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Economics degree from Carleton a good major for investment banking/corporate finance?

npballa3210npballa3210 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited May 2010 in Carleton College
Is an economics degree a good major to help me get into investment banking/corporate finance? I plan on attending Carleton College in MN, and economics is the only somewhat business concentration that they have. Would an economics degree help give me the tools to know what I need to in order to be an investment banker? I can take finance and accounting courses from St. Olaf college which would help a little bit as well. Also, a couple years after graduating, I'd like to get my MBA from a top notch B-school, will an economics degree hold me back from getting in because its not a business concentrated degree? Thanks for all the help and feel free to post any general tips/advice that you think would be helpful. Thanks a lot!
Post edited by npballa3210 on

Replies to: Economics degree from Carleton a good major for investment banking/corporate finance?

  • mflevitymflevity Registered User Posts: 1,201 Senior Member
    You can check this thread: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/carleton-college/868378-carleton-grads-going-business-school.html

    I also feel like I should warn you that very, very few Carleton students take classes from St. Olaf. For one thing, transportation is an issue--if you don't have a car, it's going to be pretty difficult to get across town two or three times a week. For another, Olaf is on a semester schedule while Carleton is on a trimester schedule, which makes things tricky and might require you to be in town during winter/spring/summer break. You might be better off taking your finance and accounting courses over the summer at home if there's a university that offers them nearby.

    Once you get your Carleton login information over the summer, you can search the alumni directory here: Carleton College: Alumni Gateway: Alumni Directory to look for economics majors as well as alumni in business-related careers. It might be beneficial to direct your questions to them for the best advice.
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    Business as an undergraduate major is still frowned upon by most elite schools as too pre-professional and "trade school" in nature (no judgement here, just the messenger).

    For this reason, 6 of the 8 Ivy's (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Brown) don't offer business as an undergrad major, virtually no top LAC does, nor does Stanford, U Chicago, Northwestern, Duke, etc.

    If IB/finance is your goal, job recruitment tends to be strongest among majors in economics and quantitative fields (math, CS, the sciences and engineering). Places like Wharton and Sloan certainly do well sending people to the Street, but most bankers come from backgrounds in the liberal arts (and most top banks prefer it this way).

    As far as MBA programs are concerned, admissions will focus, by far, most importantly on what you've accomplished in the workforce AFTER graduation (i.e. that anthropology BA is just fine). Most prefer to see you with 5-6 years of experience under your belt. How quant based a particular MBA program is will determine the background (or remediation) required in math/stats/econ.

    Soooo, yeah, an economics degree at Carleton or any top school is a great choice for the field. But if you've got what it takes, plan on bolstering that with lots of advanced math/stats courses. Alternatively, a math major with lots of economics supporting it will work just as well.
  • 11901190 Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    Couldn't resist a P.S.:

    The economics and math departments at the school are SUPERB and both big draws. Study abroad opportunities are equally wonderful, probably most popular being the summer Cambridge program the school sponsors.

    Carleton College: Economics in Cambridge
  • thecheethechee Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    If you do well, and take advantage of recruiting events, you can land a pretty good investment banking gig coming out of Carleton. A big advantage will be that you will compete with far few of your fellow students than you would at a peer school. Carleton is considerably less pre-preofessional than places like Amherst, Williams, or Bowdoin. Lots of people are applying for PhD programs, fellowships, etc. As such, you will compete with far fewer of your classmates than you would at other school. If you have a solid GPA (which Carleton's S/CR/NC options make pretty doable), as an econ major you should have some pretty sweet options coming out of Carleton.

    I majored in a foreign language, and was offered a pretty sweet I-Banking jobin Europe upon graduation (didn't end up taking it though, going to law school instead). Basically a Carleton parent told a recruiter friend of hers that Carleton was a good place to look for new hires. A few emails went around, and I had a phone interview in like 2 days of applying.

    I think that whatever Carleton lacks in terms of lay prestige is easily made up for by the high regard that many top employers have for the school, as well as the strength of its alumni (and parent!) network.
  • npballa3210npballa3210 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Thanks a lot for everything, that's awesome information and makes me feel even happier about my decision to attend Carleton! I'll try to get some accounting and finance background done over the summer to help gain some more knowledge in those areas. If you have any more tips for getting into the investment banking/corporate finance field or any other recommendations, feel free to let me know. Thanks again for the info!
  • sunmachinesunmachine Registered User Posts: 824 Member
    thechee, I'm curious if you had any finance background in addition to your foreign language major that would make you an attractive I-banking candidate?
  • thecheethechee Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Nope, not an ounce of finance background. I think the employer mostly wanted someone from a good school with decent grades and fluency in the region's language.
  • dietcokewithlimedietcokewithlime Registered User Posts: 221 Junior Member
    I recall around a half dozen econ majors in my class taking accounting at St. Olaf. I think they carpooled or took a bus there. Though some cross-registration between the colleges is permitted, accounting was the only class I knew of people taking at Olaf.
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