Business major at an average state school (looking for tips)?

Hi All,
My son (high school senior) decided to major in business though his understanding of it is still unclear. He basically didn’t have strong preference and just chose one. Given that I work in software industry, I thought he would be a good fit for computer science. But he doesn’t like it (because he took one course and felt boring) and decided to major in business. I’m not forcing him and he has to do what he likes (not hates).

He will not get into any Ivy League schools. and most likely he will be at one of the state schools in Texas.

I know very little about business major. Somehow I have a feeling that business majors are like non-essentials (not to offend anyone). For example, in software, if you can write code, it’s kind of given that you will have good paying jobs (you don’t even have to look for it). I’m talking about average and not extreme situations where I know CEOs are mostly business majors. It also seems to me that you will need to be in top schools if you major in business.

But he has decided. So I will do what I can do to support him. I wonder if anyone can share some experience on how a parent can help his/her kid who majors in business in college? For example, what specialty has a good future prospect? What things he can do in college to up his chances? what kind of starting salary for business majors? How easy or hard is it to find a job?

Thank you very much.

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I have two business major graduates from in state public schools (NJ, Rutgers and TCNJ). Both started out as accounting majors, I think one of the hardest to get into, one switched to finance. Both ended up with good job offers from where they interned junior year ($65,000 ish). My accountant was at the top of her class at Rutgers, my finance major got his internship through his fraternity. They have both worked from home during this pandemic, as has my husband who works in finance. Dd21 is interested in actuarial science, ds21 has no idea so we are encouraging him to apply to business and he can always drop down. My kids are math kids and since they will have loans they need a path with good employment opportunities.

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Business is one of the most sought after majors and business programs at state schools especially UT Austin are great. In fact UT Austin is one of the best business programs in the country. These majors have excellent starting salaries especially if your son chooses to go into investment banking or consulting. I wouldn’t worry about him too much. However, I would definitely support and encourage him to seek an internship at a firm in NYC, Chicago, Austin, Boston, Washington DC, depending on where he wants to live. These internships can be hard to get into but with good grades and networking (especially through events, business fraternities, and career centers) he is bound to land one. As the previous poster mentioned these internships more often than not lead to post grad offers and summer compensation.

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Thank you @Mjkacmom and @jskuk2345 for your prompt responses.
My son got admitted to Texas A&M. He is waiting for UT Austin. Since he didn’t get ranked to top 6% (he ranked 6.2%), he didn’t get auto-admitted. He also missed 2nd around of admission in Dec. There is another wave in Jan. But we are not putting too much hope for UT Austin.
He applied a few private schools outside Texas. But chances are not that high given his credentials. So it’s very likely he has to go to Texas A&M.

I wonder if anyone can share any experience for business school at Texas A&M? Or would it be better for him to find a way to transfer to UT Austin while at Texas A&M?

No one “majors” in business just like no one majors in science. Business school majors include accounting, marketing, finance, supply chain etc.


I thinks that’s true at most schools but at a few places, like Michigan (Ross), you don’t graduate with a specific business major. Counselor told us more schools are heading this direction as well.

I would also recommend he checks out NYU Stern, U Mich, UVA, UNC-Chapel hill (cheaper), the University of Washington (also cheaper), Indiana University, and any other flagship state school, It is not too late to apply most of these schools deadline are Jan 1st - Jan 10th. I understand it costs more to apply but compared to the overall price of college it is often worth it to pay a little extra in app fees to end up at the right place or at least have more options. Also, the previous poster is incorrect most undergraduate business schools ofter specifically a major in business. Some also offer majors in finance, accounting, etc. but generally business. Let me know if you need any other advice. If he is top 6.2% of his class a few of the schools I mentioned are not outside of his reach!

Going into actuarial work will require much more math and statistics than a typical business major includes. The student interested in actuarial paths may want to look at

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There are all kinds of kids coming out of college with Business degrees.

Some have little interest in “business” and majored in it to “get their ticket punched” with a bachelor’s degree where they could get decent grades without much effort.

Some have- or develop- an intense interest in some aspect, and work hard, learn a ton, and come out well prepared for the work force.

And some are a mixture.

I would encourage you to encourage your son to read, read read right now. (the opportunities for a HS kid to shadow are pretty limited during covid). Wall Street Journal- a few times a week. The Economist, Financial Times, Bloomberg regularly.

If he knows nothing about business, he may find that it’s nothing like he thought it would be. Not a tragedy, but it may take him a couple of semesters to find his stride, or switch into something he’s more excited about.

There are literally hundreds of different paths he can take professionally. He doesn’t need to sort that out right now, but having a general idea of the topics that are covered in the business press on a regular basis might help him develop some sense of what excites him.

