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Quantitative Methods Preterm
Quantitative Methods

“Through and through the world is infested with quantity:

to talk sense is to talk quantities. It is no use saying the nation is large - How large? It is no use saying radium is scarce - How scarce? You cannot evade quantity. You may fly to poetry and music, and quantity and number will face you in your rhythm and your octaves.”

Alfred North Whitehead


Situations often demand managers to take important decisions. A “professional” manager constructs an objective analysis after factoring in all the quantitative and qualitative aspects from a business angle. She then places her findings and proposals before her team. The team’s decision is translated into concrete steps with potentially organisation-wide impact.

Quite straightforward, right? However, such a logical process is rarely witnessed in reality. Managements cite a variety of reasons: the situation is a dire emergency, the execution is too personality-driven, the team lacks technical sophistication, etc. All of this may be true, but there is simply no excuse for managers to take impulsive decisions, especially when they have adequate time and resources at their disposal.


The world around us is governed by predictable patterns: consider the movement of stocks or the demand-supply balance for commodities sold in a market. The theories and tools of mathematics are sufficiently powerful to help you detect, model and examine the patterns. By developing a positive attitude towards the subject at the very start of your MBA journey, you will better appreciate deeper issues in finance, operations, marketing and strategy.

This pre-term course on quantitative methods (PQM) aims to strengthen your foundations, so you can better analyse business situations. We achieve this with a two-stage approach:

we shall first cover the basics in each area and then discuss some relevant applications. PQM reinforces concepts that you may have already encountered in your prior education. The course serves to allay any irrational fears that you may have about the subject with a careful use of interactivity during our sessions.


Understanding quantitative material demands its pound of flesh. The objectives of PQM can be achieved only if you set aside adequate time - about two hours for every session. Put another way, walk into class unprepared and there is precious little you will take away. There are many books that cover this material, in addition to the supplied slides.

There are lots of references available at the IIMB Library on the topics covered by PQM. This is the age of the Internet. Suit your style, pick a site, and then go through it. Here is one that I recommend:


Quantitative Methods


Managers who reason quantitatively tend to cast their business problems in an appropriate mathematical framework. Once this is accomplished, software packages like Excel usually help them arrive at a solution. Consequently, I appreciate your formulation of a problem much more than arriving at an answer efficiently.


Topic (Hours)


Preliminaries (8)

Set theory, induction, equations, roots, polynomials, quadratics, inequalities, functions, domain, range, Cartesian form of lines, planes and conics, logarithm and exponential, trigonometry

Linear algebra (4)

Systems of linear equations, Gauss elimination, matrix form of linear systems, matrix inversion, determinants, linear optimisation (using Solver)

Calculus (6)

Sequences, AP, GP, series, limits, continuity, differentiation, integration, partial derivatives, convex and concave functions, unconstrained and constrained optimisation, Taylor series

Statistics (10)

Descriptive data analysis with spreadsheets, probability, conditionality and independence, Bayes theorem, random variables, Binomial, Poisson & Normal distributions

Faculty Profile

Poisson & Normal distributions Faculty Profile Shankar Venkatagiri is an assistant professor of

Shankar Venkatagiri is an assistant professor of Quantitative Methods & Information Systems at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. Since 2002, he has handled courses in statistics and software project management. Each year, he teaches a preparatory course aimed at beginning MBA students.

Shankar currently researches in educational technologies, open source software and software processes.

Shankar began his career with Sapient Corporation, Cambridge, where he consulted with clients in the energy and healthcare sectors. He moved on to develop bandwidth-efficient Internet applications at Curl Corporation, an MIT spinoff. As a senior consultant with Reuters Consulting, he worked with brokerage firms and banks as a solutions architect.

An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, University of Southern California and Georgia Tech, Shankar holds a doctorate in mathematics and a masters degree in computer science.