Finance as a college major?

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friar1610
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Finance as a college major?

Post by friar1610 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:36 pm

I went to an event last night at which local alumni welcomed the parents of and new freshmen preparing to start at my alma mater in a few more weeks. The school focuses on liberal arts and sciences, business and education (no engineering, nursing, etc.) The students were asked to introduce themselves, give their home towns and high schools and say what they planned to major in. Of 15 or so students, 10 or 11 said they planned to study finance. I know this was completely unscientific. Does anyone know if finance has become a wildly popular undergraduate major across the board?
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alec
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by alec » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:49 pm

Seems like a small sample size. Did you ask then if they've taken a college finance course?

Or for that matter been to a college party? :D
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:50 pm

I'd say the reason is similar to the reason given when they asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks. He said, "Because that's where the money is."

edit: You're right. If you look at the national center for education statistics. Data shows "business" as a field of study came in at the top for bachelor's degrees by a wide margin (even moreso 2014-2015 than 10 years prior):

Image

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cta.asp

My understanding is that over the past few decades more people have gone into finance than other science/engineering jobs because there's more money to be made there and it's easier and quicker than becoming a doctor, lawyer, etc.

I'm not knocking finance. It's useful and has applications in many fields. Read the book (I haven't yet, but it's next on my list) Moneyball by Michael Lewis to see how finance and behavioral economics reshaped the entire sports industry as a result.

The problem I see is that many choose this field because they think they'll have job security or make a ton of money right out of the gate and they're doing it for the wrong reasons. You should really enjoy the world of finance, don't just do it because you think you'll get rich. Many that do it for the wrong reasons will end up changing careers later on when they become miserable in their finance jobs.

I'm sure many of them are too young to remember what happened to the employees of Lehman brothers, Bear Sterns and the like. You can see some pictures here: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report ... ndmail.com&

There were a lot of people with skills, education, etc. who found themselves jobless in the financial industry in 2008-2009. Many accepted jobs at much lower salary. Those were the ones lucky to get jobs. It's not a slam dunk. Hopefully, they're doing it for the right reasons and not just looking at it as some kind of safe route.
Last edited by arcticpineapplecorp. on Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by dashtadj » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:57 pm

To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by North Texas Cajun » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:18 pm

I don't think the large number of business degrees indicates that more students are seeking Wall Street and investment type jobs. Schools of business across the country offer a variety of fields of study. Not just the traditional quartet - finance, accounting, management, and marketing - but also specialized programs such as international business, health care management, real estate, insurance, supply chain management, sports marketing, and more.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:22 pm

dashtadj wrote:To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Helo80 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:32 pm

IDK if I'd call it a "wildly" popular field. But, it's a degree that you can do a lot with from computers, to data science, to the bread and butter banking and investment stuff. It's a pretty safe and flexible field to get a degree in.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by alex_686 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:50 pm

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:I'm not knocking finance. It's useful and has applications in many fields. Read the book (I haven't yet, but it's next on my list) Moneyball by Michael Lewis to see how finance and behavioral economics reshaped the entire sports industry as a result.

The problem I see is that many choose this field because they think they'll have job security or make a ton of money right out of the gate and they're doing it for the wrong reasons. You should really enjoy the world of finance, don't just do it because you think you'll get rich. Many that do it for the wrong reasons will end up changing careers later on when they become miserable in their finance jobs.
I have to chuckle at this. Lewis does not recommend students go into finance. FYI, he graduated with a degree in Art History and did that for a few years. Then he went to The London School of Economics, got his masters, and became a bond salesmen.

Personally I find finance a fascinating subject but I would not get a degree in it. Lewis has not written a bad book yet.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by friar1610 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:53 pm

alec wrote:Seems like a small sample size.Did you ask then if they've taken a college finance course?
Well, no. Because these are kids who won't start college for a few more weeks.
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by chinto » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:44 pm

At least when I got my Finance degree it was promoted as being a modern hybrid degree, a blend of accounting, statistics, investment, management, and computer science resulting in a very well rounded corporate employee who was capable of advancing and comfortable in the accounting/audit capacity, investment, information technology and management.

