If you want to get a degree in business administration, you probably already know that it can help you ascend the career ladder and gain credibility at work. However, like many Americans, you may be anxious about the math requirements. As many as 93% of the population experiences some level of math anxiety. For some, it’s enough to deter them from enrolling in the degree program of their dreams.
Don’t let the fact that a bad math teacher convinced you you can’t learn deter you from the right career path. A degree in business administration requires less math than you think.
How Much Math Is Required for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration?
Many students have terrible memories of high school or college math. Some even change their major to avoid certain math classes, or contemplate dropping out because of their anxiety about calculus or algebra.
As you contemplate going back to school, it may stir up bad memories of math classes of the past. You are not alone.
A lot has changed in degree programs, especially those targeting adults. Although you do need to know how to do basic arithmetic to start or complete your bachelor’s degree in business administration, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the math of college classes from your past is often nowhere to be found in the curriculum. Every school is different, of course, so it’s important to review the course load and assess whether you need to complete remedial math or any other college prerequisite.
At SNU, though, students who hate math routinely graduate with exceptional grades. Here are the math-related classes you’ll need to take:
This class helps you put numbers in context, rather than requiring a lot of complex calculations. You’ll learn how to read a profit and loss statement, understand the role of assets and liabilities, and gain a mastery of payroll and other common expenses.
Economics for Managers
It’s easy to feel intimidated by the complex economic factors that govern business success. The focus here isn’t on financial forecasting or the math behind economic trends. Rather, this curriculum helps you understand these trends so you can make sound decisions for your business.
Managerial accounting definitely requires math, but the focus is on arithmetic—analyzing expenses and profits, budgeting, and more. You’ll then learn how to use this information to predict the financial future of your business and make good decisions about payroll, raises, layoffs, and more.
Finance for Managers
This class looks at finance from the perspective of a manager, helping you understand corporate financial data. You’ll gain a basic mastery of financial planning and cultivate insight into the role financial management plays in thriving companies.
How Much Math Is Required for a Master of Business Administration?
In today’s business world, apps, calculators, and complex programs do a lot of the math for you. You’ll still have to put pen to paper from time to time, but what’s most important is not the math itself, but understanding what it means. Your masters in business administration (MBA) helps you learn how to respond to sudden profit losses, analyze how market trends may impact your business, and predict how interest swings could affect earnings and investments.
You’ll need to be able to do basic addition and subtraction, but complex algebra, geometry, and calculus are not part of this program. If you can listen, learn how to apply theoretical concepts to the real world, and review a few simple numbers, you can do the work.
SNU MBA students take the following math classes:
A good manager knows how to synthesize and analyze lots of data all at once. That doesn’t mean you have to master calculus or learn how to program a computer. Although this class introduces basic analytic concepts, the focus is on understanding what they mean, not complex calculations.
If you’ve heard that accountants are great at arithmetic, the title of this class may scare you away. The truth is that management accounting has little to do with math. Sure, you’ll look at numbers, but the real focus is on using data to help you make good decisions.
This course helps you understand how economic factors affect financial decisions. Rather than creating and analyzing your own data or requiring a lot of complex calculations, this course helps you understand how to apply the calculations you already have.
Financial management does require some simple math: You need to take in more money than you spend, allocate the right amount of money for employee salaries, and steadily grow profits. Don’t let that deter you, though. You can do all of this math with a calculator. The focus here is on being a good steward of finances and learning how to intelligently stretch a dollar.
Confronting Math Anxiety
If you’re considering going back to school, it’s important to weigh whether you have the time, energy, and cognitive resources to manage the workload. That doesn’t mean you need to panic about math.
Identify the Source
Math anxiety is real, and it’s important to consider where it comes from. Do you have a history of struggling in math classes? Did a bad math teacher convince you couldn’t do math? Did you leave college because of math difficulties? Identifying the source of the problem is critical for understanding how math anxiety may affect your degree in business administration.
Address It Step by Step
Next, think about what type of math makes you anxious. Almost everyone has some math they can do, whether it’s simple arithmetic or basic geometry. Start there. Identify your math skills, and assess which areas you struggle in.
Next, look at the courses for the program you are considering. In most cases, you might find that your math anxiety is a mere relic from the past, and not an indication that you’re doomed to fail your next math class. If you do find that you have some serious math deficits, there’s no reason to panic. The right tutor coupled with some remedial classes can help you get back on track faster than you might expect.
How Adult Degrees in Business Administration Courses Are Different
Adult business classes are a far cry from the college courses of your past. For one thing, you may not have to complete the same intro-level classes you once did. You’ll also be working with instructors who understand the challenges of adult learners, and who have specifically tailored their course offerings to offer greater flexibility. The goal is to help you graduate sooner, so you can go out and do great things in the world.
Don’t let bad memories from the past color your memory for the future. Math is just a tiny sliver of what you’ll need to master in your degree program. With the right support and help, you can do it.
To dispel more myths about a degree in business administration, to learn about potential career courses, or to assess whether an MBA is right for you, check out our free MBA Roadmap guide.