Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Calico
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:45 pm

Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Calico » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:19 am

My daughter (who is in high school now), is trying to plan for college. She thinks she wants to be an economics major in college because she wants to be an economist, CFO, or maybe a financial planner. Plus, math and science are (by far) her strongest subjects yet she has no desire to go into Engineering or the Sciences. She wants to go, "into business because there will always be businesses."

She was asking me if I thought Economics, as a major, would be worth the money. I did a little research and it looks like a good start. Plus, we can get in-state tuition at one of the best ranked universities for Economics. There are a lot of very decent paying entry level jobs doing what she wants to do for someone with an Economics degree. More so if she gets an MBA too. But I was wondering if anyone had any first-hand experience with this because I also found similar information for someone with a Music degree (and I have my doubts about that one being a wise choice). My daughter is thinking of minoring in Music though, because she has a passion for it, but she says she doesn't want to be a professional musician.

UniversityEmployee9
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:01 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by UniversityEmployee9 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:43 am

I majored in economics, minored in business, and I ended up being a software developer.

I really enjoyed the degree and I don't think it's held me back.

mrgeeze
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:09 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by mrgeeze » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:52 am

Started in Econ in the college business school.
Tranferred to Agricultural Econ in the Ag school

The quantitative Micro side seemed more advanced in the ag school back then.
Did a masters at Cornell in Ag econ. Studied a lot of Animal Science.

Ultimately became a freelance software developer.

Career planning... not so much.

Its easy to get lost in the theoretic and math as an econ major.
Make sure your kid learns enough accounting to read a set of financials.
That makes the theory quite a bit more applicable.

Show her Piketty's inequality equation. Its an interesting piece of econ and can be understood at a variety of levels.

User avatar
leeks
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: new york

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by leeks » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:54 am

There will always be engineers and scientists too. Yes, an economics undergraduate degree is worth the cost of an undergraduate education at any decent college (I didn't major in it but have had family and coworkers that did). A music minor sounds lovely and if she has a passion for it she should keep it in her life one way or another. To be an economist, she would need graduate school anyway so the choice of undergrad major is less important as long as she takes plenty of math courses and performs well overall. There is no need to decide now, she may make a very different plan after her first year.

User avatar
vineviz
Posts: 2076
Joined: Tue May 15, 2018 1:55 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by vineviz » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:01 am

There is a very low chance that your daughter will end up ACTUALLY majoring in what she THINKS she'll major in. My first line of advice to any child is to enter college with a goal of FINDING their right major rather than entering with a mindset of THINKING they already know.

That said, economics is a major that will be valuable in a large range of fields (and the minor in music would be helpful as well). It teaches important skills in critical thinking, evaluating evidence, and provides a framework for rational decision-making that is useful in almost any career path.
"Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections than has been lost in corrections themselves." ~~ Peter Lynch

barnaclebob
Posts: 3044
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:02 am

My friend is an econ major and had to get an MBA before he could earn more than 6 figures. I was pretty surprised at how little he knows about personal finance. You'd think schools would want their econ majors to be able to handle their own finances.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 18772
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:39 am

UniversityEmployee9 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:43 am
I majored in economics, minored in business, and I ended up being a software developer.
I really enjoyed the degree and I don't think it's held me back.
I was a top student in High School - science and math especially. Went to a top college - majoring in Chemistry. Flunked Physics first semester and Chemistry the second. Almost flunked out - but took Econ 101 second semester - and that was my major. Then, upon graduation, had two job offers - bank management trainee or be trained as a computer programmer - IBM 360. Chose the latter.

Times are very, very different today, though.

carolinaman
Posts: 3293
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by carolinaman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:44 am

I am not familiar with the job opportunities for an economics major but I would not think they are as good as a business management or accounting major. Minoring in music would reduce her emphasis in other business coursework which would further hinder her. Of course, her economics degree augmented by an MBA will broaden and enhance the job opportunities. My guess is there are a lot fewer economist job opportunities and I personally do not see it as the best path towards business management opportunities.

FWIW, I have degree in accounting and spent the last 30 years of my career in IT executive management. I was quite active in professional networks and do not recall knowing anyone in my professional circles that had an economics degree although there were probably some.

stinkycat
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:40 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by stinkycat » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:45 am

I majored in economics in college. Personally, I am biased towards the major, because I ended up getting a Ph.D in economics and teaching economics for a living. But I do feel my training in economics would be valuable in many fields. I do agree that some economists have very few practical skills, I know Ph.Ds in economics who have a hard time balancing their checkbooks. But combined with some practical skills it can be a powerful degree my very biased and not so humble opinion.

stan1
Posts: 6008
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by stan1 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:55 am

Economics is a good foundational degree that develops analytical skills. Similar to math and physics compared to engineering. Will her first job and career be in economics? Maybe not but she'll have plenty of opportunities in any field where good quantitative analytical skills are needed. IT, software, consulting, business. Where she goes after her first job is mostly a function of her performance and abilities not her degree. She'll probably end up with a masters degree in a different area unless she goes the Ph.D. route to teach or go work for a hedge fund.

cadreamer2015
Posts: 694
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:52 pm
Location: North County San Diego

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by cadreamer2015 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:04 am

My friend is an econ major and had to get an MBA before he could earn more than 6 figures.
Very, very few people earn more than 6 figures. Based on 2017 income distribution only 0.2% of the U.S. population had annual earnings more than $1 million. Even at 5 figures ($99,999 or more) only about 12% of the population had income this high. So saying that an undergraduate degree in economics is not enough to put one in the top .2% or even top 12% of the income distribution isn't saying much.