And there has been a lot of research on CEO’s, most of whom do NOT major in business as undergrads. The most gifted CEO I ever worked for was a Renaissance History major in college. Many CEO’s are engineers, and many study one of many different liberal arts disciplines. The top business schools for grad programs (MBA’s) admit students with varied backgrounds-- some whom have never studied business.

I was a Classics major- then got an MBA. The top student in my class had a degree in theater, had several years experience as an actor (was in a popular soap opera so we all recognized her face on the first day).

But your son has time to read, read, read and start to figure out why he wants to study business as an undergrad.


She has looked into it but I plan to read this, she took AP statistics as a sophomore as an elective (also took pre-calc and got a 5 on the exam, it was her favorite course), and loves math. She’s a pretty, popular smart kid voted most likely to date the football team captain and she’s excited for college to find her geeky village (although she’s taking AP CS with zero background in CS and finding others in the class not that supportive, but she joined the coding club).

I think he’s in a great place. A&M is a top business school and it’s a recruiting hot spot for employers, since it’s a flagship school.

Thank you @coolguy40 for encouraging words. Also thank you everyone for replying and sharing.

If it is general business then avoid. Study a stem field, and if he doesn’t like it then pick the closet thing to a STEM degree.

The best way for you to help your business major would be to encourage a well-rounded education to include 1/3+ of his coursework in the liberal arts. Perfecting his communication skills to include written and oral will help him get jobs and excel in them later on. Within business, most programs require early courses to cover varied areas to include economics, accounting, management, marketing and even entrepreneurship. From there, your son can decide where he wants to focus and can even stay general if he chooses. From my experiences, business majors do especially well in the job market, because many employers like to see the interest in applicable coursework and internships that go along with it. Although computer science may seem like a better choice to you, an uninterested CS major will compete poorly against the others with more passion for the subject. I, personally, love business for a major because it is practical, interesting (to those who like it) and can offer students a career orientation that helps people compete for jobs later-on. Sounds like your son may have lucked into something strong. And since he chose it himself, for whatever reason, he will be motivated to excel and learn.

My daughter graduated from Kenan Flagler (UNC) and works in investment banking for a big bank. Once admitted to Kenan (they have to apply as sophomores - except for a choice few who score direct admission), the school was instrumental in getting them internship opportunities, which turn into job offers. My daughter had a job offer at the start of her senior year.

Obviously schools like Wharton are top of the heap for business, but you’ll see many public universities in the top 25 as well. UNC is our instate, so the amazing education she received was a bargain. It would be pricey for out of state and Kenan also now has an additional tuition on top of the UNC rate (I think it’s $2-$3k extra - still a bargain for what you’re getting).

I would look for a program that has strong internship opportunities and job placement. Majors like finance, accounting, business analytics and now supply chain/operations management, seem to have the most jobs.

My youngest is like your son - she will also start in business with the caveat that she has a year to explore and see what else she might like. Otherwise we will encourage her to pick one of the employable areas of business above. I’m all for letting them “find their passion” but they have to be employable when they graduate!

I have business/econ degrees and am a parent of a current business student (and one that plans to major in engineering with business as a possible if ends up not liking engineering).

I am not trying to offend you, but I have no idea what you mean by business majors are like non-essentials. Pretty much without people with business backgrounds involved many other fields would come to a grinding halt. Business majors work in areas of finance, accounting, management, marketing, supply chain without which businesses, not-for-profits nor government can function successfully.

As future prospects is an opinion and everyone has a different one, I recommend just Googling and reading various sources. Repeat opinions are that accounting, finance, quant/data/management analysis have good prospects. Also, sales/marketing and supply chain. That pretty much covers most of business. If your son really likes the field he chooses he will likely find success.

I found one source for prospects that had software developer as #1, finance analyst #5, management analyst #6, and computer science management #10 (noting most of CS Mgmt would have MBA).

Some colleges have specific majors (ex Finance) while others have a Business major with a “concentration” in a specific area like finance or can have a couple concentrations.

Yes, starting salaries will likely be a little higher/jobs easier to get coming out of T20 ranked b-school, but Texas A&M is tied for 24th per USN, so very respectable. It can also depend on specifics of programs. Ex. UofSC has #1 International Business major. My understanding is they are generally quite in demand. In general computer science makes more starting than business, but by mid-level it depends on specic field/job within computer science vs business realm.

Ease or hard to find a job depends on a combination of the applicant (GPA, what they did during college) and the college (b-school/program reputation, how good is the career center). Things that help in college are getting involved in things like business societies, clubs, doing case competitions, various company programs for business college students.

I’ve met a number of people who started out in engineering and computer science majors and ended up with a business degree instead. I know a couple that are CFOs. One from A&M now making over $750k* comp (*required public company disclosure).

Your son has not made a bad choice :slightly_smiling_face:.

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