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"MBA Math gave me a broad overview of the quantitative skills I would need to feel confident in the MBA environment. The program allowed me learn at my own pace and focus on the areas in which I had the most difficulty. The tutorials were very clear and the content was very applicable to my first year courses. MBA Math was an extremely efficient way for me to prepare for my first year of business school."

- Lenika D., McDonough (Georgetown) '08

"MBA Math allows me to study and practice when I can between work and family obligations and I find that most of my work is done in 30 to 60 minute sessions. Itís easy to pop in and practice with just a few minutes time. In fact, most of my study time has been while I travel, from various hotel rooms."

- Rick B., Fuqua (Duke) EMBA '08

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How Does MBA Math Get Students MBA-Ready?

Here are the main incredients of the MBA Math approach:

Strike a Balance Between "Too Little" and "Too Much"

The biggest challenge in designing and delivering the MBA Math course is to include the right topics at the appropriate level of detail. Too little and students get a false sense of security. Too much and they get bogged down, faced with the online equivalent of a bulging 1000-page textbook.

The MBA Math "Just Enough" Active Problem-Solving Approach

The MBA Math course, refined over more than ten years of teaching a 35-hour math camp to incoming first-year MBA students the week before Orientation, strikes that balance.
  • Exercise Driven: Students encounter a range of exercises drawn from first-year MBA quantitative courses.
  • Minimal Theory: Students review problem-solving approaches and techniques with a minimum of theory.
  • Solve Problems: Students spend most of their time solving problems. Not reading. Not listening passively. Wrestling with problems. Building spreadsheets. Computing answers. Actively.

Focus on Getting it Right Eventually Rather than Getting it Right the First Time

The MBA Math course covers 24 modular topics, each with its own quizzes and learning materials.
  • Pre-Quiz: Students start with a pre-quiz on a particular topic to establish their starting point. For some topics, the pre-quiz score may well be a big fat zero! There is no reason that a student would know about regression, for example, until he has studied it.
  • Study: Guided by their pre-quiz score, students then work through the teaching material and exercises until they understand how to solve problems accurately.
  • Post-Quiz: Students take a post-quiz when they are ready. If a student is not satisfied with the post-quiz score, she can continue studying and then take another post-quiz. As many times as needed to attain the desired proficiency.
You can browse the MBA Math topics below. For a clearer understanding of the MBA Math learning experience, click below to view the MBA Math demo in a separate window. Please get in touch if you wish to discuss MBA Math further.
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Course Summary (PDF format)

Excel Spreadsheets

Basic Excel worksheet techniques are covered in one topic. Additional topic-specific techniques are used in lessons covering the MBA topics below. Solutions illustrate basic functions implementing algebraic formulas and also the built-in functions (e.g., FV, NPV, VAR, STDEV, CORREL, RSQ, NORMDIST) that you will use most often in your MBA experience.

Financial Math

Familiarity with time value of money concepts, formulas, and spreadsheet solution techniques should be considered a prerequisite for your MBA experience. Because everything else in financial math is built on this foundation of shifting one cash payment at one time to its equivalent at another time, you should be clear about this before you start.

Annuities and perpetuities are the simplest smooth patterns of cash flows over time.

Bonds are a mixture of annuities and future values.

Net present value allows you to convert an irregular set of cash flows back to the present to compare one course of action with another. Such problems appear throughout the MBA curriculum.
  • Time Value of Money
    • Annual Compounding
      • Present Value
      • Rate
      • Number of Periods
      • Future Value
    • Sub-Annual Compounding
      • same as Annual plus:
      • Periods per Year
  • Annuities and Perpetuities
    • Constant
    • Growing
  • Bond Basics
    • Zero Coupon
    • Coupon
  • Net Present Value


Making sense of accounting requires a clear understanding of the three main financial statements and how these statements represent standard business transactions. The math is simple. The challenge lies in the logic, definitions, and conventions. Using Intel's financial statements as an example, you learn the basics about the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows.

After studying each financial statement separately, you then work on the connections among the three statements with a set of examples.

You use the balance sheet equation and t-accounts to characterize standard business transactions in terms of offsetting debits and credits . Finally, you apply what you learned with t-accounts to make appropriate journal entries.
  • Balance Sheet
    • Assets
    • Liabilities
    • Equity
    • Balance Sheet Equation
    • Transactions
  • Income Statement
    • Revenues
    • Expenses
    • Cash vs. Depreciation
  • Statement of Cash Flows
    • Operating Activities
    • Investing Activities
    • Financing Activities
    • Cash vs. Depreciation
  • T Accounts and Balance Sheet Equation
    • Balances
    • Debits
    • Credits
    • Transactions
  • Journals
    • Journal Entry Template
    • Debits
    • Credits
    • Transactions


Marginal analysis addresses the question of how much to produce to maximize profit, given specified costs and revenues. Problem statements and solutions involve either tables or formulas. You learn to distinguish among marginal, total, and average costs and revenues.

Supply and demand are the classic economics concept. You learn to create and interpret the classic linear "curves", compute the equilibrium point that maximizes profit and the corresponding consumer surplus. You examine market segmentation, and use demand curves as part of marginal analysis.
  • Marginal Analysis
    • Tables
    • Formulas and Calculus
  • Supply and Demand

Statistics and Probability

You start with basic summary statistics, which form the foundation. You then tackle statistics of linear combinations, which is a fancy way of saying stock portfolios.

Tables and graphs summarize raw data. You need to know how to make them and work with them.

Regression allows you to draw a best-fit line through a set of data points. You can do it visually or computationally. Both approaches are a snap using Excel.

The standard normal "bell curve" is the king of continuous distributions. You learn to work with continuous distributions in terms of intervals rather than points. Excel makes solutions a breeze but you may, depending on your MBA program, need to learn the z-table approach and its corresponding pictographs and conversions.

Sampling and inference extend the normal distribution to the Central Limit Theorem, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.
  • Basic Summary Statistics
    • Mean, Median, and Mode
    • Variance and Standard Deviation
  • Linear Combinations (e.g., Stock Portfolios)
    • Covariance and Correlation
    • Portfolio Statistics from Individual Stock Returns
    • Portfolio Statistics from Individual Stock Statistics
  • Discrete Probability Distributions
  • Linear Regression
    • Regression Line Equation
    • Prediction
    • Measure of Linearity
  • Continuous Distributions
    • Uniform
    • Standard Normal
    • Normal
  • Sampling (Central Limit Theorem)
  • Inference
    • Confidence Intervals
    • Hypothesis Testing

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