Go to your favorite news source, be it newspaper, television, or website, and try to find a day’s news that is free of economics.  Unless your idea of news is celebrity gossip, the search will likely end unsuccessfully.  Similarly, you simply can’t study international affairs if you’re going to play out your most extreme quant-phobia.

Just like the language learners I wrote about recently, I can divide Fletcher students into three groups:

1.  Quant/econ lovers and experts
2.  Those with basic quant/econ exposure
3.  Those who, for reasons of preference or academic program design, haven’t had any quantitative coursework after high school.

The MIB program has (not surprisingly) a strong quantitative focus, and consequently is the only program that may decide to make admission conditional on pre-Fletcher quantitative study (but did so for only a few applicants this year).  This post is not really for the MIBers.

In fact, I’m going to focus on the MALD students who comprise the majority of the entering class.  You’ll face two requirements relevant to today’s topic.  First, you need to take at least one course in the Division of Economics and International Business.  Unless you pass the placement test offered before each semester, the course you’ll take is EIB E201, Introduction to Economic Theory.  Second, you have a quantitative reasoning requirement, which can be fulfilled through a placement test or by taking one of five courses.

Returning to my three groups.  Those in Group One will pass the placement exams, and will have every opportunity to take as many courses in the Economics and International Business division as their schedules allow.  Finance!  Econometrics!  Accounting!  It’s all here for you.  The econ/quant requirement at Fletcher is gentle, but not limiting!  Crunch those numbers, Fletcher friends!

Those in Group Two have two choices.  One is to take the basic economics and quantitative reasoning courses.  The other option is to study a bit this summer to brush up your skills with the intention of passing the placement tests.  While the basic courses are valuable, Fletcher gives you the mechanism (and choice) to move past them and go directly to the material that most interests you.

Those in Group Three face a decision similar to that of Group Two.  You can simply go along and take the basic courses — the path of least resistance, which will still provide you with the skills you need.  But if you want to try to test out, you should plan to pursue formal study this summer.  The good news is that economics and statistics classes are among the easiest to find; they’re offered by a wide range of local colleges or even online.  Either way, if you discover a heretofore unknown love of numbers, you can move on to pursue as many EIB courses as you want!

The flexibility of Fletcher’s curriculum frees you to approach economics and quantitative reasoning in the way that suits you best:  start with the basics here, or test out and fill your curriculum with classes of your choosing.  Give it some thought now, so that you’re ready to make the right decision when you start your studies.


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