That said, I did major in economics and got a graduate degree in economics as well. I spent my career as a business economist and found it satisfying, interesting and rewarding. I am biased, but I think every college student should take at least an introductory economics course, as this helps illuminate one of the important ways the world works.

These days economics involves a lot of advanced mathematics, and university level mathematics is quite different from high school math - even through calculus. Even though I was a math minor, I realized that I enjoyed solving problems but not so much proving theorems. University level math is mainly about proving theorems. I'd advise going as far in math as interest and ability allows, and also to take at least an introductory statistics course (though more is better). For those who would like to go into business an introductory accounting course is also important - it was a requirement for my economics major.
De gustibus non est disputandum

FireProof
Posts: 585
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by FireProof » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 am

Econ is a pretty practical and employable major, if that's what you are asking. In an abstract sense, more respectable than business, but that's mostly because business majors tend to go to much worse colleges - there are econ majors at Harvard and Stanford, but not business, and bottom-feeding schools specialize in "practical" majors like business. At the same college, the difference will be pretty minor, though, I would guess.

At Berkeley, we see:
Econ: Average starting salary: 71K - 16% seeking employment, 7% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... 17Econ.pdf

Business: Average starting salary 77k, 8% seeking employment, 3% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... siness.pdf

Pretty similar. Now, business majors have a much higher response rate, so that may conceal a larger difference, but it also may be a result of the Business School being more career-oriented and encouraging responses much more strongly than the School of Letters and Science.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:13 am

Calico wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:19 am
My daughter (who is in high school now), is trying to plan for college. She thinks she wants to be an economics major in college because she wants to be an economist, CFO, or maybe a financial planner. Plus, math and science are (by far) her strongest subjects yet she has no desire to go into Engineering or the Sciences. She wants to go, "into business because there will always be businesses."

She was asking me if I thought Economics, as a major, would be worth the money. I did a little research and it looks like a good start. Plus, we can get in-state tuition at one of the best ranked universities for Economics. There are a lot of very decent paying entry level jobs doing what she wants to do for someone with an Economics degree. More so if she gets an MBA too. But I was wondering if anyone had any first-hand experience with this because I also found similar information for someone with a Music degree (and I have my doubts about that one being a wise choice). My daughter is thinking of minoring in Music though, because she has a passion for it, but she says she doesn't want to be a professional musician.
(my undergrad degree was actually in computer science, but I also took a commerce minor and that included quite a few economics courses (which were my favourites, generally))

Very few of us wind up using our undergraduate degrees in any meaningful way. Even my friends who did engineering tend to have gone either into software development or into management - an awareness of engineers and engineering issues is necessary for their jobs, but they don't actually do much that is related to their undergrad degrees.

The world is changing very fast. STEM majors? But that's relatively easy to outsource to a low wage country like India, or to shift onto machine learning ("Artificial Intelligence") type platforms. 20 years ago, we would never have imagined that young people could make a living as internet-based "style influencers". 30 years ago we'd never heard of a "web page developer". A creative person may well find it easier to make their way in life than a technical one.

So economics:

- employers see it as desirable - it signals an interest in business and business issues. It's not a "bird" course so it signals intelligence, aptitude and application (See "Job Market Signalling" by Michael Spence, below)

- there are very few direct roles as economists in the real world. You need a masters at least if not a Phd. And preparation for graduate work in economics is really about having a lot of math - so Economics & Applied Math or something like that is a better major than economics (it is possible to catch up, but harder).

HOWEVER economics has become an empirical science. Freakonomics suffers from some problems, but its depiction of modern economics grad students as people who go around looking for interesting empirical datasets to torture and extract information out of them. This is, in fact, the basis of data science/ predictive intelligence (as I understand it). A former economist for Google has written a (not that great) book "everybody lies on the internet" or some similar title (Seth something ...) which gives an idea of this work. And Hal Varian, who wrote the best book about the economics of technology businesses (in the late 1990s - "Information Rules" which is still quite readable) is (was?) Chief Economist at Google.

So economics now teaches a lot more applied data analysis (R programming language, etc.) than in my day, and that's all to the good. The internet gives companies far far more rich data about their customers, and the ability to design and test true randomized trials. Somebody needs to be comfortable with extracting the data, cleaning it up and analyzing it and then intepreting the results and presenting them - step forward economics grads.

Your daughter will learn about Nobel Prize Winner Michael Spence and "job market signalling" ;-). An economics major is all about signalling. So is a business major, but business majors aren't really taught about how to run businesses - it's just a signalling device to get you hired somewhere where you will learn that.

- music is a good minor. It will show your daughter to be an interesting person when she interviews. When confronted with 200 CVs, one looks for the interesting or distinguished ones - the sport or leadership position to a high level, the interesting undergrad dissertation, the quirky minor.

Her passion for music will last her her whole life. One day she may be Vice President at Spotify (or a computer games company) and actually find a direct use for it.

But in the meantime I would not lop off that tall poppy just because it is a different colour than the rest of them.

Note the young lady in "The Big Short", whose undergrad dissertation Michael Lewis referenced so heavily in that book, and was eventually used as testimony to the US Congress, I believe, started life as a music major (at Harvard) and switched to economics. She was then an analyst (undergrad entrant) at Goldman Sachs and now works, I believe, for an internet startup.

So music and economics is like the strings and the brass in the orchestra - together more than the sum of the parts ;-).

