Author Topic: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?/Top Business School Worth It?  (Read 15670 times)

precrime3

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I was originally attracted to getting a business degree for two main reasons:

1. I seem to have a natural aptitude for the subject matter/ it interests me
2. Career opportunities/ potential pay

However, it seems there are plenty of arguments against it. From that it's pointless, to you don't need a business major to be in busy, etc. etc. OR is it that a business degree is still viable, but a bachelor degree is no longer enough, and further degrees and/or specialization is required?

What do you guys think? Should I reconsider? If it helps, currently the subdisciplines I'm interested in are:

1.Accounting
2. Business Management (with possibility to focus on information systems). Not sure if I'm confusing this with MIS but yeah this.
3. Marketing

EDIT: Look here for the second half of the title.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 11:22:58 PM by precrime3 »

Altons Bobs

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2016, 10:28:51 PM »
A friend of mine recently told me that she had a business degree, therefore she's a business woman even though she had never owned a business before, but because of that business degree, that automatically made her a business woman.  :-D  And my dh said business degree was for people who didn't know what to major in, so they'd major in business.  :-D

I think it's whatever you are interested in, and whatever it is, if you have the determination, you'll be able to make it work.

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 12:19:04 AM »
A friend of mine recently told me that she had a business degree, therefore she's a business woman even though she had never owned a business before, but because of that business degree, that automatically made her a business woman.  :-D  And my dh said business degree was for people who didn't know what to major in, so they'd major in business.  :-D

I think it's whatever you are interested in, and whatever it is, if you have the determination, you'll be able to make it work.

But I DO know what I want to major in. For the time being, I want to do business. And I guess that applies for all majors. Like same could be said for engineering vs art, it's possible for both but one has a much easier path laid out for the respective persons if you get what I'm saying. And what does DH mean?

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2016, 12:38:50 AM »
DH = Dear Husband, DW = Dear Wife, DS = Dear Son, DD = Dear Daughter

With regard to business, I have an MBA and the diploma sure looks nice when I take it out of my filling cabinet from time to time.  I don't know if it help me get jobs, i'm sure it didn't hurt.  But unless you are going for a job that specifically requires a business degree then I think that going for the degree would just slow you down.

If you do decide to go to college then I would recommend a more specific degree in business, like accounting, finance, or marketing.  That would give you tangible skills to get an entry level position.

If you want to work for start-ups you need to go to the Ivey's or other top tier university where they recruit from to improve your chances of getting hired.  If you want to go into finance and work for hedge funds or investment banks again you need to go to the Ivey's, Columbia, Stanford, ect.  Same with management consulting.

However if you want to be an entrepreneur and have a specific business idea then skip college altogether and get real word experience.  Hire professionals if you need help and learn from them.  Reading books will be much faster and cheaper than taking a college course to learn accounting or marketing strategies.

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2016, 01:36:59 AM »
DH = Dear Husband, DW = Dear Wife, DS = Dear Son, DD = Dear Daughter

With regard to business, I have an MBA and the diploma sure looks nice when I take it out of my filling cabinet from time to time.  I don't know if it help me get jobs, i'm sure it didn't hurt.  But unless you are going for a job that specifically requires a business degree then I think that going for the degree would just slow you down.

If you do decide to go to college then I would recommend a more specific degree in business, like accounting, finance, or marketing.  That would give you tangible skills to get an entry level position.

If you want to work for start-ups you need to go to the Ivey's or other top tier university where they recruit from to improve your chances of getting hired.  If you want to go into finance and work for hedge funds or investment banks again you need to go to the Ivey's, Columbia, Stanford, ect.  Same with management consulting.

However if you want to be an entrepreneur and have a specific business idea then skip college altogether and get real word experience.  Hire professionals if you need help and learn from them.  Reading books will be much faster and cheaper than taking a college course to learn accounting or marketing strategies.

Thanks for the clarification. That was the plan along, I didn't even know you could get just a "business degree". Professors I've talked to have suggested double majoring or minoring in like engineering for increased potential.

I've still got to get through high school senior year, but just been wondering about prospects. Still got time to find what I want to do.

pbkmaine

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2016, 03:32:24 AM »
Which colleges are you looking at?

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2016, 04:06:49 AM »
I'm about 90% positive going to Troy University. Thanks to my 32 on the ACT, that qualifies me for a full ride merit-based scholarship. If for whatever reason Troy doesn't workout, a full ride to Jacksonville State University.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2016, 06:09:30 AM »
There are certainly worse things you could major in (read: less lucrative).

I majored in Sociology and then got my Masters in Innovation Management - took a mix of MBA and innovation/strategy courses.  I liked that it was specialized rather than just general business.  Typically having a niche helps with job prospects and/or having a better idea of what kind of career path you want to pursue.

Now I am a real estate broker.  I also help run an online portfolio management business.  Looking back, I'm glad for the circuitous route I took.  There are some sociological theories I've used as a springboard for my real estate marketing.

Anyway, if business is what you want to do, do it and don't look back. 

boarder42

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2016, 06:37:26 AM »
i think business majors are a dime a dozen now a days as many people who dont know what they want to do pick this as a major.  personally i'd go technical and minor in business and then get an MBA...  accounting and CPA is probably the safest path of those as the others are pretty open ended IMO.  i work in a technical field we dont hire business management people we just turn engineers with a knack for management into these roles.

pbkmaine

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Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2016, 06:39:41 AM »
I'm about 90% positive going to Troy University. Thanks to my 32 on the ACT, that qualifies me for a full ride merit-based scholarship. If for whatever reason Troy doesn't workout, a full ride to Jacksonville State University.

The reason I ask is that many schools have a specialty and employers specifically target and hire graduates of that major. So your mission is to find out what those are at Troy and Jacksonville State.

