It’s a common misconception that online MBA students are not required to take the same courses as their on-campus counterparts. The truth is the curriculum for the online MBA option is often identical to the on-campus program. The only thing missing is commute to class. This means that whether you are taking courses part-time, full-time, evenings and weekends, on-campus, hybrid or 100% online, if an MBA program requires statistics, you will have to take statistics.
So why is statistics so important? According to Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, “statistics merely means studying data and learning something from it,” so “no matter what area of business in which you work, you can be sure that data collection will play a role in your success. Even small businesses collect data about their customers. But it does no good if business owners are not able to use the data your company collects to improve operations. A few simple skills involving the foundations of quantitative reasoning will go a long, long way in the future success of your business ventures and goals.”
Depending on the MBA program, the content and title of the course may vary. However, all have many of the same goals. One of the main goals is to develop better decision-making and problem-solving skills through statistics.
A good example of what to expect is the “Probability & Statistics” course at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. A required course for the Duke Fuqua MBA program, P&S is described as one of the most challenging MBA courses for students. Per the school, the goal of the course is to “learn how statistics can be valuable in managerial decision-making and to provide an appropriate foundation in probability and statistics for subsequent Fuqua courses” such as Economics, Marketing, Finance, Operations Management, Decision Models, and many electives throughout the program.
The Duke Fuqua MBA statistics course covers the following concepts:
- Introduction to probability, conditional probability, and random variables
- Sampling, sampling distributions, estimation, and prediction
- Statistical dependence and relationships among variables
- Simple and multiple regression
- Time series and forecasting
Another good example is the required “Data Analysis & Statistics” course at Labovitz School of Business and Economics at University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). The MBA program also requires successful completion of “Fundamentals of Applied Statistics.”
The objective of the Data Analysis & Statistics course is to “make students more intelligent consumers of statistical information. As a result, the emphasis of this course will be on the appropriate and inappropriate use of research designs and statistics. At the successful completion of this course, MBA students should:
- Have improved statistical thinking abilities, involving the identification and exploitation of variation in decision-making and problem solving.
- Have an understanding of the research process and possible errors and biases in data collection.
- Be able to generate and use basic graphical and numerical descriptive methods and interpret basic estimation and testing procedures.
- Be able to critically evaluate reports presenting statistical data, and translate and communicate the results of statistical analyses to organizational managers.
Though MBA statistics courses are similar school to school, there are some differences. For example, some MBA programs will require certain prerequisites before enrolling in the course. Others, such as Fuqua, state that, “you do not need to understand statistical concepts before taking the course.” But because statistics is considered one of the most difficult MBA courses, undergraduate classes such as algebra, calculus, math, and yes, statistics, can certainly make the coursework less complicated.
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"Data Analysis & Statistics." Labovitz School of Business and Economics. University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.
"Statistics." Duke's Fuqua School of Business. Duke University, 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.
"Yes, You’ll Have to Take Statistics." Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Online. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, 02 Sept. 2015. Web. 20 June 2017.