(not that I would send anyone in the direction of Law, but I should note that Economics (along with Philosophy) are probably the best preparations for law school you can do intellectually; law is a really tough profession now, though, and automation threatens a lot of the work that lawyers do).

PS

These days, every graduate entering the business workforce has to have a familiarity with Excel, Powerpoint and I would add should have a basic understanding of accounting. However these things can be learned other ways than in the undergrad degree -- online courses etc. Sitting with 400 other people in an accounting 100 lecture was soul destroying then, and I doubt it's any different now.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:15 am

FireProof wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 am
Econ is a pretty practical and employable major, if that's what you are asking. In an abstract sense, more respectable than business, but that's mostly because business majors tend to go to much worse colleges - there are econ majors at Harvard and Stanford, but not business, and bottom-feeding schools specialize in "practical" majors like business. At the same college, the difference will be pretty minor, though, I would guess.

At Berkeley, we see:
Econ: Average starting salary: 71K - 16% seeking employment, 7% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... 17Econ.pdf

Business: Average starting salary 77k, 8% seeking employment, 3% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... siness.pdf
Pretty similar. Now, business majors have a much higher response rate, so that may conceal a larger difference, but it also may be a result of the Business School being more career-oriented and encouraging responses much more strongly than the School of Letters and Science.
And it's precisely an economic major who would think of those questions and try to design an experiment to find out if the hypothesis was true ;-).

In my undergrad days, the Business majors were totally career oriented, and the economics majors had more intellectual depth to them. Looking at their careers, they had pretty similar outcomes.

If you know you want to be a CPA, though, you need to go that way in undergrad - undergrad accounting or business degree.

Kuna_Papa_Wengi
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:55 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Kuna_Papa_Wengi » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:16 am

I did, but I would not recommend it. It's not a bad major but I think something like accounting would be more useful. You can take principles of micro and macro and get 90% of what you'd get out of an economics major.

staythecourse
Posts: 6131
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by staythecourse » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:22 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:13 am

The world is changing very fast. STEM majors? But that's relatively easy to outsource to a low wage country like India, or to shift onto machine learning ("Artificial Intelligence") type platforms. 20 years ago, we would never have imagined that young people could make a living as internet-based "style influencers". 30 years ago we'd never heard of a "web page developer". A creative person may well find it easier to make their way in life than a technical one.
Agree. I have a couple toddlers and have NO clue what/ if any jobs will be available in 20 years. With outsourcing, automation, and AI I am not sure if there are any careers that are safe. I'm a doctor and married to one and easily could see cut in the workforce by 20% with use of technology and AI. If medicine is not safe I am not sure what jobs will be safe going forward.

Vocational jobs/ tradesman are likely to be in high demand as they can not be outsourced. If you need plumbing work done it can't be done in India or by AI (at least not in a cost effective manner). Starting to think having my kid be a plumber straight out of high school and build a company employing 10 other plumbers may be a great option. Would never have imagined that 20 years ago.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

Maverick3320
Posts: 503
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 2:59 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Maverick3320 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:46 am

FireProof wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 am
Econ is a pretty practical and employable major, if that's what you are asking. In an abstract sense, more respectable than business, but that's mostly because business majors tend to go to much worse colleges - there are econ majors at Harvard and Stanford, but not business, and bottom-feeding schools specialize in "practical" majors like business. At the same college, the difference will be pretty minor, though, I would guess.

At Berkeley, we see:
Econ: Average starting salary: 71K - 16% seeking employment, 7% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... 17Econ.pdf

Business: Average starting salary 77k, 8% seeking employment, 3% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... siness.pdf

Pretty similar. Now, business majors have a much higher response rate, so that may conceal a larger difference, but it also may be a result of the Business School being more career-oriented and encouraging responses much more strongly than the School of Letters and Science.
Interesting figures. Is there any overlap in the numbers? That is, do grad students report an income?

eugenem
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:54 am
Location: NJ

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by eugenem » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:21 am

I majored in Economics. Enjoyed the classes, particularly the Statistics ones. Ended up as a software developer and now work as an IT architect in the insurance industry.

RealHornblower
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:55 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by RealHornblower » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:54 am

I majored in economics and math. My experience has been a mixed bag.

I graduated in 2013. The economy was still a bit soft then, with lots of graduates from 2009-2012 still competing for the same entry-level jobs I wanted. I got a lot of rejections and ended up working in a call center at a bank, making $34k a year plus maybe $500/month in bonuses if I was lucky. Better than a lot of people, but for a double major with decent grades, extra-curricular leadership positions, and excellent internship experience, that was very discouraging. After 1.5 years I managed to get a promotion to underwriter, with a better bonus structure, maybe making $45k total a year.

Another 1.5 years and our department got laid off. I had very little experience compared to most underwriters and no certifications. I took the advice of some friends and started applying to every job that was "entry-level" with "analyst" in the title. Before our 2 months notice was up I had a job offer making $50k as a Business Intelligence Analyst, based largely on my familiarity with a software called Tableau, which I had used in one economics class my Junior year. I am eternally grateful to my advisor who taught that class. I've since seen my comp rise to $60k with a promotion.

So I started out weak, but was saved by my strong stats background and particular skill set. Maybe my bad start was due to the economy, maybe it was because I wasn't good at job hunting. I think if your daughter has the good fortune to graduate in a strong economy, she could get a decent job ($50-$60k) right off the bat.