Also, you may want to look farther afield:

http://blog.prepscholar.com/79-colleges-with-full-ride-scholarships

jwright

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2016, 06:46:40 AM »
What do you mean by "I want to do business"?  I had that same thought when I was in undergrad and got a general business degree.  Then I found out that "do business" doesn't really mean anything?  Most of the people I graduated with as business majors went to work for consulting firms, sales, or whatever the could get.   

I would strongly consider a major in finance or accounting. 

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2016, 07:37:04 AM »
I got my degree in "business." My emphasis was accounting, but after getting to my last year, I decided that I didn't want to be an accountant (I stuck with the major since I was close to finishing anyways). I instead went into insurance sales. My degree means nothing; it basically opened doors for me to move away from the actual sales component into a staff ops role in the company. All of my coworkers and bosses have business degrees and/or MBAs. It's basically a piece of paper that you need in order to check off some HR person's box if you want to move up in some/most corporations.

My advice: if you're going to get a business degree, get it in "accounting," then actually become an accountant (of course, do internships at the big accounting firms if you can while you're in school). "CPA" tattooed on your forehead will open a lot of doors. Otherwise, computer science or nursing are probably your next best bets, as they are both fields that are growing and that pay well.

A big key for getting a solid return for your time in college is to do internships in your field, no matter what major you end up choosing. Don't do like I did; I worked unrelated fields because I got paid a decent amount as a salesman, and at the time I "needed" to make money to pay for school; my peers that are doing "the best" got into relevant internships as soon as they could, which led to lucrative job offers waiting for them at graduation.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2016, 08:03:27 AM »
I have an engineering degree and was stuck in a technical job. Got bored of looking at engineering drawings.

I did MBA and it turned out great for me.

If you really feel MBA can help you move into a field of interest then go for it.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2016, 08:32:57 AM »
Business degrees are an excellent choice. But certainly specialize. And make sure your school has a co-op program where you are in classes two semesters, work-term one, school, work, school, etc. That way when you graduate, you already have entry level experience.

I will say that the difference in accounting and marketing is HUGE. Check to see if you need to chose your specialty right away or if you can do it after you've tried the entry level courses.

mak1277

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2016, 08:44:03 AM »
Lots of great job opportunities if you major in Accounting.  You'll need 150 hours to sit for your CPA exam, so check to see what the program is at your college.  Some people get a Masters in Accounting when they get 150 hours, which looks good on a resume but doesn't really mean anything. 


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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2016, 09:12:42 AM »
I'm about 90% positive going to Troy University. Thanks to my 32 on the ACT, that qualifies me for a full ride merit-based scholarship. If for whatever reason Troy doesn't workout, a full ride to Jacksonville State University.

Auburn University at Montgomery graduate and CPA here.  For business school, take a look at AUM, also, since you are in Alabama.  They are AACSB accredited, and I can testify that they will work your tail off, and you will know a lot when you come out of there.

I second the suggestion to sit for the CPA exam.  Another suggestion, if you are okay working for a firm or the Federal government, is to take a double major in accounting and information systems.  This can set you up as an IT auditor (for which there is a constant crying need) or as the uber-valuable IT person in a corporate accounting team.  There are CISA and CISM exams for these career tracks.

ETBen

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2016, 11:04:31 AM »
I would agree with others. Get a technical degree or a more specific business degree. Good internships. Minor in business or get an MBA later.

I am an RN with an MBA. I basically manage relationships and craft dialogues. It doesn't get more businessy than that. But it's tough to get there without a specific skill set in an industry or field.

mozar

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2016, 11:13:21 AM »
For MBA's the school typically wants you to have a couple of years of work experience after you graduate from college. I got a masters in accounting but only because my undergrad was in something else and I was a "career changer" even though I was 23 and had never had a career. Accounting is definitely the safer option but it depends on what you want.

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2016, 08:42:07 PM »
There are certainly worse things you could major in (read: less lucrative).

I majored in Sociology and then got my Masters in Innovation Management - took a mix of MBA and innovation/strategy courses.  I liked that it was specialized rather than just general business.  Typically having a niche helps with job prospects and/or having a better idea of what kind of career path you want to pursue.

Now I am a real estate broker.  I also help run an online portfolio management business.  Looking back, I'm glad for the circuitous route I took.  There are some sociological theories I've used as a springboard for my real estate marketing.

Anyway, if business is what you want to do, do it and don't look back.

That's definitely nice to hear. And yes, my interests are in business for the time being, I'm open to changing my mind as many time as it needs to. I want to explore as much as i can through taking internships and being undecided for as long as possible.

i think business majors are a dime a dozen now a days as many people who dont know what they want to do pick this as a major.  personally i'd go technical and minor in business and then get an MBA...  accounting and CPA is probably the safest path of those as the others are pretty open ended IMO.  i work in a technical field we dont hire business management people we just turn engineers with a knack for management into these roles.

By go technical, do you mean like learning a trade? I wanted to do that too, but my parents are forcing me to go to college, and with it being free, there's little reason not to. I do want to learn a trade as well, maybe after I'm FI, but who knows.

I'll have to see if Accounting is my thing. I'm not looking for the most guaranteed career prospects, just looking for something I'd be okay with doing that I'm good at. Money will follow given enough hustle and hard work.

I'm about 90% positive going to Troy University. Thanks to my 32 on the ACT, that qualifies me for a full ride merit-based scholarship. If for whatever reason Troy doesn't workout, a full ride to Jacksonville State University.

The reason I ask is that many schools have a specialty and employers specifically target and hire graduates of that major. So your mission is to find out what those are at Troy and Jacksonville State.

Also, you may want to look farther afield:

http://blog.prepscholar.com/79-colleges-with-full-ride-scholarships

Oh that makes sense! I will definitely look into that and ask questions. And thanks for the link, I will be looking at those two. The problem with MOSt colleges offering them is that there's no guaranteed chance of you getting a scholarship, usually its nominations and being selected from a pool. From the two colleges I mentioned, the 32 basically guarantees that I have secure full ride scholarships.

