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Business Major vs Economics Major

MikeV1132MikeV1132 Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
What is the difference between these two?
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Replies to: Business Major vs Economics Major

  • humanpersonhumanperson Registered User Posts: 171 Junior Member
    edited October 2016
    You could find the basic differences by Googling this.

    Economics focuses more on the theoretical - how supply and demand work, how people make decisions with money, the nature of the economy, scarcity, game theory, etc. It easily connects with political science, sociology, psychology, and philosophy. It's a liberal art, which is why it is more common for top schools to offer this degree than an undergrad business degree.

    Business is a pre-professional study. It's more applied science than theoretical. It's less mathematics and focuses on social skills, communication skills, and leadership abilities and the technical aspect of management, such as accounting, finance, supply-chain management, etc. A lot of schools do not offer undergrad business because it does not meet their goals for a liberal arts education.

    Economics is more versatile and I would recommend studying econ if you're undecided between the two.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,162 Senior Member
    I would agree with humanperson.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 8,623 Senior Member
    Students who move on to a graduate level of business education have often attended LACs or universities without undergraduate business concentrations:

    https://www.****/infographics/top-feeders-mba-programs
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,162 Senior Member
  • MikeV1132MikeV1132 Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Thank you humanperson! That was very helpful. Also thank you to everyone else. I will be sure to check out those links.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,641 Forum Champion
    Being an economics major is different from going to an undergraduate business school. Economics is a liberal arts course of study and it gets very theoretical at the upper levels. If you attend a business program you will take a business core curriculum that includes introductory classes in subjects such as accounting, finance, IT, management etc. and then you will major in one of those disciplines. One is not better or worse that the other, but they are different. I would strongly suggest that you take the time to look up the curriculum of an economics major and a business school major from one or two schools you are considering (generally available online) and see if one path or the other is more interesting to you.

    Although it is not in the OPs question any major is fine for a MBA program. Despite the chart above (which uses percentages so if a small LAC gets a few students in top MBA programs the % is high), my experience is that business majors are valued candidates for top MBA programs. For example 26% of the Wharton MBA program is comprised of business majors undergraduates and 41% of the Harvard MBA program is comprised of a combination of economics and business majors.
    https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/class-profile/
    http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/class-profile/Pages/default.aspx
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 8,623 Senior Member
    edited October 2016
    Despite the chart above [#3] (which uses percentages, so if a small LAC gets a few students in top MBA programs, the % is high)
    The six LACs included -- Pomona, Amherst, Claremont McKenna, Hamilton, Middlebury and Bates -- would not appear to be an assortment resulting from chance.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,641 Forum Champion
    edited October 2016
    @merc81 I do not disagree with the notion that undergraduate quality of school is one of the factors in MBA admission (along with GPA, work experience, GMAT, LORs, essay etc.). You did not include the second half of my sentence above which was actually the point I was making. The main intent of that sentence was to say that an undergraduate business majors are welcome by these MBA programs. The chart you included leans towards LACs but a chart by percentages alone is not complete in an of itself -- for example if Amherst sends 2 students of its class of approx. 450year to a top MBA program then a huge school like Berkeley would have to send over. 30 of its much larger class to have the same percentage. So students can go to top MBA programs from larger schools in higher numbers and that school would have a lower percentage. The percentages on that chart is certainly a useful tool but should not be the only factor analyzed. Some charts do show top feeder schools for top MBA programs by number of students and (Penn, Harvard, Princeton) excellent larger schools typically top the list.

    BUT this is way off topic -- the OP was looking for the difference between economics and a b-school and did not ask about MBA programs. Apologies to the OP for veering off course.
  • ryanPAryanPA Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    Depending on what business major you choose and the quality of the school, all the economics majors I know say that they have generally fewer job prospects (Best friend's brother studies at Wharton and also have friends studying econ and/or finance at state schools). Here is what they say about job prospects:

    Econ: fewer selection, often become an analyst of some sort (financial, credit or policy), go onto grad school to work as an economist, and others from ivies often go into investment banking

    Finance/ accounting: safer as accounting has a much better job market, while finance majors have a more competitive market but usually make a higher starting salary.

    Marketing/HR: pretty much the "liberal art majors" of business (sorry if I offend anyone)

    Another thing to keep in mind is that in most ivies/ top business schools, everyone graduates with a Bachelors in Econ but was a concentration in another field such as finance. This can skew some of the average starting salaries in favor of econ majors
  • frontpagefrontpage Registered User Posts: 342 Member
    The typical econ major is not going to get into a PhD program. If you want to get into a good econ PhD program (or a good finance PhD program), you need to take linear algebra, real analysis, and calculus based probability and statistics at a minimum, in addition to taking the more quantitative theory and econometrics course offered at your school.

    https://www.econ.berkeley.edu/undergrad/current/preparing-for-grad-school
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,162 Senior Member
    I don't believe most Ivies offer finance in UG. I know students double major in math/econ, but not econ and finance. You can't even do that at a school like Cornell, even though they have UG business school.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,641 Forum Champion
    @oldfort Two Ivy universities offer undergraduate business those being UPenn (Wharton) and Cornell (Dyson). Many other outstanding universities (ex. Notre Dame, Gtown, MIT, Berkeley to name a few) do have business programs. The OP has not asked about Ivy colleges (and with a 29 ACT score they are likely not a focus on his/her search).

    In a number of universities (I can't speak for Cornell which certainly may have more restrictions) it is possible to double major or major in minor in disciplines between different schools. The ability to do this depends in part on the core requirements, the number of credits a student enters with, as well as particular limits the school sets etc.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 22,162 Senior Member
    I was responding to ryanPA.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that in most ivies/ top business schools, everyone graduates with a Bachelors in Econ but was a concentration in another field such as finance.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 8,623 Senior Member
    edited October 2016
    Regarding the comments regarding data interpretation (#8), properly normalized data (including a consideration of sample size as it relates to statistical significance) would be the only data I would personally consider as a meaningful basis for virtually any comparison.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,641 Forum Champion
    edited October 2016
    ^^^^ We will have to agree to disagree (as I think raw numbers are meaningful as well as an additional piece of information as a change of even 1 person year to year at a LAC can cause a big percentile shift).

    But PLEASE can we let this thread get back to the OP's question????

    From another post the OP is considering Grinell so the discussion of economics v business is relevant.
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