presented visually, in the form of a graph, whether it’s a line chart, bar chart, or pie chart.

Such data can also be used to make projections into the future.

But more importantly, visual mathematical data can also be used to explain to other colleagues in the business how the business is doing, which is something that employees are keen to know.

With figures and graphical data, a business manager can plan ahead and determine such matters as business capacity planning and so on.

Knowing how well the business is doing is pivotal to knowing whether the business is doing well, or failing, or whether you can take on more staff, or if you need to change suppliers, or if you need more investment and so on.

Being able to look into how your competitors are doing through their published financial statements can also give a business manager great insight into what’s working for their competitors and what’s not.

So, some mathematical ability is crucial for working in business management, but the key skill here lies in interpreting data and using spreadsheet software rather than, for example, being good at mental arithmetic.

Due to the necessary element of math in business management roles, as you may expect at this point, business management courses often have prerequisites, whereby students are required to have already achieved passes in mathematics classes previously.

Let’s expand on that…

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Business Management Course Prerequisites

Business management courses can differ in how strongly they lean towards accounting and financial matters. And as you may imagine, such courses will require greater mathematical ability and greater grades in the subject.

One of the more popular courses in business management would be a bachelor’s degree in business management. And as with any degree at this level, this requires complying with the general education requirements.

To be accepted onto a business management degree, you will need to produce evidence of some good, solid mathematical understanding and ability.

Some pure math classes are essential, classes on statistics will also prove very valuable, and of course you will need to be able to do some basic algebra.

There are some business management courses that also require knowledge of calculus from their students, but not all of them do.

If, however, you were thinking about doing an MBA, that may be a different story. The higher the education level of the course you go for, the more math tends to be required. For example, MBA's may require knowledge of calculus.

As a general rule, the prerequisites for business management courses will vary according to what the various modules are that make up the course.

And that leads us nicely onto our next section.

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Areas Of Business Management Where Math Ability Is Handy

Financial management and financial accounting are typically featured as one of the core modules in their line-up, and this will certainly require a good grasp of math and data interpretation.

There are also other elements of business management courses that will also require math, such as economics and operations.

Many business management degree programs also enable students to specialize in their preferred industry.

But even in this instance, there’s no getting away from having to be able to understand math.

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Wrap Up

So, in summary, business managers do need to have a good understanding of math in terms of being able to understand financial statements and reports, budgets, and business key performance indicators.

And, whatever business management course you wish to do, there’s no getting away from the fact that there will be math.

What’s more, you often need to have taken math classes previously before you can be accepted onto the course.

Moreover, the greater the qualification you want to attain in business management, the more likely it is that a greater mathematical ability will be required.

Knowledge of math and how to solve mathematical problems is certainly valuable for business management, and also for life in general. If you are unhappy with your ability in math, and wish to pursue business management then this is something you need to address.

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How Much Math Is Required In Business Management? - What to Know
James Wilson

After graduating from McCombs School of Business in Texas, James joined ThePayStubs as a CPA to make sure the numbers we provide our clients are correct. Read More

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