What do you mean by "I want to do business"?  I had that same thought when I was in undergrad and got a general business degree.  Then I found out that "do business" doesn't really mean anything?  Most of the people I graduated with as business majors went to work for consulting firms, sales, or whatever the could get.   

I would strongly consider a major in finance or accounting. 

That was always the plan, like stated before i didn't know you could just get a "general" business degree, and I would have never wanted too. ANd yes, I'm keeping an eye on those disciplines.

I got my degree in "business." My emphasis was accounting, but after getting to my last year, I decided that I didn't want to be an accountant (I stuck with the major since I was close to finishing anyways). I instead went into insurance sales. My degree means nothing; it basically opened doors for me to move away from the actual sales component into a staff ops role in the company. All of my coworkers and bosses have business degrees and/or MBAs. It's basically a piece of paper that you need in order to check off some HR person's box if you want to move up in some/most corporations.

My advice: if you're going to get a business degree, get it in "accounting," then actually become an accountant (of course, do internships at the big accounting firms if you can while you're in school). "CPA" tattooed on your forehead will open a lot of doors. Otherwise, computer science or nursing are probably your next best bets, as they are both fields that are growing and that pay well.

A big key for getting a solid return for your time in college is to do internships in your field, no matter what major you end up choosing. Don't do like I did; I worked unrelated fields because I got paid a decent amount as a salesman, and at the time I "needed" to make money to pay for school; my peers that are doing "the best" got into relevant internships as soon as they could, which led to lucrative job offers waiting for them at graduation.

Gotcha. So it's one of those artificial requirements, where you really don't need it for day to day, but you need it to get through the door? I'm okay with that, if it opens opportunities. And that would be the dream goal/plan, intern in interested field, and have an entry-level job waiting for me after graduation, with plenty of upward mobility. This may certainly be an issue though, as I want to travel the world for a year after college....

Business degrees are an excellent choice. But certainly specialize. And make sure your school has a co-op program where you are in classes two semesters, work-term one, school, work, school, etc. That way when you graduate, you already have entry level experience.

I will say that the difference in accounting and marketing is HUGE. Check to see if you need to chose your specialty right away or if you can do it after you've tried the entry level courses.

With both colleges the way they teach it is this:
1. First year they teach general business, applicable to all disciplines
2. more of 1
3. intro to discipline
4. further discipline

If that makes sense. So yes, I have plenty of time to sample/intern I think. I will make sure with whatever college I do decide on that this is the case.

Lots of great job opportunities if you major in Accounting.  You'll need 150 hours to sit for your CPA exam, so check to see what the program is at your college.  Some people get a Masters in Accounting when they get 150 hours, which looks good on a resume but doesn't really mean anything. 

150 credit hours? What do you mean by hours? I'm not familiar with the term. And yeah, being a CPA is definetley lucrative I believe, but I've also heard arguments for staying in private sectors.. What's your take?

I'm about 90% positive going to Troy University. Thanks to my 32 on the ACT, that qualifies me for a full ride merit-based scholarship. If for whatever reason Troy doesn't workout, a full ride to Jacksonville State University.

Auburn University at Montgomery graduate and CPA here.  For business school, take a look at AUM, also, since you are in Alabama.  They are AACSB accredited, and I can testify that they will work your tail off, and you will know a lot when you come out of there.

I second the suggestion to sit for the CPA exam.  Another suggestion, if you are okay working for a firm or the Federal government, is to take a double major in accounting and information systems.  This can set you up as an IT auditor (for which there is a constant crying need) or as the uber-valuable IT person in a corporate accounting team.  There are CISA and CISM exams for these career tracks.

Troy is ACBSP credited, and I'm really not sure what the difference is. Is it that big of a deal?And I'm looking at AUM now. It'll take a lot of convincing on my end to get my parents to let me go there if there's not a scholarship that covers all of college costs because I'm basically talking them into making their "precious child" take on some student debt. I believe I'd be able to manage my finances well and pay that off like the plague, but they don't.

And professors have suggested that to me in the past, data management and information systems are hot careers and will continue to be so. Will keep that in mind also.

I would agree with others. Get a technical degree or a more specific business degree. Good internships. Minor in business or get an MBA later.

I am an RN with an MBA. I basically manage relationships and craft dialogues. It doesn't get more businessy than that. But it's tough to get there without a specific skill set in an industry or field.

I agree with the others as well. The balance is to keep it narrow enough so you know where to focus your time, but broad enough you don't cut off opportunities.

For MBA's the school typically wants you to have a couple of years of work experience after you graduate from college. I got a masters in accounting but only because my undergrad was in something else and I was a "career changer" even though I was 23 and had never had a career. Accounting is definitely the safer option but it depends on what you want.

Noted. If I end up having a knack for accounting, then great high career prospects. If not, we look elsewhere.   

katsiki

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2016, 08:49:56 PM »
I second the suggestion to sit for the CPA exam.  Another suggestion, if you are okay working for a firm or the Federal government, is to take a double major in accounting and information systems.  This can set you up as an IT auditor (for which there is a constant crying need) or as the uber-valuable IT person in a corporate accounting team.  There are CISA and CISM exams for these career tracks.

IT auditor is a solid, lucrative job.  The paperwork would bore me to death though.  However, I guess if someone is willing to go to the CPA route that might be OK (just guessing).

Good luck OP!

Murse

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2016, 08:50:50 PM »
The SO got a bachelors in marketing. She got a job with a Fortune 500 company making 38k salary +7.5% commission.  She has heard of people making over 100k their first year but most make between 50-60k their first year. She also got a ton of interviews. I think it is still viable depending on your market. She graduated less than a year ago.

NorCal

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2016, 09:06:53 PM »
So I have an MBA and work in corporate finance.

Absolutely specialize in something.  I don't consider a generic business degree very employable.

Only consider Accounting if the Big 4 hire out of your school.  A Big 4 background opens lots of doors.  Those without this background have very few options.

The intersection of business and data science is a hot area.  We're hiring tons of people that are good with statistics and databases.

