We examine the role that secondary mathematics plays in the performance of students in introductory business courses. Students who pass more advanced secondary mathematics subjects perform significantly better in introductory business courses. This 'mathematics effect' is significantly stronger than the effect of other business-related secondary subjects, such as economics or accounting. Our findings also confirm previous studies showing that secondary accounting is beneficial for studying first-year tertiary accounting. Interestingly though, we find that studying secondary economics can detract from a student's introductory tertiary results in some courses. Our findings have implications for educators and administrators as well as current secondary students. Copyright (c) The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2008 AFAANZ.