However, if you want to be a bit safer, I'd recommend a bit more specialization than just an economics major. If I'd been smarter, I would have tried to take the 1st one or two actuarial exams while in college, and would have probably gotten a great job starting out. Another option is an accounting or CPA certification. Or, at least, take a lot of math and stat classes. An economics major, I think, needs to be combined with something else to give a resume that extra bit that leads to a good job.

Calico
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:45 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Calico » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:18 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I am just going to let her read this thread since it's full of so much good information.

A lot of this is due to the school pressuring her to tell them what her college plans are. They are a little aggressive on that. She's been telling them undecided but her counselor keeps asking her. So she and I sat down and figured out what she likes to do, what she likes to study, and what would lead to a decent job (or at least could be a path to a decent job). She came up with economics. It could change (and might in college or even before then). But at least it gives some direction on which high school courses to take. Her high school offers classes in micro- and macro-economics as well as statistics, personal finance, and general accounting.

Thegame14
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Thegame14 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:21 pm

accounting has more jobs than economics I believe, and the only job for a music major is to be a teacher of music, if you aren't going to be a professional.

Calico
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:45 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Calico » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:31 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:21 pm
accounting has more jobs than economics I believe, and the only job for a music major is to be a teacher of music, if you aren't going to be a professional.
She seriously considered being a professional musician (in an orchestra). Then she found out how much it pays and how hard it is to get the job. Maybe she will join a community orchestra (like community theater) as a hobby.

bigred77
Posts: 2002
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by bigred77 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:43 pm

I'm an Econ major. Obviously biased, but I'm a big fan.

I think it's a great foundation for any "business" related career path (finance, accounting, marketing, sales, consulting, entrepreneurship, operations management, etc.) You will be qualified for almost any entry level corporate job. I think it's an awesome degree to get a well rounded business education, get some corporate experience, and then get an MBA (or not if it's unneeded) once you've identified your "path" (or at least industry, focus, niche, or interest).

dziuniek
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:54 pm
Location: Corrupticut

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by dziuniek » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:44 pm

I'm not sure if this is important or not, but in many colleges (if not most?) an Economics degree is a BA and not BS... - only you two can decide if that makes a difference or not.

ssquared87
Posts: 722
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:54 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by ssquared87 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:46 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:21 pm
accounting has more jobs than economics I believe, and the only job for a music major is to be a teacher of music, if you aren't going to be a professional.
Not at all. Most people who study economics don’t become economists. Accounting only prepares you for accounting jobs. Economics prepares you for any position where problem solving is a key part of the job.

I work in consulting and specialize in data analytics and studied economics. Many of my colleagues also have an economics degree. A lot of the people I interact with in the tech scene have Econ backgrounds but do software developlment.

Economics prepares you for any position involving problem solving whereas accounting you’re stuck just doing accounting.

dziuniek
Posts: 491
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:54 pm
Location: Corrupticut

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by dziuniek » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:47 pm

My wife's cousin had a BA in Econ from UConn with a 3.0 but didn't manage to get a decent job.
He ended up going back and getting a BS in Accounting.

Idk if that made sense, but he's had decent jobs since.

Also I'm biased because I have a BS in Accounting and MS in Accounting & Taxation.

I do think ECON sound more interesting though!

yohac
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:42 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by yohac » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:48 pm

Calico wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:31 pm
She seriously considered being a professional musician (in an orchestra). Then she found out how much it pays and how hard it is to get the job. Maybe she will join a community orchestra (like community theater) as a hobby.
Smart gal. I read somewhere that there are more players in the NFL than there are full-time orchestra musicians. And the NFL at least has turnover.

User avatar
dodecahedron
Posts: 3745
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:11 pm

ssquared87 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:46 pm
Thegame14 wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:21 pm
accounting has more jobs than economics I believe, and the only job for a music major is to be a teacher of music, if you aren't going to be a professional.
Not at all. Most people who study economics don’t become economists. Accounting only prepares you for accounting jobs. Economics prepares you for any position where problem solving is a key part of the job.

I work in consulting and specialize in data analytics and studied economics. Many of my colleagues also have an economics degree. A lot of the people I interact with in the tech scene have Econ backgrounds but do software developlment.

Economics prepares you for any position involving problem solving whereas accounting you’re stuck just doing accounting.
There are other majors that will teach you problem solving (notably applied math, computer science, statistics, electrical engineering, indeed pretty much any form of engineering, even pure math). At many schools, economics is a very popular major and there are insufficient faculty in economics. She might get more attention from her professors and adviser in a less popular major. If she really loves the subject matter of economics, then a double major might give her the best of both world--exposure to the subject in economics and more faculty attention, mentoring, and smaller classes in her other major.

Edited to add: my own experience is that I was a math major as an undergrad (very small major so I got a lot of attention and advising) but took a lot of courses in economics also and wound up getting a PhD in economics, with a specialization in mathematical economics. If there is any chance she might want to do a PhD in economics, then a math major with an economics minor is a more valuable foundation than the other way around.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

robertmcd
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:06 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by robertmcd » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:16 pm

My good friend at UT austin majored in economics. My friends in finance at Mccombs school of business looked down upon that major. Worked for DFA in Austin for 2 years and did the CFA. He is now doing energy investment banking and doing quite well I am sure.

User avatar
TxAg
Posts: 1307
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by TxAg » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:34 pm

Econ major here. Take plenty of finance and accounting classes. Take statistics and econometrics. Take Calculus 1 and 2.


Econ is a great way to mix business strategy, math, stats, and common sense.