Marketing is also an incredibly hot area if you learn digital marketing (Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc.)

There aren't a lot of entry level jobs in finance, but those that exist are usually pretty good jobs.  If you go to a reputable school that big companies hire from, you can do well.  But if you just have a finance degree without a strong school behind your name, you can struggle. 

There's also a variety of path's on the IT/business side that can be lucrative.  I don't know a lot of details here, but if you can become an expert at systems like Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite, etc, you can do well for yourself.  Heck, if you know these systems, a degree is probably optional.  Most of these have certification processes.

No matter your path, if you have some interest in business, get some general knowledge of the following:
1. Math in general, and statistics specifically.  Data analysis drives business decisions, whether you're in accounting, marketing or finance.
2. Basic Accounting & basic finance.  You don't need to be an expert, but you should be able to read financial statements.
3. Solid communication skills.  Good writing and speaking skills will open doors.
4. Networking skills.  Getting a job is about who you know, not what you know.

COlady

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2016, 11:21:47 PM »
So I have an MBA and work in corporate finance.

Absolutely specialize in something.  I don't consider a generic business degree very employable.

Only consider Accounting if the Big 4 hire out of your school.  A Big 4 background opens lots of doors.  Those without this background have very few options.

The intersection of business and data science is a hot area.  We're hiring tons of people that are good with statistics and databases.

It's not true that people that don't work for Big 4 don't have many options. If you get a degree in accounting you'll have options...a lot of options.  More options if you're a CPA.

Marketing is also an incredibly hot area if you learn digital marketing (Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc.)

There aren't a lot of entry level jobs in finance, but those that exist are usually pretty good jobs.  If you go to a reputable school that big companies hire from, you can do well.  But if you just have a finance degree without a strong school behind your name, you can struggle. 

There's also a variety of path's on the IT/business side that can be lucrative.  I don't know a lot of details here, but if you can become an expert at systems like Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite, etc, you can do well for yourself.  Heck, if you know these systems, a degree is probably optional.  Most of these have certification processes.

No matter your path, if you have some interest in business, get some general knowledge of the following:
1. Math in general, and statistics specifically.  Data analysis drives business decisions, whether you're in accounting, marketing or finance.
2. Basic Accounting & basic finance.  You don't need to be an expert, but you should be able to read financial statements.
3. Solid communication skills.  Good writing and speaking skills will open doors.
4. Networking skills.  Getting a job is about who you know, not what you know.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2016, 11:57:38 PM »
Anecdotal, but I perused the job listings at the local Megacorp - many of them listed 'Degree in Business, or related field" for several entry level positions, from accounting to procurement to financial services. Take that for what you will.

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2016, 12:56:52 AM »
I second the suggestion to sit for the CPA exam.  Another suggestion, if you are okay working for a firm or the Federal government, is to take a double major in accounting and information systems.  This can set you up as an IT auditor (for which there is a constant crying need) or as the uber-valuable IT person in a corporate accounting team.  There are CISA and CISM exams for these career tracks.

IT auditor is a solid, lucrative job.  The paperwork would bore me to death though.  However, I guess if someone is willing to go to the CPA route that might be OK (just guessing).

Good luck OP!

Got you. TBH, it would probably kill me too. But I'll look into it. You never know :)

The SO got a bachelors in marketing. She got a job with a Fortune 500 company making 38k salary +7.5% commission.  She has heard of people making over 100k their first year but most make between 50-60k their first year. She also got a ton of interviews. I think it is still viable depending on your market. She graduated less than a year ago.

Interesting. Yeah marketing is still definitely still possible, but I think in the digital sense.

So I have an MBA and work in corporate finance.

Absolutely specialize in something.  I don't consider a generic business degree very employable.

Only consider Accounting if the Big 4 hire out of your school.  A Big 4 background opens lots of doors.  Those without this background have very few options.

The intersection of business and data science is a hot area.  We're hiring tons of people that are good with statistics and databases.

Marketing is also an incredibly hot area if you learn digital marketing (Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc.)

There aren't a lot of entry level jobs in finance, but those that exist are usually pretty good jobs.  If you go to a reputable school that big companies hire from, you can do well.  But if you just have a finance degree without a strong school behind your name, you can struggle. 

There's also a variety of path's on the IT/business side that can be lucrative.  I don't know a lot of details here, but if you can become an expert at systems like Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite, etc, you can do well for yourself.  Heck, if you know these systems, a degree is probably optional.  Most of these have certification processes.

No matter your path, if you have some interest in business, get some general knowledge of the following:
1. Math in general, and statistics specifically.  Data analysis drives business decisions, whether you're in accounting, marketing or finance.
2. Basic Accounting & basic finance.  You don't need to be an expert, but you should be able to read financial statements.
3. Solid communication skills.  Good writing and speaking skills will open doors.
4. Networking skills.  Getting a job is about who you know, not what you know.

What/whom are the big four? Regarding the skills, I have most of them down. I had the oppurtuninty to take it senior year, but I'll take it in college most likely.

Anecdotal, but I perused the job listings at the local Megacorp - many of them listed 'Degree in Business, or related field" for several entry level positions, from accounting to procurement to financial services. Take that for what you will.

Noted. Thanks.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2016, 04:31:37 AM »
So I have an MBA and work in corporate finance.

Absolutely specialize in something.  I don't consider a generic business degree very employable.

Only consider Accounting if the Big 4 hire out of your school.  A Big 4 background opens lots of doors.  Those without this background have very few options.

The intersection of business and data science is a hot area.  We're hiring tons of people that are good with statistics and databases.

Marketing is also an incredibly hot area if you learn digital marketing (Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc.)

There aren't a lot of entry level jobs in finance, but those that exist are usually pretty good jobs.  If you go to a reputable school that big companies hire from, you can do well.  But if you just have a finance degree without a strong school behind your name, you can struggle. 

