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PreMBA Analytical Methods
Algebra: Introduction

Business managers and executives are challenged with questions and faced with decisions every day: Where do I set my selling price? How much must I reduce costs to make my desired contribution margin? How much storage capacity will I need on my e-mail server? All of these business problems have one thing in common. They all contain an unknown element—selling price, cost reduction level, or server capacity. The value of these unknown elements is determined by using algebra.

Business people use algebra every day to solve such problems. Often, managers use algebra on an intuitive level and do not even realize that they are solving for an unknown—they simply set up an equation, inequality, or function in their minds, and then they solve for the unknown quantity.

This section of Analytical Methods is designed to provide you with a quick overview of algebraic concepts as well as practical applications of algebra in a business context.

When you have completed the Algebra section of this course, you should be able to

  • solve business problems by constructing and solving equations that have one or more unknowns
  • construct inequalities and calculate the intervals on which their solutions lie
  • identify functions and determine their domains and ranges
  • identify the slope and y-intercept of linear functions

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