I may be biased, but my class mates seemed to fare better in the long run than our buddies who did strict accounting, economics, statistics, management, and computer science.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:13 pm

Finance is more math intensive than other Business majors (except Economics). Many students get into finance majors until they realize how much math it requires. Then they go into Business Admin, Marketing, or some such, all of which requires far less math. Most American-born students are math-phobic in one way or another. Most of those students will not graduate in that major.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by McGowan » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:55 am

William4u wrote:Finance is more math intensive than other Business majors (except Economics). Many students get into finance majors until they realize how much math it requires. Then they go into Business Admin, Marketing, or some such, all of which requires far less math. Most American-born students are math-phobic in one way or another. Most of those students will not graduate in that major.
I was an accounting major undergrad. Got my CPA and an MBA in Finance. Worked in private equity last 30 years.

There is no doubt IMO that you can make more money in Finance than just about anything else. BUT IMO the last 30 years have been the golden age of finance; I think the next 30 years are going to be the golden age of data.

The thing that is lesser appreciated is that the more you make, the more your compensation is at risk. With high reward comes high risk. I think it is wrong for highly compensated people to straight line their current compensation for personal forecasting. Trading floors are being reduced or eliminated. Entire stock exchanges are moving from mosh pits of traders to computer driven trading. Financial planners are losing customers to DIY/Bogle/index philosophies. 40 years ago, you could make ridiculous money in sales positions on Wall Street with a high school education. Those sales jobs have not become more intellectually challenging but now those jobs are manned/womanned by MBAs drawn to the compensation.

Finance will continue to be an important field of course but the data will make some of the jobs less valuable. As margins continually get squeezed (example investors using indexes at low cost versus paying trading fees), firms are finding ways to do more with fewer people or more moderately compensated people.

I have a 16 year old child who is thinking about either engineering or business for college. Both easier for those math inclined and both great directions. If he chooses business, I think I'm going to recommend accounting instead of finance. This may be a tough sell because as the OP pointed out, finance is very popular. Having been in finance most of my adult life, I just don't think it is all that hard to learn and as with almost anything, we really learn our jobs by doing our jobs. IMO it's a lot easier to get your first job with accounting. There would be later opportunities to re-direct to finance once there is a work base.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by carolinaman » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:06 am

If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Ace1 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:37 am

by carolinaman » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:06 am

If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.

+1
Agreed!

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by alex_686 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:40 am

carolinaman wrote:If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.
I would pick either Economics or Mathematics. Heck, I would even suggest Philosophy or Art History over Finance. In my view college should be about learning how to learn, while Finance is a technical degree. As such I would point to a MBA program or the CFA program.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by McGowan » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:53 am

alex_686 wrote:
carolinaman wrote:If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.
I would pick either Economics or Mathematics. Heck, I would even suggest Philosophy or Art History over Finance. In my view college should be about learning how to learn, while Finance is a technical degree. As such I would point to a MBA program or the CFA program.
Isn't it a bit questionable to assume that those that study a technical degree don't enhance their studies with liberal arts courses and personal side interests. Is the only way to learn how to learn by studying some esoteric topic in great depth? Frankly, I feel I learned how to learn in high school. Studying liberal arts could be viewed as a luxury as it is more challenging to get a job versus technical degrees.

Being a curious, life long learner makes life very interesting. Having an economic base allows the luxury of continuing the life long learning in more interesting places. 8-)

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by alex_686 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:12 am

McGowan wrote:Isn't it a bit questionable to assume that those that study a technical degree don't enhance their studies with liberal arts courses and personal side interests.
If I was going to criticize myself, I might use the words arrogant and elitist.

I think certain degrees tend to more rigorous and push their students harder. I think certain degrees push their students in certain developmental directions. For example, most finance and accounting majors I know tend to be pragmatic in-the-box thinkers. Most of the people I respect in Finance did not get degrees in Finance or Accounting.

On this I will admit that this is not absolute. One of the brightest persons I have worked with was somebody who graduated with a accounting degree from a mid-rung state college.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by simplesimon » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:51 am

friar1610 wrote:I went to an event last night at which local alumni welcomed the parents of and new freshmen preparing to start at my alma mater in a few more weeks. The school focuses on liberal arts and sciences, business and education (no engineering, nursing, etc.) The students were asked to introduce themselves, give their home towns and high schools and say what they planned to major in. Of 15 or so students, 10 or 11 said they planned to study finance. I know this was completely unscientific. Does anyone know if finance has become a wildly popular undergraduate major across the board?
Business is going to be a lot more popular than the other majors you mentioned. Why "finance" specifically as opposed to accounting, economics, or marketing? Who knows...finance might sound better to a kid or is a concept they think they have more familiarity with at that age compared to the other areas.

