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Discussion on Quantitative Reasoning for Business Course

Nov 13, 2008 441 Words
Discussion on Quantitative Reasoning for Business Course
Self Reflection Paper


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 checked out by rational analysis by posing questions such as ‘Do the data support my hunch?’ Proceeding from rational analysis to intuition represents an ‘incubation’ sequence in which intuition provides an expertise-based or feelings-based validation for judgments arrived at through rational analysis (Sadler-Smith, 2004). In summary, quantitative training will probably benefit me by preparing me for the future courses in economics, finance, accounting, operations, and research (Quantitative Reasoning for Business Overview, nd). More importantly though, it will prepare me for the future ‘real world’ work, even when its direct usefulness is not as extensive as often believed its proponents.

Sadler-Smith, E., & Shefy, E. (2004, November). The intuitive executive: Understanding and applying 'gut feel' in decision-making. Academy of Management Executive, 18(4), 76-91. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Business Source Complete database.

Bagchi, A. (2005, July). The Place of Quantitative Methods in a Management Curriculum. Decision (0304-0941), 32(2), 107-111. Retrieved October 11, 2008, from Business Source Complete database.

University of Phoenix (N.D.) Quantitative Reasoning for Business Overview

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