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What Math Classes Do You Need to Take in College for Business Management?

by Bill Reynolds, studioD

Business managers draw on some form of mathematics every day to help their organizations stay competitive and efficient. Math provides the foundation for skills crucial to success in the business world, such as sales research, budgeting and business modeling. Math courses for business management majors can vary, based on the particular college and the student’s chosen area of specialization, but some core math courses are commonly required for graduation with a business degree.


Students pursuing a major in business management will usually take some form of statistics as a degree requirement. Many businesses rely heavily on research and data interpretation in order to make sound, profitable decisions. In a business statistics course students typically learn how to measure general business tendencies and how to collect and present business-related data. College business statistics courses may also introduce students to computer software necessary for statistical analysis.


Algebra is the most commonly required math course for business management majors. Real-world business applications for algebra include payroll, taxes and insurance. This course often serves as a prerequisite for other required math courses associated with a business degree. Some schools, like the University of Iowa, require students to complete two years of algebra before they can even move on to a required pre-calculus course. Students can often complete some or all of their college algebra requirements in high school by passing AP algebra tests.

Business Calculus

Business managers often draw on calculus to help optimize profits while simultaneously minimizing production costs. Many schools, such as the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management, include business calculus or applied calculus as a prerequisite for enrollment in higher-level courses. Students can sometimes satisfy this requirement by taking AP calculus in high school and securing an appropriate score on the relevant AP exam.

Specialization and Elective Courses

As part of their degree program, business management students must take a number of courses to satisfy specialization and elective requirements. Some of these courses can complement earlier required math courses. Central Connecticut State University, for example, offers its business management students a variety of math-heavy specialization and elective courses including compensation and benefits, cost management systems, and managerial analysis and cost control.

About the Author

Bill Reynolds holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Rowan University. He has written hundreds of articles for print and online media, drawing inspiration from a wide range of professional experiences. As part of the UCLA Extension Writer's Program, he has been nominated for the James Kirkwood Prize for Creative Writing.

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