I wanted to be an Econ PhD but stunk (comparatively) at math.

nerdymarketer
Posts: 116
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:18 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by nerdymarketer » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:38 pm

Get a Math/Econ combined major or a CS / Econ combined major.

Either is extremely valuable in this age of data scientists.

grog
Posts: 372
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by grog » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:38 pm

Kuna_Papa_Wengi wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:16 am
I did, but I would not recommend it. It's not a bad major but I think something like accounting would be more useful. You can take principles of micro and macro and get 90% of what you'd get out of an economics major.
Diminishing marginal utility of econ classes.

If the program has calculus-based price theory and econometrics in it, there's a bit more value there beyond the intro material, imo.

thatme
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:54 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by thatme » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:46 pm

I went to big state U and minored in Econ (majored in Poli Sci, went to law school).

If I recall correctly, my school offered both hard econ and easy econ -- both will get you a degree in Econ, but different degrees. Hard econ = BS in Econ, requires lots of math, calculus, etc. Easy Econ = BA in Econ -- basic courses, all theoretical, no math involved. I think the BS in Econ is worth it, the other not as much. Based on what you said, in addition to investigating Econ I would consider a major in math, finance, or even applied math (possibly Actuarial Science)? Lots to consider to be certain, but definitely investigate the actual underlying course requirements for the school she's considering.

User avatar
dodecahedron
Posts: 3745
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by dodecahedron » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:46 pm

robertmcd wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:16 pm
My good friend at UT austin majored in economics. My friends in finance at Mccombs school of business looked down upon that major. Worked for DFA in Austin for 2 years and did the CFA. He is now doing energy investment banking and doing quite well I am sure.
In universities that have both an undergrad business major AND an economics major, the former program is frequently far more selective and harder to enter. As a result, economics majors in such places may be looked down upon by their classmates because they may assume the student did not have the credentials to enter the business program. (Of course, that may not always be the situation--the student may simply find the courses in economics more inherently interesting.)

Many of the most selective colleges and universities do not even offer undergrad business majors. (E.g., Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Stanford, Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore.) A lot of faculty feel rather strongly that undergraduates should not be majoring in business, though they may take some individual classes in that subject (e.g., finance, accounting), because at the undergrad level, they really ought to have an overall strong foundation in economics theory and statistical methods.

grog
Posts: 372
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by grog » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:38 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:46 pm
robertmcd wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:16 pm
My good friend at UT austin majored in economics. My friends in finance at Mccombs school of business looked down upon that major. Worked for DFA in Austin for 2 years and did the CFA. He is now doing energy investment banking and doing quite well I am sure.
In universities that have both an undergrad business major AND an economics major, the former program is frequently far more selective and harder to enter. As a result, economics majors in such places may be looked down upon by their classmates because they may assume the student did not have the credentials to enter the business program. (Of course, that may not always be the situation--the student may simply find the courses in economics more inherently interesting.)

Many of the most selective colleges and universities do not even offer undergrad business majors. (E.g., Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Stanford, Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore.) A lot of faculty feel rather strongly that undergraduates should not be majoring in business, though they may take some individual classes in that subject (e.g., finance, accounting), because at the undergrad level, they really ought to have an overall strong foundation in economics theory and statistical methods.
At my school, you had to apply to the undergrad business major but not Econ, so in that sense you could say it was "more selective." But that is precisely because business was an easier program (and very popular). Some people that didn't get into the business program would do to Econ instead, but they tended to slog through with "gentleman's C's."

User avatar
tinscale
Posts: 386
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by tinscale » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:59 pm

I began my federal career as an architecture/engineering technician and after I got by my BA in Economics moved into program and policy analysis. I did a lot of different things that drew on the thought processes I learned in Econ, but actually did economics work only for a couple years doing cost-benefit and net present value analysis for federal building projects. The BS degree has more mathematical and quantitative aspects, while the BA degree has more psychology and social aspects.

lws6772
Posts: 461
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:14 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by lws6772 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:09 pm

Not an economics major but I suggest she read "Naked Economics" by Charles Wheelan. The writer made the book so interesting it made me wish I had been an economics major . The forward is by Burton G. Malkiel(random walk dude), another favorite and influential book for me.

grog
Posts: 372
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:09 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by grog » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:15 pm

thatme wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:46 pm
I went to big state U and minored in Econ (majored in Poli Sci, went to law school).

If I recall correctly, my school offered both hard econ and easy econ -- both will get you a degree in Econ, but different degrees. Hard econ = BS in Econ, requires lots of math, calculus, etc. Easy Econ = BA in Econ -- basic courses, all theoretical, no math involved. I think the BS in Econ is worth it, the other not as much. Based on what you said, in addition to investigating Econ I would consider a major in math, finance, or even applied math (possibly Actuarial Science)? Lots to consider to be certain, but definitely investigate the actual underlying course requirements for the school she's considering.
The BA/BS thing varies considerably by school. Without specific knowledge you can't infer what kind of program it is just by that. Harvard offers an A.B. degree, for example, but it's mathematical.

I remember Isaac Asimov one time talking about his time at Columbia. He said he got a BS in chemistry but he seemed kind of bitter about getting what he seemed to see as the socially inferior BS degree rather than the classier BA (which he implied they only gave to the better connected "WASPs" or something).

User avatar
alec
Posts: 2955
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:15 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by alec » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:36 pm

Econ major here.