There's also a variety of path's on the IT/business side that can be lucrative.  I don't know a lot of details here, but if you can become an expert at systems like Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite, etc, you can do well for yourself.  Heck, if you know these systems, a degree is probably optional.  Most of these have certification processes.

No matter your path, if you have some interest in business, get some general knowledge of the following:
1. Math in general, and statistics specifically.  Data analysis drives business decisions, whether you're in accounting, marketing or finance.
2. Basic Accounting & basic finance.  You don't need to be an expert, but you should be able to read financial statements.
3. Solid communication skills.  Good writing and speaking skills will open doors.
4. Networking skills.  Getting a job is about who you know, not what you know.


This. Stats is huge right now. Most f what makes experienced business people do well is a) their ability to speak and build relationships and b) the support of good data and operational staff. Being able to come in and make practical sense of data is highly valued.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2016, 06:15:35 AM »
I second the suggestion to sit for the CPA exam.  Another suggestion, if you are okay working for a firm or the Federal government, is to take a double major in accounting and information systems.  This can set you up as an IT auditor (for which there is a constant crying need) or as the uber-valuable IT person in a corporate accounting team.  There are CISA and CISM exams for these career tracks.

IT auditor is a solid, lucrative job.  The paperwork would bore me to death though.  However, I guess if someone is willing to go to the CPA route that might be OK (just guessing).

Good luck OP!

Got you. TBH, it would probably kill me too. But I'll look into it. You never know :)

The SO got a bachelors in marketing. She got a job with a Fortune 500 company making 38k salary +7.5% commission.  She has heard of people making over 100k their first year but most make between 50-60k their first year. She also got a ton of interviews. I think it is still viable depending on your market. She graduated less than a year ago.

Interesting. Yeah marketing is still definitely still possible, but I think in the digital sense.

So I have an MBA and work in corporate finance.

Absolutely specialize in something.  I don't consider a generic business degree very employable.

Only consider Accounting if the Big 4 hire out of your school.  A Big 4 background opens lots of doors.  Those without this background have very few options.

The intersection of business and data science is a hot area.  We're hiring tons of people that are good with statistics and databases.

Marketing is also an incredibly hot area if you learn digital marketing (Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc.)

There aren't a lot of entry level jobs in finance, but those that exist are usually pretty good jobs.  If you go to a reputable school that big companies hire from, you can do well.  But if you just have a finance degree without a strong school behind your name, you can struggle. 

There's also a variety of path's on the IT/business side that can be lucrative.  I don't know a lot of details here, but if you can become an expert at systems like Oracle, Salesforce, NetSuite, etc, you can do well for yourself.  Heck, if you know these systems, a degree is probably optional.  Most of these have certification processes.

No matter your path, if you have some interest in business, get some general knowledge of the following:
1. Math in general, and statistics specifically.  Data analysis drives business decisions, whether you're in accounting, marketing or finance.
2. Basic Accounting & basic finance.  You don't need to be an expert, but you should be able to read financial statements.
3. Solid communication skills.  Good writing and speaking skills will open doors.
4. Networking skills.  Getting a job is about who you know, not what you know.

What/whom are the big four? Regarding the skills, I have most of them down. I had the oppurtuninty to take it senior year, but I'll take it in college most likely.

Anecdotal, but I perused the job listings at the local Megacorp - many of them listed 'Degree in Business, or related field" for several entry level positions, from accounting to procurement to financial services. Take that for what you will.

Noted. Thanks.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=the+big+four+accounting+&l=1

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2016, 07:15:08 AM »
Lol ouch. Thanks ^

And that's exactly what my Dad and professors I've talked to said. With this world being filled with more and more data, were very ill equipped to handle the Tera/petabytes of data coming in to business it seems. Being able to make sense of it is something I keep in mind as a job, and seems to proved lucrative.

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Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2016, 08:07:02 AM »
The Big Four Accounting firms are:
EY (Ernst & Young)
Deloitte
PricewaterhouseCoopers
KPMG

They are the largest accounting firms in the world. If you are considering an accounting track, ask which companies hire from that major. You want to hear all of the names above.

One of the interesting things is that accounting firm hiring is not necessarily associated with big name schools. I worked at Big Four firms in the NYC area, and many of the partners came from schools you've never heard of. All of those schools did have outstanding accounting curriculums, though.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 08:08:36 AM by pbkmaine »

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2016, 02:52:42 PM »
Further to those saying statistics/data is hot: you won't get enough of those skills with a business degree. You'll do a entry level stats course and maybe a marketing research course that covers some basics, but not enough to get a stats job.

Maybe economics with math minor could do it, if you wanted to go that route. Of course, an actual degree in statistics is the best option.

And these days you need to be a kickass programmer as well to get the data out of the system.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2016, 02:58:32 PM »
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With regard to business, I have an MBA and the diploma sure looks nice when I take it out of my filling cabinet from time to time.  I don't know if it help me get jobs, i'm sure it didn't hurt.  But unless you are going for a job that specifically requires a business degree then I think that going for the degree would just slow you down.

If you do decide to go to college then I would recommend a more specific degree in business, like accounting, finance, or marketing.  That would give you tangible skills to get an entry level position.

If you want to work for start-ups you need to go to the Ivey's or other top tier university where they recruit from to improve your chances of getting hired.  If you want to go into finance and work for hedge funds or investment banks again you need to go to the Ivey's, Columbia, Stanford, ect.  Same with management consulting.

However if you want to be an entrepreneur and have a specific business idea then skip college altogether and get real word experience.  Hire professionals if you need help and learn from them.  Reading books will be much faster and cheaper than taking a college course to learn accounting or marketing strategies.

Thanks for the clarification. That was the plan along, I didn't even know you could get just a "business degree". Professors I've talked to have suggested double majoring or minoring in like engineering for increased potential.

I've still got to get through high school senior year, but just been wondering about prospects. Still got time to find what I want to do.

