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Business majors: Majorly screwed

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Pringle, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    I think we've all had the conversation with athletes heading to college.

    "What are you going to major in?"
    "Probably business."

    Today's New York Times confirms what I often suspected: That business majors are the worst kind of shiftless, incurious college student.


    This line in particular shocked me:

    "(W)hen business students take the GMAT, the entry examination for M.B.A. programs, they score lower than students in every other major."

    I remember my best friend in college was a business major. I loved the guy, but he truly thought he was walking off campus and into a six-figure payday. Absolutely delusional. As late as senior year, said matter-of-factly that he planned to buy a Corvette, Harley, and SUV upon graduation. Ended up working in a hot dog factory for a few months, then Home Depot as a department manager, and now in some nondescript insurance office. And this was a business major that worked hard. Harder than I did. (Although he wasn't naturally academically inclined and, in his defense, went to a shitty rural high school).

    If my kid wanted to major in "business," I would kick his ass (not literally).
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Still better than majoring in journalism, which is only slightly better than majoring in dollar-bill burning.
  3. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Broadcasting is worse. You don't even get the dollar bills to burn.
  4. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    Sure, there are other majors that don't lend themselves to lucrative post-graduation employment. Philosophy is the classic one that people talk about.

    But at least people in philosophy or journalism majors tend to be genuinely curious students who care about a world beyond the next paycheck.

    Just think about how staggering that is: The worst performers on the graduate business school exam are ... undergraduate business majors. That would be like biology majors being the worst MCAT performers.
  5. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    That's because you have to spend all your money on hair bleach and facelifts.
  6. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    The GMAT has very little to do with business knowledge. In fact, practically nothing. It's basic algebra and geometry, some vocabulary and some writing -- nothing about business. I scored in the 98% percentile without a single business course in undergrad. All I needed was high school math and the verbal skills I learned as a journalist.

    Undergraduate business majors may be less intellectually curious than other majors, which help explains the scoring discrepancy. But it doesn't mean that undergraduate business majors know less about business than philosophy majors. It just means that the skills needed to survive in an MBA program - strong basic math skills and good communication skills - can be learned in any undergraduate program.
  7. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    I get all of that.

    But it doesn't change the fact that people who claim to care enough about business to major in it - meaning they also think it is something they would succeed in - lack either the skills or the work ethic to succeed on a graduate entrance exam in their field, which measures, at the very least, skills thought necessary to succeed in business.
  8. lcjjdnh

    lcjjdnh Member

    Not sure how fair this statistic is. Many top universities don't offer business majors, whereas most liberal arts majors are offered at almost all colleges. Assuming performance on graduate exams at least roughly correlates with the "quality" of undergraduate education (even if just because the best students tend to self-select into the best school), this leaves the "business major" without many students from the highest achieving group-students all other majors will have. You're not really comparing against equal populations then. This says nothing about the quality of a business education.

    Like all other majors, you basically get out of it what you put into it. A business major isn't a free ticket to a great career, but if you apply yourself, you'll learn the same critical thinking and problem solving skills you will elsewhere. And, more important, you'll learn specialized skills that may be necessary to enter a field such as accounting.

    Rather than dissuading someone from majoring in business, this should just be another reminder that you need to be engaged in whatever you are doing.
  9. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    I think this is pretty accurate. It isn't the curriculum. It's the students. I think a lot of bad students see the business major as the path of least resistance to a well-paying job.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Most business majors I've encountered are majoring in business because it was time to go to college and they didn't know what else to major in, so they figured they're going to be working at a business, they might as well learn about one. At least in journalism, choosing the major isn't such a passive act; you're interested enough to seek it out.
  11. McNuggetsMan

    McNuggetsMan Member

    I agree that bad students see business as the path of least resistance, but you also said you would be mad if you son wanted to major in business. Just majoring in business without any idea of what you want to do is a terrible idea (unless what you really want to do is create really spiffy powerpoints).

    But if you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do -- accounting, finance, computer technical support, whatever -- why wouldn't you major in it?

    Am I glad I didn't major in business? Hell yes. Majoring in business because you like money is just as stupid as majoring in english because you like words. But if you know you want to be an accountant or some other specific business career, majoring in business can be fine.
  12. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    To me, being an accounting major is different. If it were a focused business major track, like accounting or finance, I think that's different than just majoring in, "Business."
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