Discussion on Quantitative Reasoning for Business Course

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UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
Discussion on Quantitative Reasoning for Business Course
Self Reflection Paper

10/15/08

Discussion on Quantitative Reasoning for Business Course
For many years, the quantitative or mathematical approach to business problem solving was the cornerstone of MBA programs worldwide. The traditional approach has been a rational analysis: information is collected, collated, analyzed and interpreted, alternatives are formulated, and a logical choice is consciously arrived at (Bagchi, 2005). In practice this means: “the more information, the better; ‘cool and calm’ strategic thinking should not be ‘debased’ by feelings; efficient thought and behavior must be called upon to subjugate emotion” (Sadler-Smith, 2004). The Quantitative Reasoning for Business course would provide me with the prerequisites necessary to master the rational analysis.

In recent years, however, the usefulness of the quantitative analysis training for future managers has been put into doubt. The requirement for fast decisions and the limits of human beings’ rational information-processing capacities may combine to impose severe demands upon executives’ cognitive capabilities to handle masses of information at the necessary speed (Sadler-Smith, 2004). That is when intuition comes into play. Intuition is difficult to describe but easy to recognize. Many of us will be intimately familiar with our own intuitions and will probably be able to identify, and may even envy or admire, those individuals who confidently display a ‘gut feel’ for complex situations and who appear to have an ‘instinct’ for grasping key issues quickly. This quality can be nurtured through life experience.

The optimal solution thus, might be a combination of two approaches depending on circumstances. The relationship between intuition and rationality can work in two ways. For example, proceeding from intuition to rational analysis represents a ‘validation’ sequence in which gut feeling may be...
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