I'm not familiar with either of the schools you mention, but I don't know of universities that let you minor in engineering.  I thought it was usually an entirely separate degree from a separate school, a B.Eng.  At least that's the pattern for all the good engineering schools I'm familiar with.  Of course you can do a dual degree, but that seems like a bit more of an undertaking.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2016, 05:27:07 PM »
I would avoid a general BS in "Business". I would recommend a BS from your school's business college if the major is accounting, finance, or MIS.

From my limited research, AACSB accreditation is better than ACBSP. The latter has only been around since 1989 while the former started in 1916. I remember my school constantly mentioning they were AACSB accredited (including the accounting side) and I only think they would do that if it was a big deal. Jacksonville has AACSB and Troy does not. That said, I doubt it should be your deciding factor.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #32 on: June 22, 2016, 05:40:28 PM »
I'm not familiar with either of the schools you mention, but I don't know of universities that let you minor in engineering.  I thought it was usually an entirely separate degree from a separate school, a B.Eng.  At least that's the pattern for all the good engineering schools I'm familiar with.  Of course you can do a dual degree, but that seems like a bit more of an undertaking.

My school's engineering & comp sci college offered a couple minors. Some seemed to be focus areas for engineering majors or a sort of crash course for non-majors. I could see a comp sci major getting a minor in electrical engineering if they were interested in chip design.


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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #33 on: June 22, 2016, 05:48:03 PM »
You have gotten some great advice regarding accounting.  Regarding data analysis and statistics I will echo another poster who said you won't have the skills necessary from a business degree.  I have a friend who majored in statistics and did a post grad program to become a "data scientist" and the field is exploding and very lucrative right now.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2016, 11:54:34 PM »
The Big Four Accounting firms are:
EY (Ernst & Young)
Deloitte
PricewaterhouseCoopers
KPMG

They are the largest accounting firms in the world. If you are considering an accounting track, ask which companies hire from that major. You want to hear all of the names above.

One of the interesting things is that accounting firm hiring is not necessarily associated with big name schools. I worked at Big Four firms in the NYC area, and many of the partners came from schools you've never heard of. All of those schools did have outstanding accounting curriculums, though.

I will definitely ask Troy if the big four hire from their accounting program. AUM has been highlighted too, but probably won't be switching over  if I can't snag full ride.

Further to those saying statistics/data is hot: you won't get enough of those skills with a business degree. You'll do a entry level stats course and maybe a marketing research course that covers some basics, but not enough to get a stats job.

Maybe economics with math minor could do it, if you wanted to go that route. Of course, an actual degree in statistics is the best option.

And these days you need to be a kickass programmer as well to get the data out of the system.

A lot to consider. Helpful information. Thank you. I've dabbled in programming before, and I don't think thats something I want to do full time.

DH = Dear Husband, DW = Dear Wife, DS = Dear Son, DD = Dear Daughter

With regard to business, I have an MBA and the diploma sure looks nice when I take it out of my filling cabinet from time to time.  I don't know if it help me get jobs, i'm sure it didn't hurt.  But unless you are going for a job that specifically requires a business degree then I think that going for the degree would just slow you down.

If you do decide to go to college then I would recommend a more specific degree in business, like accounting, finance, or marketing.  That would give you tangible skills to get an entry level position.

If you want to work for start-ups you need to go to the Ivey's or other top tier university where they recruit from to improve your chances of getting hired.  If you want to go into finance and work for hedge funds or investment banks again you need to go to the Ivey's, Columbia, Stanford, ect.  Same with management consulting.

However if you want to be an entrepreneur and have a specific business idea then skip college altogether and get real word experience.  Hire professionals if you need help and learn from them.  Reading books will be much faster and cheaper than taking a college course to learn accounting or marketing strategies.

Thanks for the clarification. That was the plan along, I didn't even know you could get just a "business degree". Professors I've talked to have suggested double majoring or minoring in like engineering for increased potential.

I've still got to get through high school senior year, but just been wondering about prospects. Still got time to find what I want to do.

I'm not familiar with either of the schools you mention, but I don't know of universities that let you minor in engineering.  I thought it was usually an entirely separate degree from a separate school, a B.Eng.  At least that's the pattern for all the good engineering schools I'm familiar with.  Of course you can do a dual degree, but that seems like a bit more of an undertaking.

I'm under the impression that at JSU I  could, considering the professor suggested it to me explicitly, a double major in engineering and some sort of business, or a minor in engineering. But yes, I'll double check to make sure.

I would avoid a general BS in "Business". I would recommend a BS from your school's business college if the major is accounting, finance, or MIS.

From my limited research, AACSB accreditation is better than ACBSP. The latter has only been around since 1989 while the former started in 1916. I remember my school constantly mentioning they were AACSB accredited (including the accounting side) and I only think they would do that if it was a big deal. Jacksonville has AACSB and Troy does not. That said, I doubt it should be your deciding factor.

Troy is a bigger name than JSU IMO, but I've spoken to the professor at JSU but not the same for Troy (college campus visit when I get home from the Philippines). The professor at JSU was of Asian descent and had an accent, but a cheerful fellow that gladly get me all the information I wanted, we stood there talking at the booth for what must've been a solid hour. That alone has kept JSU in my notes.

Troy has a beautiful campus, however, and what seems to be just as good, if not better, business program. I have yet to talk to the professor there, though.

Troy will probably be the place I go to because it has good programs, I have a pretty much cemented full ride, and it's about 2 hours from where I live now so JUST far enough haha ;).  It'll take a lot for me to reconsider considering Troy is pretty much the best I could ask for.

You have gotten some great advice regarding accounting.  Regarding data analysis and statistics I will echo another poster who said you won't have the skills necessary from a business degree.  I have a friend who majored in statistics and did a post grad program to become a "data scientist" and the field is exploding and very lucrative right now.

A lot of money to be made there. I'm not necessarily looking for the highest paying job however, something I don't mind doing and pays $60,000 with upward mobility to around 6 figures would be enough. I think accounting sounds the best fit for me from what I've heard of it so far, but have yet to see what it's actually like; everything is theoretical. It'll be easier to figure out what I like/dislike when I'm in college, taking courses and doing interns.

