MBA Course spotlight: Quantitative Methods for Managers

Quantitative methods MBA studentsLimestone MBA students in class on-campus for Residency Weekend

If you are earning an MBA degree, you may one day be asked to estimate future growth of a business or evaluate if and when a new product may become profitable to your company. For this reason and more, one of the required courses for students pursuing an MBA degree at Limestone College is MA550 – Quantitative Methods for Managers.

Taught by Professor Stephen Fast, this course offers a practical application of quantitative analysis methods used to inform business decisions. Topics studied in this course include breakeven analysis, basic probability and probability distributions, time series analysis and forecasting, linear programming, and queuing models.

“The course offers students an opportunity to improve their quantitative skills and to develop understanding of quantitative reports that they may encounter in a management [position],” says Dr.Fast.

Though all MBA program coursework is completed online, students will have an opportunity to attend collaborative sessions — using Blackboard Collaborate — two evenings per week. These sessions will provide an opportunity for students to see examples worked out and have the instructor explain problems. While students are required to participate in at least two online sessions, they can also catch up on any missed sessions by watching the recordings.

One significant component of this course is the case problem group project, worth 25 percent of a student’s final grade. Each group will include four students – as assigned by the instructor — and will be required to solve a problem and submit a narrated PowerPoint presentation presenting their work. In addition, students will also submit a separate report demonstrating how they’ve worked through their analysis as a team.

Having taught this course for almost five years, Dr. Fast notes that students often enjoy the case project in particular due to the collaborative nature of group work and interaction with their peers. In addition, students are able to further develop their knowledge of Excel — a valuable skill to have in many real work projects.

When asked what piece of advice he would give to students registered to take this course, Dr. Fast said: “Plan on putting in a good deal of time in the course… Plan on attending the BlackBoard Collaborate session two evenings per week, if possible, or spending time watching videos of the BlackBoard Collaborate sessions.”

This course is based on the book Quantitative Methods for Business, 13th edition, by Anderson et al.  An e-version of the book will be available to students via CengageNOWv2 learning system.