What do the parents do?

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by topper1296 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:10 am

Ace1 wrote:by carolinaman » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:06 am

If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.

+1
Agreed!
It's been my experience that accountants aren't very good at forecasting which is a major part of budgeting. Accountants look at the past and present and finance people look at the present and future. Both are important.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:25 am

I think my undergraduate degree in Finance really prepared me to advance in the corporate world. It seemed I was a go-to person on a lot of things needing in-depth investigation involving productivity, job flows, budgets, etc.

Truthfully I leaned towards Finance because I liked the business environment.

However, I think Sales is a better route to high pay outside the Wall Street scene.

Our oldest daughter is our only daughter who followed me into the business world, she recently was recruited by a company looking for an sales account manager. She previously was in a supportive role as a Finance Manager supporting some stellar accounts. Her old firm had little opportunity for her to become an account manager as the existing account managers were all about my daughter's age and were not likely to leave. Plus they were being required to physically move to the corporate HQ and she doesn't want to move.

She earned a music education major then an MBA.

She is on her fourth job out of college, it seems one needs to change jobs more to secure the advancement in today's employment environment. Much different than my employment experiences.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Pacman » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:33 am

topper1296 wrote:
Ace1 wrote:by carolinaman » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:06 am

If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.

+1
Agreed!
It's been my experience that accountants aren't very good at forecasting which is a major part of budgeting. Accountants look at the past and present and finance people look at the present and future. Both are important.
That is the stereotype but let's at least be honest and say that putting together a budget/forecast is not difficult. For starters, at large companies, the starting point for forecasts/budgets is..... historical data.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by friar1610 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:05 pm

simplesimon wrote:
friar1610 wrote:I went to an event last night at which local alumni welcomed the parents of and new freshmen preparing to start at my alma mater in a few more weeks. The school focuses on liberal arts and sciences, business and education (no engineering, nursing, etc.) The students were asked to introduce themselves, give their home towns and high schools and say what they planned to major in. Of 15 or so students, 10 or 11 said they planned to study finance. I know this was completely unscientific. Does anyone know if finance has become a wildly popular undergraduate major across the board?
Business is going to be a lot more popular than the other majors you mentioned. Why "finance" specifically as opposed to accounting, economics, or marketing? Who knows...finance might sound better to a kid or is a concept they think they have more familiarity with at that age compared to the other areas.

What do the parents do?
Dunno. Not sure I asked many nor could I keep track of which kids went with which parents.

I take your point that "business" is a popular (and often sensible) major. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if the majority had said that. But so many saying finance just blew me away.
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by blevine » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:14 am

If you google for it, you'll find that somewhere between 50-80 % of college students change their major. I would not read too much into the decisions of a HS student. They have no idea what a major entails much less if it's suitable for them, before starting college. They often pick based what seems popular and on misconceptions.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:18 am

McGowan wrote:
alex_686 wrote:
carolinaman wrote:If someone wants to pursue a career in finance, I recommend getting a degree in Accounting. It is a more rigorous study and gives more options and potentially more income. Someone with an accounting degree is capable of doing anything a finance degreed person can do, but not vice versa.
I would pick either Economics or Mathematics. Heck, I would even suggest Philosophy or Art History over Finance. In my view college should be about learning how to learn, while Finance is a technical degree. As such I would point to a MBA program or the CFA program.
Isn't it a bit questionable to assume that those that study a technical degree don't enhance their studies with liberal arts courses and personal side interests. Is the only way to learn how to learn by studying some esoteric topic in great depth? Frankly, I feel I learned how to learn in high school. Studying liberal arts could be viewed as a luxury as it is more challenging to get a job versus technical degrees.

Being a curious, life long learner makes life very interesting. Having an economic base allows the luxury of continuing the life long learning in more interesting places. 8-)
There is a current bogleheads discussion about how philosophy majors make more money than many other majors, including business majors...
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=224504&newpost=3471276

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by itstoomuch » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:10 am

My older bro came to the conclusion era of the Great Recession, that Sales skills is more important than finance knowledge.
He'$ has some 50 + years in Big Finance. Still works.

Suggest you do a Dale Carnegie course. :annoyed
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Rick Rock » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:28 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
dashtadj wrote:To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.


In general, folks like Business Admin because it's one of the only majors where you can see a light at the end of the student loan tunnel.

