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Economics or Business Major?

App2023App2023 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
I am a Senior who has already submitted applications to four schools (MIT, Northeastern, University of Michigan + Ross, and UW). As I begin to finalize UC applications (I am a CA resident), I have started to put some more thought into what I really want to major in. I know I want to major in something that is math-heavy, but also has very apparent real-world applications (so not just mathematics or applied mathematics). Although major titles differ considerably at the schools that I am applying to, I have narrowed down my choices to economics or business administration (or something similar to those). Which of these do you think would be the better choice? (A little bit of background: I am a logical thinker who is very quantitatively-oriented and enjoys problem solving.) I understand that the "better choice" between these two majors may vary from school to school, so I am also curious to what extent the individual school should influence my choice of major. Essentially, I would like to know the pros and cons of majoring in either economics or business and what type of person/student would be best suited for each. Thank you for any help you can provide.

Replies to: Economics or Business Major?

  • rickle1rickle1 Registered User Posts: 1,268 Senior Member
    Econ is generally theory based with a quant focus or method of testing theories. Business is quite vague as it generally breaks down into several subsets (accounting, finance, management, marketing, supply chain, etc.) So an accounting major would have a very different experience than a marketing major (and a different employment scenario).

    Some schools have introduced interdisciplinary majors that combine STEM and business. Lehigh and Wake Forest come to mind and those kids do really well. Check to see what similar opportunities exist with your list of schools. You may find the blend to be to your liking.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,213 Senior Member
    Economics is the study of human social behavior regarding allocation of scarce resources.

    Business is the application of ideas from economics, sociology, psychology, statistics, and other fields to solving business problems. Typical math level is calculus (often an easier one for business majors) and introductory statistics.

    Economics can be more math intensive than business, particularly if you go on to PhD study (where more advanced courses like real analysis, linear algebra, and probability theory are expected). However, the basic level of math used in economics varies across colleges, with most using a similar level of math as business (some have an option of intermediate economics courses with more math).

    Applied math, statistics, data science, industrial engineering, and operations research can have significant real world applications and major related career paths, so you may not want to dismiss them out of hand.
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 2,895 Senior Member
    You might want to compare the set of courses you will take for a business major to what you would take if you majored in econ in a college of social science or liberal arts.
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