In high school, I was pretty good at math and physics, then did engineering for the first year in college. Didn't like that at all, so switched from the Engineering School to the College of Arts and Crafts. :D Took an intro Econ class my second year and decided I hated Econ less than anything else, so did Econ. I didn't really like intro and intermediate micro and macro economics classes, but the higher level elective classes were much more interesting. Maybe it's like that in most majors - i.e. you have to suffer through the core/intro/weedout classes before the interesting stuff comes along. I liked Econometrics more than statistics.

Anyway, I can't say that my jobs after college involved much micro or macro economics or any economics analysis, and none of the people that hired me probably knew/remembered what any of the Econ classes I took entailed (they were math and accounting majors). This may be why it's a pretty flexible major. :wink: My first boss (a math major) out of college thought that I knew how the stock market worked or that I knew about investing (I didn't yet).

As others have said, your daughter may change her mind of majors once or a few times in college, but I'd advise her to take an intro Econ class, perhaps an accounting class, perhaps a finance class, etc., to she what she likes. Also, have her look at the courses these majors take. They all should be on the websites of the respective majors on the University's website.

One of my favorite parts of being an Econ major was explaining marginal utility of consumption with beer. :sharebeer That was a "big hit" at fraternity/sorority mixers. 8-)
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair

Bfwolf
Posts: 1809
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:19 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Bfwolf » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:58 pm

FireProof wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 am
At Berkeley, we see:
Econ: Average starting salary: 71K - 16% seeking employment, 7% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... 17Econ.pdf

Business: Average starting salary 77k, 8% seeking employment, 3% grad school
https://career.berkeley.edu/sites/defau ... siness.pdf

Pretty similar. Now, business majors have a much higher response rate, so that may conceal a larger difference, but it also may be a result of the Business School being more career-oriented and encouraging responses much more strongly than the School of Letters and Science.
This may bolster your argument further: at Berkeley, pretty much anybody can be an econ major but the business school is very selective. One cannot apply to it straight from high school. Instead, students apply after their sophomore year at Berkeley, having fulfilled some prerequisites for the business school. Only 1 in 3 get in, so the competition is pretty fierce given all the applicants managed to get into Berkeley and have a respectable GPA there (few would bother applying with anything less than a 3.0). I imagine that many of the people who do not get into the business school major in economics. So there's strong selection bias for better students being in the business school.

delamer
Posts: 6283
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by delamer » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:26 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:02 am
My friend is an econ major and had to get an MBA before he could earn more than 6 figures. I was pretty surprised at how little he knows about personal finance. You'd think schools would want their econ majors to be able to handle their own finances.
I am not.

The one thing I learned directly related to personal finance as an econ major was that when interest rates go up, bond prices go down.

My required statistics courses helped a lot though, with interpreting numbers.

If OP’s daughter wants to be a CFO, my MBA husband recommends majoring in either finance or accounting.

I agree with a previous poster who said to take as much statistics and calculus as possible if she goes with economics.

At my college, business majors had to take several econ courses but econ majors didn’t have to take any business courses. If that is true where she enrolls, I’d consider starting with a business major. It will be easier to switch from business to econ than the other way around.

I ended up with a career in statistical surveys, mostly government but some years in the private sector.
Last edited by delamer on Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

brokenrecord
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:25 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by brokenrecord » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:36 pm

I was an Ag Econ major, but didn't use it much. Now in medical sales. Try some economics podcasts, like Freakonomics. Might get the juices flowing on job opportunities outside of traditional Economist, CFO, etc.

User avatar
ladders11
Posts: 814
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:20 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by ladders11 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:55 pm

BA, Economics. I was "undecided" for too long, and ultimately relied upon the wrong indicators (what courses I enjoyed, etc). The reality of Master's or PhD work in Economics is it's a calculus and mathematics application, biased towards those who are skilled in those areas (not me, lol).

So, what would I recommend, if I did this over again?
  • Major in what will best position you for success, meaning what you are good at and what offers the most jobs (pay attention to quantities of job opportunities per major, not "average starting salary" which is BS).
  • Think about blowing through undergrad (summer school) and getting a Master's, starting your career early. College is hard though.
  • Almost any major will work as a setup to get an MBA, as long as you get good grades and will score well on the GMAT.
  • To maximize future earnings, begin work in an economically strong area (Bay, Chicago, Boston, NYC) with lots of opportunities. COL will be high.
  • Work in a big company at least once, because big companies more consistently treat people equally, pay somewhat fairly, and offer career progression. If all else fails, networking within the org and having a big company name on the resume will attract future opportunities.

User avatar
mlebuf
Posts: 1860
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:27 pm
Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by mlebuf » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:48 am

Hi Calico,

As a former business school professor and what little I know about your daughter, I believe her career would be better served by majoring in Accounting or possibly Finance than Economics. Economics is a fascinating field and I took 21 hours of it. However, accounting is the language of business and being skilled in that increases her odds success. Every business no matter what size needs someone who understands the language of business, but not every business needs an economist. If she enjoys math, I suggest that she also consider majoring in Statistics or Actuarial Science. I just found this with a quick Google search:
https://www.beanactuary.org/what/?fa=fa ... -actuaries

While I believe that it's important to study what one enjoys and has an aptitude for, success in business is determined by the skills we bring to the table. The best of all worlds is to find a major she enjoys studying and has a ready and waiting job market for her skills.

I wish her every success.
Best wishes, | Michael | | Invest your time actively and your money passively.

scrabbler1
Posts: 2232
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by scrabbler1 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:06 am

I majored in Economics at NYU back in the 1980s. How I got there was anything but a direct route, though.