Fixed that for you.

Focusing in response to some other posters - I think finance is a better major choice than accounting for the simple reason that it opens up more of the business world to kids who might not be sure what they want their careers to look like.

At my not especially elite school 10 years ago, an accounting degree virtually guaranteed an entry level Big 4 role. I'm not knocking the career path and work those firms/kids do particularly in light of the student loan situation I referenced earlier, but you've gotta be pretty certain you want to be an accountant to major in accounting.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:35 pm

Rick Rock wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
dashtadj wrote:To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.


In general, folks like Business Admin because it's one of the only majors where you can see a light at the end of the student loan tunnel.

Fixed that for you.
Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy). All of these issues are pretty well documented in the social science literature, including the excellent book Academically Adrift and this NYTimes series on problems with Business majors...

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2 ... ess-degree
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/educa ... ess-t.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/04/busin ... iness.html

Philosophy, History, and English majors on average have higher salaries, and have higher skill levels than Business Admin majors...
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary- ... rs?page=23

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by flamesabers » Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:58 pm

blevine wrote:If you google for it, you'll find that somewhere between 50-80 % of college students change their major. I would not read too much into the decisions of a HS student. They have no idea what a major entails much less if it's suitable for them, before starting college. They often pick based what seems popular and on misconceptions.
I was thinking the same thing. Unless HS students already have gotten some exposure to their major either by attending relevant HS courses or spent a lot of time talking with older relatives/friends who already work in the field, it's very likely these students will change their major or contemplate changing their major.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by McGowan » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:26 pm

Rick Rock wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
dashtadj wrote:To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.


In general, folks like Business Admin because it's one of the only majors where you can see a light at the end of the student loan tunnel.

Fixed that for you.

Focusing in response to some other posters - I think finance is a better major choice than accounting for the simple reason that it opens up more of the business world to kids who might not be sure what they want their careers to look like.

At my not especially elite school 10 years ago, an accounting degree virtually guaranteed an entry level Big 4 role. I'm not knocking the career path and work those firms/kids do particularly in light of the student loan situation I referenced earlier, but you've gotta be pretty certain you want to be an accountant to major in accounting.
What you are implying is that you then have no career options other than to be an accountant. Couldn't be more wrong if that is what you mean.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by hookemhorns » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:51 pm

William4u wrote:
Rick Rock wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
dashtadj wrote:To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.


In general, folks like Business Admin because it's one of the only majors where you can see a light at the end of the student loan tunnel.

Fixed that for you.
Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy). All of these issues are pretty well documented in the social science literature, including the excellent book Academically Adrift and this NYTimes series on problems with Business majors...

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2 ... ess-degree
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/educa ... ess-t.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/04/busin ... iness.html

Philosophy, History, and English majors on average have higher salaries, and have higher skill levels than Business Admin majors...
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary- ... rs?page=23

Your own data doesn't seem to show that. From the Payscale link:

Finance and Economics: starting $56.7, midcareer $98.2
Philosophy: starting 44.1k, midcareer 84.1k
History and political science: starting 44.5, midcareer 76k
English: 40.4k, 68.2k


I would also be very interested to see the same data for English/Philosophy/History majors that did not go on to grad school. Most of the liberal arts people I knew in undergrad viewed it as a route to law school or further graduate studies, whereas business majors were mostly done after undergrad.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by North Texas Cajun » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:32 pm

william4u wrote:Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy).
Well, like anything else, it depends on which school one attends.

I earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton. Wharton also offers undergraduate degrees in business. Some of those undergraduates took a few classes with the MBAs. I talked to them about their other classes. Business degrees at Wharton, whether graduate or undergraduate, are not easy to get. And those graduates earn a lot of money.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:27 pm

North Texas Cajun wrote:
william4u wrote:Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy).
Well, like anything else, it depends on which school one attends.

I earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton. Wharton also offers undergraduate degrees in business. Some of those undergraduates took a few classes with the MBAs. I talked to them about their other classes. Business degrees at Wharton, whether graduate or undergraduate, are not easy to get. And those graduates earn a lot of money.
1. The top schools are exceptions to the rule. A Kellogg, Mendoza, or Wharton B-School degree comes with a great education. This is not the case at most other colleges. The book Academically Adrift goes over some of this.

