SMU vs. UT Austin for Economics with BEOP or Human Dimensions and Organization

Please give advice.
I need help picking between SMU and UT Austin. I actually received my financial aid later from SMU but am surprised at how attending both UT and SMU would cost me about the same. I live in Dallas so SMU is closer. While I am not exactly sure about my major, I am considering doing business and got into business at Cox. At UT Austin, I am considering doing Economics with BEOP or Human Dimensions and Organizations and maybe a MS later. Please share info on what you think is better considering job opportunities, academics, campus environment, etc.

Two great options. Can you go to either completely debt free? Otherwise, I think it comes down to vibe. Force yourself to spend 4-5 hours on each campus walking around, getting lost, hanging out, meeting people. Do this without your phone as a crutch or a prop. Pay attention to the others on campus. See which campus has the more attractive vibe.

I already visited both. I liked UT’s campus more but SMU is closer and I still liked its campus. Really, I am considering the academics, job opportunities, and community.

Consider what you want to study.
Economics and an undergraduate business program are different paths. Economics is a liberal arts course of study and gets theoretical at the upper levels. In an undergraduate business school you will take a business core curriculum with classes such as accounting, finance, marketing, etc
and then major in one of those disciplines. One is not better than the other but there are meaningful differences.

I would take the time to look at the courses that you will take as an economics major at UT and as a business major at SMU and see if you find one path preferable.

Congrats on your excellent options!

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The campuses are so different that it is really hard to give advice without you specifying what type of atmosphere your looking for. UT has a huge campus and a diverse student body. SMU is much smaller and the majority of their kids come from out of state. Sororities are a much bigger deal at SMU than they are at UT. You mentioned that SMU is closer to home which makes me wonder how important this is to you. More information on what you want please.

Why does close matter if you are going ‘away’ to school? If you go to SMU will you be living at home to save money ?

Both are ‘close.’

Cox is business. UT isn’t. Which do you want ?

At SMU, I will be living on campus but it will be much easier to come home on the weekends, etc.

Then definitely UT.

Why would you come home on weekends? You’d miss and wreck your college experience.

What do you want to study. One is business. One is not.


I know that UT is big but it also has ways to get a small campus community by being in orgs and programs, etc.
I am not really into greek life as I come from a low-income family and don’t have that money, to be honest. I would want a place where the academics are good and I can have good opportunities, I would be able to make friends and fit in, there is at least some diversity as I am Asian, I can be involved, etc.
SMU is close enough where I will live on campus but can still come home easily on the weekends as I mentioned I live in Dallas, while I can still do this from Austin, it will be a bit harder.

For personal reasons, I would want to come home on the weekends, or like twice a month. At UT I can do economics with a minor in BEOP. I am not sure about my major exactly but if I go into business, I am considering becoming a financial advisor.

Overall, I am not exactly sure about my major but business is my top pick. I want to become a financial advisor, probably if I go that route. I would like to have a job where I can help and interact with people. Do you think an economics major or a business major would be preferable for that, especially for becoming a financial advisor?
Also, I have looked at course offerings, but a lot of them I don’t understand what exactly they entail like econometrics or economic theory or even with accounting or finance courses in business so it’s hard to differentiate.

Most financial advisor careers are sales jobs. Are you interested in sales? The non sales financial advisor jobs usually don’t pay well.

I’m sure you are well aware that SMU’s reputation is rich white sorority kids from Highland Park.


Totally understand. What I am recommending is more than just a traditional college “visit” -a total immersion, walk-about, visualization social experiment. Force yourself to try to get bored on campus. Soak it all in with no agenda. Meander. Since SMU is so close get on campus and stay on campus. Same for UT. I think you will see and get a better sense with more time in the actual environment. Again, you can’t go wrong with either academically or jobs but the schools are very different.

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You can go to any school and any major to be a financial advisor. Or truthfully, depending on the brokerage, no school.

If you mean high level money, like working on Wall Street, then both work but I’d go to SMU. It’s business and Cox is connected. And you’d likely want finance as a major. But you could get from both.

But I’d hope, short of a medical issue or something like a dying relative, that you’d immerse yourself on campus 24/7 or you’re unlikely to have as positive an experience.

But not having money may make you more uncomfortable at SMU but they do have low income kids.

SMU seems to be 8.5% Asian. UT is almost a quarter so very diverse.

Good luck.

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I personally would select UT. It has a national reputation while SMU does not. The pressure on you would be high if your from a low income family going to SMU. Also UT has a much larger asian percentage population than SMU. I also live in Dallas and my son went to Texas State University. Once he made friends he seldom came home. There is a bus service you can use and the fare is really cheap. Me and my wife would go to visit him about once every two months. We would buy him groceries and take him out to dinner before heading back home. Picking a college is like picking a house. What appeals to one may not appeal to the other but I would suggest UT based on the information provided.

SMU doesn’t have a national rep ??

I wholly disagree.

Its ranking may have slipped over the years but it remains a very prominent name, more well known than many considered more prestigious or higher ranked. And well connected in the professional world.


National rep is all relative. Some people say Rice doesnt have a national rep compared to their peer group.

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I’d agree with that statement.

To many, they would know SMU (Eric Dickerson anyone) but not Rice.

SMU’s rep in business is quite strong, especially in and around Dallas.

OP, what a degree in Business (whether BBA or MBA) should do is prepare you to:

  • Operate your own business
  • Fill roles in corporate HR, Marketing, Operations, Finance, etc.

Courses in Math, Econ, History, Psychology, Communications/English, and Sociology (particularly Demography) will help to round out a solid business education. Micro and Macro Econ may be part of the Business program, or pre-requisite courses.

Economics is a more intellectual and theoretical subject. You will learn how markets work, the different types of markets/economic systems, theories on seller and buyer behavior, equilibrium, the forces of supply and demand, etc.

If you want to be home multiple times monthly, the play is SMU.

If that does not direct your decision, however, you should decide what you want to study: the broad business education at SMU, or the narrower/focused discipline of Econ at UT.

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