These are both well-organised books. Louise Swift has an extensive range of well-integrated topics that she has successfully structured in such a way that students well versed in mathematical techniques can move swiftly through the chapters. For those who are a little less knowledgeable, there are innovative sections on "Essential mathematics" and "More mathematics". The former assumes little or no knowledge of any mathematical concepts, and will prove to be of enormous benefit to students who are embarking on a course having spent some time out of education.
These two chapters are well constructed and written in a way that should mean anyone who puts in the effort will make excellent progress. They include small test boxes with diagnostic questions, plus answers, that allow students to decide whether they need to revise or not. The standard of questions is perfectly judged, and this idea is clearly imaginative and works well.
As well as a test box, each topic in each chapter includes a "work card" and an assessment. The principle of the "work card" is that it provides the student with the opportunity to work through various problems and see whether or not their solutions are correct.
The assessment primarily involves pieces of work that can be used by lecturers to test their students and so no solutions are provided. This idea, too, appears to work well.
Aimed at undergraduates on business courses, the book covers all the topics that one would expect, including a particularly interesting one on business modelling. It would benefit most students.
The volume by S. Christian Albright, Wayne Winston and Christopher Zappe is equally wide ranging in its topic areas and successfully achieves its objectives. The authors have decided to emphasise the application of quantitative techniques within the business world, rather than to explain the theory behind the techniques.
They succeed mainly because of the approaches that they have used: a CD-Rom containing vast numbers of examples done in a highly professional and interactive way accompanies the book. The authors use Excel as the primary tool for solving the problems, which would suit most students who have knowledge of Microsoft Office. In addition, the examples, which permeate the text, are highly relevant and appropriate. Students will enjoy the realistic nature of the issues that they raise.
Both these texts are excellent, and all undergraduates on business courses and MBAs would benefit from them. Students on most courses for business-related professional bodies would also find them invaluable.
Rod Gunn is associate director of the business school, University of Glamorgan.
Quantitative Methods for Business, Management and Finance. First edition
Author - Louise Swift
ISBN - 0 333 92076 7
Publisher - Palgrave
Price - £26.99
Pages - 960