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Rachel C.

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What are the best classes to take to explore the business side of math?

I plan on majoring in math and I would like to take a class to discover if I enjoy the business side of math? What is my best option of class to take to find out if I'd enjoy it? #math #business #career

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The best things that you can do to help answer this question are

  • get to know yourself better to see which area of business you might be best suited for based upon your personality traits as they relate to successful people in various areas
  • Talk to people in those areas of interest to see what math they use, what they do, how they got there, and what advice and suggestions that they might have for you.

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • Since you are interested in math, here are some good suggestions that will allow your to reduce the cost of your education: ## http://www.educationplanner.org/students/paying-for-school/ways-to-pay/reduce-college-costs.shtml ##
Last updated Sep 19 at 13:56

Hey Rachel,

Great question. Math has a lot of interesting applications and it is definitely worth exploring them to find what inspires you. A few pieces of advice:

  1. Ignore the personality and career aptitude test advice in Ken's advice. There is strong evidence that those tests actually do more harm than good (usually discouraging women and minorities from pursuing science, math, engineering and technology). Be curious and take the classes which offer great learning opportunities.
  2. The business side of math can mean many things. It can be finance, accounting, finance, data science, marketing metrics, supply chain logistics, etc. Take some time and do research into how math can be used in business. A couple of useful questions to help guide your research: are interested in strategy (checkout business consulting case studies like https://www.bcg.com/Interactives/ICL/), are you interested in used math to understand and predict customer behavior (check out sales and marketing), are you interested in business finances (checkout accounting and finance), are you interested in how business scale and grow (check out supply chain and logistics).
  3. If you are already in college, talk to your advisor to get suggestions good classes to take. If your college has a business school or business program, take a look at the course offerings and see if there is anything interesting. If you are unsure where to start, intro to business or intro innovation is a great starting place, as you'll learn more about the field in general.
  4. If you are still in high school, talk to your guidance counselor and see if there any opportunities for co-ops/internships with local business. Additionally, you may to also explore taking classes a local community college / college (if there are any nearby). My senior year of high school, I ran out of math classes to take and was able to enroll in a local college's Calc II course. My school would bus me out to take classes. So talk to your guidance counselor and see if there any opportunities.
  5. Finally, best to learn is by doing. Looking for internship opportunities and try to find internships that match the area of business you want to learn more about.

Best of luck!

Last updated Sep 19 at 16:41

The best classes are accounting, finance and statistics.  Also look at how math is relevant in your life.  Great question and I wish you the best.

Last updated Nov 09 at 09:24
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