2. Even at lower ranked schools, Finance and Economics majors get a better education than those in marketing, B-admin or B-management, which tend to be poor (again, this is discussed by the NYTimes and Academically Adrift).

Take a look at the NYTimes articles on this that are linked above.

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William4u
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:32 pm

hookemhorns wrote:
William4u wrote:
Rick Rock wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
dashtadj wrote:To my knowledge and experience Finance is not widely popular, however general "Business Administration" is. I double majored in both Finance and Economics and I would say I got more critical thinking/applicable life/professional skills from Economics
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.


In general, folks like Business Admin because it's one of the only majors where you can see a light at the end of the student loan tunnel.

Fixed that for you.
Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy). All of these issues are pretty well documented in the social science literature, including the excellent book Academically Adrift and this NYTimes series on problems with Business majors...

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2 ... ess-degree
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/educa ... ess-t.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/04/busin ... iness.html

Philosophy, History, and English majors on average have higher salaries, and have higher skill levels than Business Admin majors...
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary- ... rs?page=23

Your own data doesn't seem to show that. From the Payscale link:

Finance and Economics: starting $56.7, midcareer $98.2
Philosophy: starting 44.1k, midcareer 84.1k
History and political science: starting 44.5, midcareer 76k
English: 40.4k, 68.2k


I would also be very interested to see the same data for English/Philosophy/History majors that did not go on to grad school. Most of the liberal arts people I knew in undergrad viewed it as a route to law school or further graduate studies, whereas business majors were mostly done after undergrad.
1. That data does not contradict anything I said. Finance and Economics are exceptions to the rule. Those majors are much better than Business Administration, Marketing, or Business management, which tend to be poor by comparison. Not ALL business degrees have low numbers. But many do.

2. The payscale data I linked is ENTIRELY comparing apples to apples, in that it only compares people with Bachelors degrees who never got any other further degree. If it compares all Philo BAs to Business BAs, it would make Business look even worse, since Philo majors do very well in grad school, get into better grad schools, and tend to go to grad school in larger proportions.

hookemhorns
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by hookemhorns » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:55 pm

William4u wrote:
hookemhorns wrote:
William4u wrote:
Rick Rock wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.


In general, folks like Business Admin because it's one of the only majors where you can see a light at the end of the student loan tunnel.

Fixed that for you.
Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy). All of these issues are pretty well documented in the social science literature, including the excellent book Academically Adrift and this NYTimes series on problems with Business majors...

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2 ... ess-degree
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/educa ... ess-t.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/04/busin ... iness.html

Philosophy, History, and English majors on average have higher salaries, and have higher skill levels than Business Admin majors...
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary- ... rs?page=23

Your own data doesn't seem to show that. From the Payscale link:

Finance and Economics: starting $56.7, midcareer $98.2
Philosophy: starting 44.1k, midcareer 84.1k
History and political science: starting 44.5, midcareer 76k
English: 40.4k, 68.2k


I would also be very interested to see the same data for English/Philosophy/History majors that did not go on to grad school. Most of the liberal arts people I knew in undergrad viewed it as a route to law school or further graduate studies, whereas business majors were mostly done after undergrad.
1. That data does not contradict anything I said. Finance and Economics are exceptions to the rule. Those majors are much better than Business Administration, Marketing, or Business management, which tend to be poor by comparison. Not ALL business degrees have low numbers. But many do.

2. The payscale data I linked is ENTIRELY comparing apples to apples, in that it only compares people with Bachelors degrees who never got any other further degree. If it compares all Philo BAs to Business BAs, it would make Business look even worse, since Philo majors do very well in grad school, get into better grad schools, and tend to go to grad school in larger proportions.
From your same dataset: Marketing and management: starting 44.7, midcareer 84.8. This again appears to be higher than any of the liberal arts majors you listed.

Now let's compare people that go on to get masters degrees in their chosen field:

Marketing and management: starting 52.5, midcareer 103.
English language and lit: 42.6, 67.7.

Starting to see a pattern emerge? Want to really blow your mind, go check out the compensation reports for a top 10 MBA program.

