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Business Major: Questionable Value?

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Replies to: Business Major: Questionable Value?

  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5680 replies53 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,733 Senior Member
    discoinferno, your first question is a good one. What might underlie someone perceiving a link is as follows. People are going to be fulfilled in their lives if they are doing something that they are passionate about or that somehow feels in line with their visions of themselves. Someone who chooses to be a business major not because of intrinsic interest but because he (she) thinks he (she) will make a good living may not be as fulfilled.

    I am sure that I brought critical thinking skills with me to college. I was intellectually fascinated by what I studied. Some great courses and a great advisor. My senior thesis, on which I worked incredibly hard, was published in the best journal in the field and I was told would have been the best PhD thesis for the prior 10 years in the department in which I received my PhD. I don't think what I did was routine or that it just went by.

    Moreover, the things that I studied in college prepared me to create a career that is intellectually fascinating and financially rewarding and that I could not have created easily without that training. In addition, my college experience helped prepare me to be comfortable and know how to behave in very senior settings -- my consulting firm has CEOs and other senior execs and even a country president as clients and a financial firm I helped start had several members of the Forbes 400 as investors. That was not a milieu in which I had any experience and I think going to the college I attended was transformational in that regard. Could I have gotten either the skills for this career -- or, more likely, an equally interesting one -- at another college or with another set of courses? Probably, because that's who I am. Could I have gotten the experience for comfort in the world I now live in? Probably. But that doesn't take away from the benefit that I did get.

    I don't think I was especially deprived before -- middle/upper middle class East Coast upbringing, intellectual parents (both PhDs), religious, lived abroad for a year. I had great summer jobs in high school. I didn't have strong social skills when I was in HS, so there was a lot of room for personal growth in college.

    Just because college wasn't transformational for you doesn't mean that it couldn't be transformational for someone else or that they would have to be deficient to have been transformed. Perhaps I was more open to change. Or, maybe I got a lot more out of college than you did. Perhaps if you thought it was just a financial investment, you made choices that missed the potential for transformation. Or maybe college was not a place that have made a difference for you. Not clear, but no need to assume that because it wasn't great for you, it couldn't be great for someone else.

    At the same time, I don't think kids who go to school for four years of partying with a sociology or business or English major on the side are likely to have a transformational experience. I risk overgeneralizing from my experience here, but I suspect that one has to put a lot into it to have a shot at the greater level of benefit..
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  • DTBTSEDTBTSE 133 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    It could be that after seeing so much preferential hiring of business majors, potential English majors, fearful of being underemployed, take business instead. I don't blame them at all, even if they might be missing out on much of the education that an English or Liberal Arts major would receive.

    A possible warning to businesses looking for well-rounded, creative, literate college graduates who also have a business education: Those are not employees, they are competitors.
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  • rockycrrabrockycrrab 26 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 38 New Member
    I've been researching about this topic because I am going to start college as a undergrad this summer and I'm interested in finance. I applied for the statistics department because I'm more of an analytical person and I couldn't see my parents and me paying 200K to learn about the "nuts and bolts" of businesses, instead of going in-depth into the theories of data analysis and taking more upper level math classes. However, I've heard that a BS in statistics alone won't cut it for many businesses (though, perhaps it will help for grad school?). After reading all of these posts, I'm still not sure whether to major in business or liberal arts. More insight would be helpful, thanks.
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  • FateGoneAwry16FateGoneAwry16 586 replies69 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 655 Member
    ^ Just major in business and do a 2nd major or minor in Statistics.
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  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5680 replies53 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,733 Senior Member
    You won't need a business degree if you have a degree in statistics if you are looking for a job: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/technology/06stats.html?_r=0.
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  • ForeverAloneForeverAlone 663 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 687 Member
    Could someone answer this?

    Why would an employer hire a sociology major from Harvard(who has never taken business course) over someone in NYU-Stern whose entire coursework dealt with finance/marketing etc.
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  • FateGoneAwry16FateGoneAwry16 586 replies69 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 655 Member
    Why would an employer hire a sociology major from Harvard(who has never taken business course) over someone in NYU-Stern whose entire coursework dealt with finance/marketing etc.

    Most employers wouldn't make that choice. Stern is a top undergrad business school and its graduates are highly regarded among employers. A Stern finance major with a strong GPA and courseload would probably look better than a sociology major from Harvard (ceteris paribus).

    Anyway, I know what you're saying and your question doesn't have a clear answer. There are a lot of reasons why people without experience get hired over those who do have experience (connections, nepotism, amazing resume, incredible interviewing skills, etc).
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  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5680 replies53 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,733 Senior Member
    I hired a Princeton Anthropology major for a job at a hedge fund and had ample applicants from undergraduate business schools. His advisor told us he was the smartest student he had taught at Princeton. His undergraduate work was remarkably thoughtful.
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  • UltimabladeUltimablade 471 replies114 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 585 Member
    all they really care about is experience and performance.

    if your a crappy accountant and John Smith worked as an accountant for 25 years and is a russian studies major with incredible performance guess who is getting that job?
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  • Sapere31Sapere31 101 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 114 Junior Member
    The knowledge of money could never be useless in my eyes.
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  • Raven11111Raven11111 3 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Hi,
    My son will be applying to colleges in the fall and is interested in business-not sure but considering actuarial science, accounting or finance. He is in top 10% of his class with accolades in USA swimming as well as other EC activities. Don't have test scores yet but has weighted 4.2 GPA. He is interested in some of the top programs and wondering if he has chance for USC, BC or NYU
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  • UltimabladeUltimablade 471 replies114 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 585 Member
    @Raven11111 I suggest making your own thread, that said i believe he has a good chance at NYU but i have no experience with the others, good luck.
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