Poets, Get Your Quant On

June is almost here, and I’m feeling pretty good about my business school preparations. Loans have been applied for, two weeks notice has been given, and apartment viewings have been scheduled. I guess it’s time to focus on the least fun part of preparing for business school – the academics.

Like many incoming MBA students, I haven’t set foot in a classroom in *coughcough* years. But I’m also what they call a Poet, or a liberal arts major (as opposed to a Quant, who would have majored in something useful like finance or economics). In other words, my quant skills aren’t just rusty, they’re nonexistent. I can write a mean essay on phallocentrism in post-9/11 American media, but I doubt that will impress my accounting professor.

So for my fellow Poets, I wanted to share some of the resources I’ve found most helpful for unleashing my inner Quant.

Khan Academy (free)


A collection of videos explaining basic math and finance concepts in plain English. All videos are less than 10 minutes long, which makes them perfect for watching during breaks at work (not that I condone such behavior). The lessons cover pretty basic concepts, but could be a good complement to other self-guided study (see “For Dummies” below).

MBA Math ($149 for one-year subscription)


A number of reputable b-schools offer MBA Math memberships to incoming students, which I feel is a strong recommendation. A one-year membership gives you access to training in finance, accounting, economics, statistics, and spreadsheets. Good for incoming students as well as potential applicants looking to beef up their applications.

Coursera (free; Signature Track certificates available for a fee)


If you’ve left enough time before school starts, I highly recommend taking a course like Introduction to Finance or Financial Accounting. Taught by professors from top b-schools, these courses dive deeper into the subject matter while enforcing a more traditional classroom structure with weekly homework and quizzes.

______ For Dummies ($20-$30)


No joke, these books are awesome and relatively cheap. Pick up a few in finance, statistics, or accounting and work your way through them on your own time. They will give you a basic understanding of the concepts and terminology you’ll be learning in b-school, and are a good complement to online video lectures like those on Khan Academy.

3 thoughts on “Poets, Get Your Quant On

  1. cavegirlmba says:

    The best preparation is awareness – how silly you will feel next to the physics major who casually complains that all economics is based on the four primary calculation methods of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. For that guy, this means evonomics is quite low in interest and beauty (while all poets will struggle).

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