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William4u
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:24 pm

hookemhorns wrote:
William4u wrote:
hookemhorns wrote:
William4u wrote:
Rick Rock wrote: Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy). All of these issues are pretty well documented in the social science literature, including the excellent book Academically Adrift and this NYTimes series on problems with Business majors...

https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2 ... ess-degree
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/educa ... ess-t.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/04/busin ... iness.html

Philosophy, History, and English majors on average have higher salaries, and have higher skill levels than Business Admin majors...
http://www.payscale.com/college-salary- ... rs?page=23

Your own data doesn't seem to show that. From the Payscale link:

Finance and Economics: starting $56.7, midcareer $98.2
Philosophy: starting 44.1k, midcareer 84.1k
History and political science: starting 44.5, midcareer 76k
English: 40.4k, 68.2k


I would also be very interested to see the same data for English/Philosophy/History majors that did not go on to grad school. Most of the liberal arts people I knew in undergrad viewed it as a route to law school or further graduate studies, whereas business majors were mostly done after undergrad.
1. That data does not contradict anything I said. Finance and Economics are exceptions to the rule. Those majors are much better than Business Administration, Marketing, or Business management, which tend to be poor by comparison. Not ALL business degrees have low numbers. But many do.

2. The payscale data I linked is ENTIRELY comparing apples to apples, in that it only compares people with Bachelors degrees who never got any other further degree. If it compares all Philo BAs to Business BAs, it would make Business look even worse, since Philo majors do very well in grad school, get into better grad schools, and tend to go to grad school in larger proportions.
From your same dataset: Marketing and management: starting 44.7, midcareer 84.8. This again appears to be higher than any of the liberal arts majors you listed.

Now let's compare people that go on to get masters degrees in their chosen field:

Marketing and management: starting 52.5, midcareer 103.
English language and lit: 42.6, 67.7.

Starting to see a pattern emerge? Want to really blow your mind, go check out the compensation reports for a top 10 MBA program.

Again, everything I said is consistent with there being some business degrees that are better paying than some liberal arts degrees. You do seem to be comparing double majors (Marketing and management) to single major degree holders, but I'm not sure (I've never heard of such a major as a single major).

Philosophy mid-career salaries (for terminal BA-only) are on average higher than those of Chemistry, Marketing, Business Admin, Business Management, General Business, Accounting, etc. There are some business degrees that do better. The better ones are Finance and Economics. I never said anything that contradicted that.

Philosophy's mid career salary average is $84,100 (for someone with no more than a BA degree). Business Administration is $72,400. Business Management is $72,300. Accounting is $73,200. Chem is $83,000. Business Management & Marketing (double major I presume) is $83,000. All are lower than philo.

Now the masters degree comparison gets a little unfair, since we are comparing people with MBAs to people with MAs in English. The MAs in english are often teachers, and the MBAs work up the ladder of Fortune 500 companies. So naturally the salary difference is greater. However, it is worth noting that many liberal arts degrees (especially philo) has a much higher acceptance rate to MBA programs, and much higher GMAT scores than many business degrees. So if you want an MBA, you are probably be better off with a philo BA than a Buisiness management degree...

Image

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saltycaper
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by saltycaper » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:42 pm

William4u wrote:However, it is worth noting that many liberal arts degrees (especially philo) has a much higher acceptance rate to MBA programs, and much higher GMAT scores than many business degrees. So if you want an MBA, you are probably be better off with a philo BA than a Buisiness management degree...
Too lazy to go to the source... what's the deal with Statistics majors? That one makes no sense.
Quod vitae sectabor iter?

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Righty » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:10 am

If your alma mater happens to be PC (based on your profile picture), I'd say there is likely a strong undercurrent of those interested in studying finance. Same could be said, for lack of a better term, any "preppy" new england school that is traditionally liberal arts oriented. I think the biggest driver is geographic - proximity to Boston/New York and many parents who work in the industry (and have an outsized proportion given their ability to actually pay for these schools).

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patrick013
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by patrick013 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:59 pm

There's a smaller local private college that teaches a pretty
standard US Finance BS degree. Statistics, Corp Finance, etc..
Then you have to pick 2 of the following. I'd kinda like to
take all 4.

Investment Banking
Commercial Banking
Markets and Regulations
Real Estate Analysis

Lot's of small banks in town I guess.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

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N1CKV
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by N1CKV » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:42 pm

William4u wrote:
hookemhorns wrote:
William4u wrote:
Rick Rock wrote:
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
In general, folks like Business Admin because it's relatively easy.
2. The payscale data I linked is ENTIRELY comparing apples to apples, in that it only compares people with Bachelors degrees who never got any other further degree. If it compares all Philo BAs to Business BAs, it would make Business look even worse, since Philo majors do very well in grad school, get into better grad schools, and tend to go to grad school in larger proportions.
So where is your Business Admin degree from since it's so simple?
I'm guessing other majors get graduate degrees in larger numbers because they realized that their bachelor of arts was useless...
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

blevine
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by blevine » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:16 pm

North Texas Cajun wrote:
william4u wrote:Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy).
Well, like anything else, it depends on which school one attends.

I earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton. Wharton also offers undergraduate degrees in business. Some of those undergraduates took a few classes with the MBAs. I talked to them about their other classes. Business degrees at Wharton, whether graduate or undergraduate, are not easy to get. And those graduates earn a lot of money.
Current Penn Engineering students indicated they take Wharton undergrad classes as electives, for the easy A's, compared to Penn Engineering classes.

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patrick013
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by patrick013 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:37 pm

blevine wrote:
North Texas Cajun wrote:
william4u wrote:Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy).
Well, like anything else, it depends on which school one attends.

I earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton. Wharton also offers undergraduate degrees in business. Some of those undergraduates took a few classes with the MBAs. I talked to them about their other classes. Business degrees at Wharton, whether graduate or undergraduate, are not easy to get. And those graduates earn a lot of money.
Current Penn Engineering students indicated they take Wharton undergrad classes as electives, for the easy A's, compared to Penn Engineering classes.
Yes, engineering students are quite math oriented, even tho I did take 4
years of math in high school. The business math is somewhat easy for them.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

Bacchus01
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:13 am

William4u wrote:Finance is more math intensive than other Business majors (except Economics). Many students get into finance majors until they realize how much math it requires. Then they go into Business Admin, Marketing, or some such, all of which requires far less math. Most American-born students are math-phobic in one way or another. Most of those students will not graduate in that major.
Interesting. As someone who spent several years as an Econ major, but moved to Finance as my degree, the quant content in Finance was MUCH higher.

Finance opened so many options for me. I've worked in HR, IT, Operations and Marketing before becoming President of a $500M sub at 40. I would highly recommend finance as a major

staythecourse
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:31 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
William4u wrote:Finance is more math intensive than other Business majors (except Economics). Many students get into finance majors until they realize how much math it requires. Then they go into Business Admin, Marketing, or some such, all of which requires far less math. Most American-born students are math-phobic in one way or another. Most of those students will not graduate in that major.
Interesting. As someone who spent several years as an Econ major, but moved to Finance as my degree, the quant content in Finance was MUCH higher.

Finance opened so many options for me. I've worked in HR, IT, Operations and Marketing before becoming President of a $500M sub at 40. I would highly recommend finance as a major
That my friend is what we call selection bias. I am assuming most if not ALL presidents of multi million dollar companies are run by Finance degrees. That is like saying most lawyers running law firms are lawyers. That doesn't MEAN all finance folks end up in your position. I would say the opposite. Since SO many folks go into business/ finance and that is so vague in its final application one expects to see a large variation in quality of graduates with this degree.

More interesting, is the behavioral science of this whole encounter. I'm wondering if the one's who are interested in business/ finance are MORE likely to go to networking event filled with alumni from the school they are entering. I feel business folks are MUCH better at understanding early on it is important to get as many contacts as possible. As a physician I can tell you I never would have even bothered to go to an event like this. It would have made NO difference in my short, intermediate, or long term goals. I would have been more interested in finding out when the parties start. :D

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

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by Spirit Rider » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:31 am

friar1610 wrote:
alec wrote:Seems like a small sample size.Did you ask then if they've taken a college finance course?
Well, no. Because these are kids who won't start college for a few more weeks.
Many colleges allow/encourage high school students to take actual college courses for dual high school/college credit. Of course you have to pay for them.

In some cases the courses are actually taught in the school by the college's faculty. I talked to one of the professors, who said they liked teaching courses at the HS better than at the campus. The students were self-selected and more motivated.

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William4u
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:42 am

saltycaper wrote:
William4u wrote:However, it is worth noting that many liberal arts degrees (especially philo) has a much higher acceptance rate to MBA programs, and much higher GMAT scores than many business degrees. So if you want an MBA, you are probably be better off with a philo BA than a Buisiness management degree...
Too lazy to go to the source... what's the deal with Statistics majors? That one makes no sense.
I didn't look up exactly why Stats majors do poorly on the GMAT, but if I had the guess, it is because Math is only 1 of 4 sections of the test. The other three parts are Analytical writing, Argument/Integrated Logical Reasoning, and Verbal. My guess is they are lacking on some or all of the other three sections.