I began my time at NYU as a Comp Sci major in the Arts and Sciences school before switching to NYU's business school in my second year, keeping my major (Computer Applications). But in my third year, I didn't like the direction that curriculum was heading, so I changed my major to Economics. I still had 4 Econ courses to take in my last 3 semesters, but I aced them all, eventually earning the NYU business school's award for to Econ student in my graduating class.

I headed into the actuarial field, passing the first exam as I finished my undergrad time at NYU, and got a job in the insurance industry. They liked my combination of a broader business background (i.e. Econ major) along with the equivalent of a Comp Sci minor instead of the usual math/stat traits of their new hires. I soon gave up on the actuarial exams but had already made my presence felt at the company (thanks to my programming skills) and would stay there for 23 years. I was a "big fish in a small pond," a good place to be career-wise.

Being an Econ major taught me how to think logically and in a business sense. Having a BS, not a BA, included all the required business courses, especially Finance, which got me there. Those courses replaced the added liberal arts requirements (a BA would need) I had no real use for.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:18 am

RealHornblower wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:54 am
I majored in economics and math. My experience has been a mixed bag.

I graduated in 2013. The economy was still a bit soft then, with lots of graduates from 2009-2012 still competing for the same entry-level jobs I wanted. I got a lot of rejections and ended up working in a call center at a bank, making $34k a year plus maybe $500/month in bonuses if I was lucky. Better than a lot of people, but for a double major with decent grades, extra-curricular leadership positions, and excellent internship experience, that was very discouraging. After 1.5 years I managed to get a promotion to underwriter, with a better bonus structure, maybe making $45k total a year.

Another 1.5 years and our department got laid off. I had very little experience compared to most underwriters and no certifications. I took the advice of some friends and started applying to every job that was "entry-level" with "analyst" in the title. Before our 2 months notice was up I had a job offer making $50k as a Business Intelligence Analyst, based largely on my familiarity with a software called Tableau, which I had used in one economics class my Junior year. I am eternally grateful to my advisor who taught that class. I've since seen my comp rise to $60k with a promotion.

So I started out weak, but was saved by my strong stats background and particular skill set. Maybe my bad start was due to the economy, maybe it was because I wasn't good at job hunting. I think if your daughter has the good fortune to graduate in a strong economy, she could get a decent job ($50-$60k) right off the bat.

However, if you want to be a bit safer, I'd recommend a bit more specialization than just an economics major. If I'd been smarter, I would have tried to take the 1st one or two actuarial exams while in college, and would have probably gotten a great job starting out. Another option is an accounting or CPA certification. Or, at least, take a lot of math and stat classes. An economics major, I think, needs to be combined with something else to give a resume that extra bit that leads to a good job.
My understanding of actuarial science is that these are about the toughest exams it is possible to do. People study years to be actuaries, and it's a long, hard road. Only the brightest and most determined reach it.

It's then a job for life and general pay is very good. But you become specialized immediately: Life actuary, pension actuary, non-life (property & casualty) actuary. It's very hard to break out of that career silo - you have either rise to the top as a partner in a consulting firm (so be good at selling) or work your way up through an insurance company (my general impression is that there are far too many insurance companies out there - an industry ripe for huge rationalization).

I would think that a CPA gives a lot more options. Every industry needs CPAs because all companies (and government, and higher education) have finance functions.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:43 am

grog wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:15 pm
thatme wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:46 pm
I went to big state U and minored in Econ (majored in Poli Sci, went to law school).

If I recall correctly, my school offered both hard econ and easy econ -- both will get you a degree in Econ, but different degrees. Hard econ = BS in Econ, requires lots of math, calculus, etc. Easy Econ = BA in Econ -- basic courses, all theoretical, no math involved. I think the BS in Econ is worth it, the other not as much. Based on what you said, in addition to investigating Econ I would consider a major in math, finance, or even applied math (possibly Actuarial Science)? Lots to consider to be certain, but definitely investigate the actual underlying course requirements for the school she's considering.
The BA/BS thing varies considerably by school. Without specific knowledge you can't infer what kind of program it is just by that. Harvard offers an A.B. degree, for example, but it's mathematical.

I remember Isaac Asimov one time talking about his time at Columbia. He said he got a BS in chemistry but he seemed kind of bitter about getting what he seemed to see as the socially inferior BS degree rather than the classier BA (which he implied they only gave to the better connected "WASPs" or something).
Given that Columbia and the (other?) Ivy League Universities had quotas on the number of Jewish students, at the time, a suspicion of anti-semitic prejudice is probably correct.

Asimov went on to do his Phd in Biochemistry and to write many books on science (as well as his science fiction career) so I'd be surprised if he really regretted it?

Also his science background kept him out of line infantry when he did his military service, as I recall. I can't remember the dates but he might have died in WW2. Instead he worked at a navy research lab in Philadelphia -- with L Sprague de Camp and Robert Heinlein? (Heinlein never got over being discharged from the USN before WW2 due to tuberculosis - he would return to the theme of the honour of military combat service again and again in his novels).

2 "literary WASPs" were Paul Fussell, who served as a lieutenant on the western front in WW2, and William Manchester, who flunked out of Marine officer school (partly deliberately) and served as a sergeant and sniper at Okinawa (and wrote Goodbye Darkness, as good a memoir of the Pacific War as any I know. They lived, despite injuries. and lived to write about it, but they chronicle all their many comrades who did not, or did not survive unharmed. Both of their books leave you in no doubt as to what would have happened had the war progressed to an invasion of Japan -- these were men on a death row, waiting for their sentence to be carried out. Only the unexpected collapse of Japanese resistance saved their lives.

