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Quantitative Methods: Should We Bother?

If you are reading this, chances are that you are on your way to becoming a manager. Or, maybe, you are striving to become a better one. It may also be the case that the very word manager sounds dreadful to you and conjures up images of unjustified bonuses; yet, you might be interested in how good management decisions should be made or supported, in both the private and public sectors. Whatever your personal plan and taste, what makes a good manager or a good management decision? The requirements for a career in management make a quite long list, including interpersonal communication skills, intuition, human resource management, accounting, finance, operations management, and whatnot. Maybe, if you look down the list of courses offered within master's programs in the sector, you will find quantitative methods (QMs). Often, students consider this a rather boring, definitely hard, maybe moderately useful subject. I am sure that a few of my past students would agree that the greatest pleasure they got from such a course was just passing the exam and forgetting about it. More enlightened students, or just less radical ones, would probably agree that there is something useful here, but you may just pay someone else to carry out the dirty job. Indeed, they do have a point, as there are plenty of commercially available software packages implementing both standard and quite sophisticated statistical procedures. You just load data gathered somewhere ...

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