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William4u
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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:46 am

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:I'd say the reason is similar to the reason given when they asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks. He said, "Because that's where the money is."

edit: You're right. If you look at the national center for education statistics. Data shows "business" as a field of study came in at the top for bachelor's degrees by a wide margin (even moreso 2014-2015 than 10 years prior):

Image

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cta.asp
I've heard many people talk about a glut of business majors, and this chart certainly reinforces this perception. Business majors (according to the research I linked from the NYTimes) are for the most part easier than other majors, and come with the (for the most part false) perception that more money awaits those majors. It looks like there will be an oversupply of business majors. While some business majors (e.g., econ and finance) show high skills and high lifetime earnings, many others (e.g., Business Admin, Business Management, Marketing) are much lower and much more common degrees.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by amateurnovice » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:25 pm

I knew of a finance major who landed a job at an insurance company which didn't require the degree. It was in sales. He lasted a few months before quitting, going back to get a BS in chemistry, and going to pharmacy school. He wanted the money, but he didn't have the sales gene. Investment Advisers, for example, usually have a business education, but they grow their books by being good salesmen.

If the student plans for a particular business discipline for a specific track, such as insurance, financial planning, or project management, they should first major in the discipline they have the best aptitude for, not the one that will get them the job. Marketing is the only business discipline that is very close to pure sales, but it seems to lack the most as far as knowledge (economics) and acquiring a skillset (accounting). Marketing, psychology, and public relations have a lot in common and are usually paired off as majors/minors.

Jobs are landed through interviewing properly, getting an MBA or MS, licensing, or whatever is necessary for that career. The business major is not completely irrelevant but also not a guarantee of a job in a specific aspect of business. Nursing, for example, secures a job in nursing, but it might not crossover smoothly into business management. Teaching is the same as nursing except there is the disciplinary aspect of teaching that requires knowledge of a particular area and an ability to teach it, so there is more flexibility with teaching than nursing. Accounting is probably the one business discipline that can do both securing a job in a specific field and allowing for flexibility in career direction.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by North Texas Cajun » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:37 pm

blevine wrote:
North Texas Cajun wrote:
william4u wrote:Business Admin majors tend to have lower salaries and lower skills than many other majors (and it is too easy).
Well, like anything else, it depends on which school one attends.

I earned an MBA in Finance from Wharton. Wharton also offers undergraduate degrees in business. Some of those undergraduates took a few classes with the MBAs. I talked to them about their other classes. Business degrees at Wharton, whether graduate or undergraduate, are not easy to get. And those graduates earn a lot of money.
Current Penn Engineering students indicated they take Wharton undergrad classes as electives, for the easy A's, compared to Penn Engineering classes.
Well, it's possible that Wharton had changed since I went there 35 years ago, but I doubt it.

I earned a mathematics degree and worked as a systems analyst/programmer before I got my Wharton MBA in finance. The finance, economics, and marketing research classes at the school were not easy for me - every bit as hard as advanced calculus, analytical geometry, and mathematical statistics. A few Wharton undergraduates did take those courses. But there were no engineering students in those classes.

If any Penn engineering undergraduate students took electives at The Wharton School, I doubt that those were upper level classes.

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by saltycaper » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:45 pm

William4u wrote:
I didn't look up exactly why Stats majors do poorly on the GMAT, but if I had the guess, it is because Math is only 1 of 4 sections of the test. The other three parts are Analytical writing, Argument/Integrated Logical Reasoning, and Verbal. My guess is they are lacking on some or all of the other three sections.
Usually when a GMAT score is reported, it's only quantitative and verbal combined, with the other two reported separately.
Quod vitae sectabor iter?

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Re: Finance as a college major?

Post by William4u » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:44 pm

saltycaper wrote:
William4u wrote:
I didn't look up exactly why Stats majors do poorly on the GMAT, but if I had the guess, it is because Math is only 1 of 4 sections of the test. The other three parts are Analytical writing, Argument/Integrated Logical Reasoning, and Verbal. My guess is they are lacking on some or all of the other three sections.
Usually when a GMAT score is reported, it's only quantitative and verbal combined, with the other two reported separately.
It looks like Stats majors need to do a lot more reading and writing to develop their verbal skills.

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