It's very comforting to hear that a businsess degree is still very viable and lucrative it seems if you play you cards right, which is what I wanted to hear. I didn't want to be the one to go to college for 3/4 years, and be jobless when that time could've gone to learning a trade (which I plan to do eventually!) and working earlier.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2016, 08:27:54 AM »
I'd recommend checking out the career center at your college and looking up the statistics on recent grads by major to see where they got jobs, what kind of jobs, how many got jobs, and what average salary they got. My school published that information and it is very helpful if you are trying to decide between majors and don't have a particular passion one way or the other.

I did engineering myself so I can't really comment on the choices between marketing and accounting and all of that. Both of my parents went to ho-hum colleges and majored in business. My father got hired at a big company (a utility) and has spent his entire career there. My mother ended up bouncing all around, going back for an MBA when I was in high school and got her CPA license. They have solid middle-class professional careers but I wouldn't say it was a ticket to riches or anything.

As for an MBA, from what I have read and heard, it only makes financial sense if you a extremely motivated, high-achieving, and go back after 5-10 years of work experience to do an executive MBA-type program. Even then, it only really pays to go to one of the very best schools. Otherwise MBAs are a dime a dozen (my mother, for example).

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2016, 09:02:33 AM »
I'd recommend checking out the career center at your college and looking up the statistics on recent grads by major to see where they got jobs, what kind of jobs, how many got jobs, and what average salary they got. My school published that information and it is very helpful if you are trying to decide between majors and don't have a particular passion one way or the other.

I did engineering myself so I can't really comment on the choices between marketing and accounting and all of that. Both of my parents went to ho-hum colleges and majored in business. My father got hired at a big company (a utility) and has spent his entire career there. My mother ended up bouncing all around, going back for an MBA when I was in high school and got her CPA license. They have solid middle-class professional careers but I wouldn't say it was a ticket to riches or anything.

As for an MBA, from what I have read and heard, it only makes financial sense if you a extremely motivated, high-achieving, and go back after 5-10 years of work experience to do an executive MBA-type program. Even then, it only really pays to go to one of the very best schools. Otherwise MBAs are a dime a dozen (my mother, for example).

Middle-class careers as in hovering around the 6 figure mark at the high end? That's enough for me to achieve FI rather quickly. And thanks for the story, as being a CPA has been tossed around a bunch of times here .

What i don't seem to get is that there seems to be more engineering degrees here, but they're not considered a dime a dozen. Is demand for that many engineers really there? And I still believe some parts of the business world there are still higher than average growth rates, so it'll take some work.

What do you guys think of an auditor? They travel frequently (which I would love, until I got tied down) and pay should be around the same as similar courses, right?

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2016, 09:39:13 AM »
This forum tends to appeal to engineering types. That's why you see so many here. They are not that common in the "real" world.

An auditing job would come from an accounting major. You would probably be expected to take and pass the CPA exam, so make sure you get the right courses in to fulfill the requirements for the CPA.

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« Last Edit: June 23, 2016, 09:47:34 AM by pbkmaine »

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2016, 09:46:49 AM »
Quote
Middle-class careers as in hovering around the 6 figure mark at the high end? That's enough for me to achieve FI rather quickly. And thanks for the story, as being a CPA has been tossed around a bunch of times here .

To the best of my knowledge (I don't know exactly what they make), yes. However my father has been at his company for something ridiculous like 35-40 years. My mother has been at her company for 15-something years with her CPA license. I couldn't say what they might earn if they just got their degrees and were starting out fresh now.

I am an engineer working for an engineering company and everything we hear is that there is a lack of engineers. The talent pipeline is a concern for my company and everyone in our industry, especially since, as an Aerospace/Defense contractor, we can't really hire the tons of bright engineers from overseas. Other countries do a much better job of cranking out engineering students than the US does.

If you are bright, hard-working, get some lucky breaks, go to a top school and all of that I think overall you can make more money in business. I also think that you can make money faster and more reliably going with engineering though your highest achievable salary probably isn't going to be as much. Then again, here we are all about making enough to FIRE and not about getting to the finish line with the most toys. Maybe you can seek out some real-life CPAs, auditors, and engineers and have some quick informational interviews to give you a better idea of what you might like? Most people are flattered if you want them to talk about themselves and will give you time.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2016, 12:58:25 PM »
20 years ago, I finished my business degree, with a focus on "Strategic Management"

I chose that because I got to take classes in all the focuses, the idea behind this focus was to give you exposure to many things within the business curriculum.   The best classes were during my final year when everything came together;  we did company case studies (in teams we were given true but incomplete challenges from companies, we had to decide best course of action) and entrepreneurship (create a business plan).

Today, I'm not in management (why do more hours for less pay) nor do I own my own company.   However I feel this level of critical thinking and exposure to multiple disciplines really laid a foundation of understanding for me to be successful.

My advice - don't specialize too much because you never know where you'll end up.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2016, 01:29:28 PM »
I started out as an external auditor specializing in the federal government. Then I went into audit consulting also for the federal government. My first job in accounting I made 54k. With getting new jobs every two years and negotiating hard I am now at 94k. I highly recommend that if you study accountin that your first job out of school is as an external auditor. Then after that you will have the option of any type of accounting job, whether it be internal audit, regular private accounting for a publicly held or privately held company or consulting. The 150 hours requirement means that you have to do 5 years of school. A big 4 accounting firm won't hire you without it, but a smaller firm would.
With such a high act score would you consider going to a top 100 school? A list of top schools is in the US News & World Report. Your parents might be willing to let you take on some debt if you go somewhere prestigious.  But if they're not helping you financially, it's not their business where you go.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2016, 01:34:52 PM »
I started out as an external auditor specializing in the federal government. Then I went into audit consulting also for the federal government. My first job in accounting I made 54k. With getting new jobs every two years and negotiating hard I am now at 94k. I highly recommend that if you study accountin that your first job out of school is as an external auditor. Then after that you will have the option of any type of accounting job, whether it be internal audit, regular private accounting for a publicly held or privately held company or consulting. The 150 hours requirement means that you have to do 5 years of school. A big 4 accounting firm won't hire you without it, but a smaller firm would.
With such a high act score would you consider going to a top 100 school? A list of top schools is in the US News & World Report. Your parents might be willing to let you take on some debt if you go somewhere prestigious.  But if they're not helping you financially, it's not their business where you go.