On the subject of "literary WASPs" in WW1: Robert Graves (author of I, Claudius), the poet wrote "Goodbye to All That" about serving in WW1. And so did JRR Tolkein (the land of Mordor in the 3rd book of Lord of the Rings is pretty clearly the trenches and its evocation of horror is so strong for that reason). They also leave you in no doubt about what a young officer in the trenches of WW1 was facing. Both Graves and Tolkein were privately educated ("public school") English boys who served as officers in the trenches.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:52 am

Calico wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:18 pm
Thanks for the feedback. I am just going to let her read this thread since it's full of so much good information.

A lot of this is due to the school pressuring her to tell them what her college plans are. They are a little aggressive on that. She's been telling them undecided but her counselor keeps asking her. So she and I sat down and figured out what she likes to do, what she likes to study, and what would lead to a decent job (or at least could be a path to a decent job). She came up with economics. It could change (and might in college or even before then). But at least it gives some direction on which high school courses to take. Her high school offers classes in micro- and macro-economics as well as statistics, personal finance, and general accounting.
OK the high school (?Advanced Placement? the North American school system has changed since I was in it) economics course are only interesting as a way to find out whether you like the subject.

The big jump is that in college there will be far more math. My college (a large Canadian public university) in fact had 2 streams: the one for the economics majors (hard) and the one for the Business students and economics minors (much easier).

Statistics, personal finance & general accounting are all very valuable in life. And if one discovers one likes accounting, then an excellent career track is set. If people learn in personal finance how to budget and save (let alone to invest in low cost index funds) then that's a lesson for life.

However I would not want low grades in those to screw up getting into the right college. I thought accounting awful and boring when I did it in first year university -- barely passed. Now I think it's quite interesting and I use it virtually every day. Some things just aren't right for every adolescent. My father was an engineer who learned a lot of accounting late in his career - once you progress into management you really need to know that stuff.

And I worry that some colleges may discount those courses. Certainly it's easier to get into a very academic college, I think, with good marks in Latin than with a good mark in accounting.

Encourage her to stick with music as long as she can, even if not to pursue a professional career in it. 1000 times in her life: in job interviews, on dates, when introducing her as a guest speaker, when someone reads her CV -- that will come up and be noted. And the ability in adulthood to play a musical instrument well is just gold - one of my directors still sings in early music choirs, was a professional singer. And one of her previous roles was working with engineers designing the world's top sports cars.

Calico
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 5:45 pm

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Calico » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:45 am

Thanks again. There has been a lot more posted since she read this thread so I will have her look at it again. She's scoffing a bit because she doesn't "want" to be an accountant. She is a teenager after all and they can be a bit idealistic. But she also tends to be a little more practical than most teens and logic wins her over. She says she wants to major in something that leads to a career she would enjoy, would pay well, and something that is "worth the money paid for college."

She's best at math, by far. She's a grade ahead in math classes and says it's easy and she consistently gets things like 105% on exams (there is always extra credit). She hopes to get music scholarships but still major in something more practical if it's possible. She's pretty talented as a musician (I think there are ties between math and music) and she plays multiple instruments very well. I think it's going to be a lifelong hobby for her. She will sit and play instruments (usually piano or her baritone) for hours as "fun" and a way to "de-stress." Meanwhile, the X-box gathers dust, haha.

Valuethinker
Posts: 36378
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Anyone here major in Economics in college?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:41 am

Calico wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:45 am
Thanks again. There has been a lot more posted since she read this thread so I will have her look at it again. She's scoffing a bit because she doesn't "want" to be an accountant. She is a teenager after all and they can be a bit idealistic. But she also tends to be a little more practical than most teens and logic wins her over. She says she wants to major in something that leads to a career she would enjoy, would pay well, and something that is "worth the money paid for college."

She's best at math, by far. She's a grade ahead in math classes and says it's easy and she consistently gets things like 105% on exams (there is always extra credit). She hopes to get music scholarships but still major in something more practical if it's possible. She's pretty talented as a musician (I think there are ties between math and music) and she plays multiple instruments very well. I think it's going to be a lifelong hobby for her. She will sit and play instruments (usually piano or her baritone) for hours as "fun" and a way to "de-stress." Meanwhile, the X-box gathers dust, haha.
Aptitude in mathematics and in music does seem to correlate.

University level mathematics is a huge jump from high school (pace Advanced Placement, perhaps). A lot of people go to university thinking they will do something mathematical, and realizing they are just not cut out for it. That's one reason why it is wise to keep one's options fairly open.

If she decides later in her educational career to pursue accounting there are ways to catch up.

I have taught a lot of adults (professional courses), I observe that things that are really useful from university (and high school) and are hard to pick up after university are :

- mathematical skills
- statistics - in the age of Data Science and Big Data an understanding of stats is really important in just about every managerial role
- languages (I live in Europe so that's even more true, but for an American Spanish & Chinese in particular)
- skills like playing a musical instrument - one does not usually find the time & application to do that again post university
- the sort of people skills that are taught by (some forms) of participation in sports (individual sports it is more about application and determination, persistence - which are keys to success in any walk of life), student leadership
- the ability to think logically - that's taught in a huge range of fields, but it's not always taught - history, literature, economics, philosophy - they can all teach that, so to physical sciences & mathematics. Most of what we process as adults are thinly thought through or obviously wrong arguments in media, politics, business - but most people most of the time cannot properly critique those (read any internet conspiracy theory for an example)

Post Reply