Business mathematics

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Business mathematics is mathematics used by commercial enterprises to record and manage business operations. Commercial organizations use mathematics in accounting, inventory management, marketing, sales forecasting, and financial analysis. Mathematics typically used in commerce includes elementary arithmetic, elementary algebra, statistics and probability. Business management can be done more effectively in some cases by use of more advanced mathematics such as calculus, matrix algebra and linear programming.

High school[edit]

Business mathematics, sometimes called commercial math or consumer math, is a group of practical subjects used in commerce and everyday life. In schools, these subjects are often taught to students who are not planning a university education. In the United States, they are typically offered in high schools and in schools that grant associate's degrees; elsewhere they may be included under Business studies. The emphasis in these courses is on computational skills and their practical application, with practical application being predominant.

A (U.S.) business math course might include a review of elementary arithmetic, including fractions, decimals, and percentages. Elementary algebra is often included as well, in the context of solving practical business problems. The practical applications typically include checking accounts, price discounts, markups and Markup, payroll calculations, simple and compound interest, consumer and business credit, and mortgages and revenues.

University level[edit]


"Business Mathematics" includes mathematics courses taken at an undergraduate level by business students. The two most common mathematics courses taken in this form are Business Calculus and Business Statistics.

These courses are usually focused on problems from the business world, and the syllabus is adjusted correspondingly. Thus for example, whereas in a regular calculus course students would study trigonometric functions, courses here would not typically cover this area. Correspondingly, these courses typically do not go into the same depth as standard courses in the mathematics or science fields. (Although see Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Business Science.) Programs often include a separate module on interest calculations.

Note that economics majors, especially those planning to pursue graduate study in the field, are encouraged to instead take regular calculus, as well as linear algebra and other advanced math courses, especially real analysis.


At the postgraduate level, generalist management and finance programs include quantitative topics which are foundational for the study in question - often exempting students with an appropriate background. These are usually "interest mathematics" and statistics, as above. MBA programs often also include (basic) operations research and may combine the topics as "quantitative analysis"; MSF programs cover applied econometrics.

More technical Masters in these areas, such as those in management science and quantitative finance, will entail a deeper, more theoretical study of the same, and further advanced topics such as mathematical optimization and stochastic calculus. These courses are not considered as "Business mathematics" per se.

Graduate economics programs often include "quantitative techniques" — when mathematical economics is not required — which covers the above topics, as well as (applied) linear algebra and multivariate calculus.

See also[edit]


  • Brechner, Robert. (2006). Contemporary Mathematics for Business and Consumers, Thomson South-Western. ISBN 0-324-30455-2
  • Dowling, Edward (2009). Schaum's Outline of Mathematical Methods for Business and Economics, McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0071635327
  • Wegner, Trevor. (2010). Applied Business Statistics: Methods and Excel-Based Applications, Juta Academic. ISBN 0702172863