I'm a lawyer, but work with auditors and accountants a lot.  I second the Big 4 advice.  Make it through two seasons there at least before you go somewhere else.  You can also hit the 150 hours requirement without adding extra semesters, especially if your college will let you take some extra courses or has winter semester classes.  I graduated with nearly 200 because I kept piling courses on.  If you can keep your grades up, take 15 your freshman fall, 18 from there out (123 total) and think about some work study, summer or winter courses.  If you can waive some credits with AP courses or community college classes you take in high school, all the better.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2016, 01:59:38 PM »
I started out as an external auditor specializing in the federal government. Then I went into audit consulting also for the federal government. My first job in accounting I made 54k. With getting new jobs every two years and negotiating hard I am now at 94k. I highly recommend that if you study accountin that your first job out of school is as an external auditor. Then after that you will have the option of any type of accounting job, whether it be internal audit, regular private accounting for a publicly held or privately held company or consulting. The 150 hours requirement means that you have to do 5 years of school. A big 4 accounting firm won't hire you without it, but a smaller firm would.
With such a high act score would you consider going to a top 100 school? A list of top schools is in the US News & World Report. Your parents might be willing to let you take on some debt if you go somewhere prestigious.  But if they're not helping you financially, it's not their business where you go.

I have been a Federal auditor my whole career, and crossed over to a low six figure income after 10 1/2 years.  I could have been there sooner, but I have landed in a place that I really like and don't want to give up my easygoing boss and three-block commute for supervisory responsibilities and potentially not-so-easygoing bosses.  I almost never work more than 40 hours per week, except when I'm on the road doing an audit, and we don't really have a busy season.  I travel a very reasonable 4-5 weeks per year.

I interviewed with the Big 4 in my last semester, but did not get hired.  I strongly suspect that is because I was a 30-something career changer, and they really prefer much younger people, since they work you so relentlessly for the first couple of years.

Audit pays well, but it can be exceedingly dull slogging through boxes of documents all day.  I have always assumed that it pays well because nobody really wants to do it.  What surprised me most about it is how much writing I do, as opposed to calculations. We have to document everything we do in workpapers, so it's good to be able to write descriptively and in detail.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #45 on: June 23, 2016, 02:47:17 PM »
Lots of great advice from previous posters.  I have degrees in Finance and Accounting and I feel these degrees open doors to employment.  I stayed two years in public accounting but I only hated the last 23 months.  My slightly different advice in addition to the great posts:  When you go to school and start studying a subject like accounting, really think about if you enjoy the subject matter itself.  I really disliked accounting classes so it makes sense that I also did not enjoy that specific line of work.  I found it quite tedious and a bit soul sucking.  It is a great door opening degree but it is studying to be an accountant.  I had a passion for studying markets but did not pursue that career path until later because of the safer opportunities in accounting.  Conversely, I had friends who really liked the accounting curriculum and they practiced as CPA's and seemed to like that career.  I guess what I am saying is that it is great to look at potential wages and opportunity different degrees offer, but remember that you will actually have to do the work for some period of years.  Life is really short to do things you really hate.  Heck, that is how I came to the MMM site and forums to begin with.  Good luck and good for you that you are thinking about this so in depth prior to going to college.  To me, that last part really increases your chance of life success.

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #46 on: June 23, 2016, 08:14:05 PM »
http://www.troy.edu/catalogs/1516undergraduate/html/12U-scob.html#accountingmajor

http://www.troy.edu/ugaccounting-forensic/

Is there are a reason you posted these links?

Quote
Middle-class careers as in hovering around the 6 figure mark at the high end? That's enough for me to achieve FI rather quickly. And thanks for the story, as being a CPA has been tossed around a bunch of times here .

To the best of my knowledge (I don't know exactly what they make), yes. However my father has been at his company for something ridiculous like 35-40 years. My mother has been at her company for 15-something years with her CPA license. I couldn't say what they might earn if they just got their degrees and were starting out fresh now.

I am an engineer working for an engineering company and everything we hear is that there is a lack of engineers. The talent pipeline is a concern for my company and everyone in our industry, especially since, as an Aerospace/Defense contractor, we can't really hire the tons of bright engineers from overseas. Other countries do a much better job of cranking out engineering students than the US does.

If you are bright, hard-working, get some lucky breaks, go to a top school and all of that I think overall you can make more money in business. I also think that you can make money faster and more reliably going with engineering though your highest achievable salary probably isn't going to be as much. Then again, here we are all about making enough to FIRE and not about getting to the finish line with the most toys. Maybe you can seek out some real-life CPAs, auditors, and engineers and have some quick informational interviews to give you a better idea of what you might like? Most people are flattered if you want them to talk about themselves and will give you time.

Yeah, that's an interesting trade off, and talking to people that walk the walk will really be good primary information. What would you guys take if you had the chance? More reliable and faster climb to a peak salary, or a higher potential peak salary? I would think engineering is ideal due to the characteristically lower working years, but someone commented here that as an auditor they climbed from 54k to 94K in 2 years(misread, new job every two years, IDK how long it took) so gotta take that into consideration also.

20 years ago, I finished my business degree, with a focus on "Strategic Management"

I chose that because I got to take classes in all the focuses, the idea behind this focus was to give you exposure to many things within the business curriculum.   The best classes were during my final year when everything came together;  we did company case studies (in teams we were given true but incomplete challenges from companies, we had to decide best course of action) and entrepreneurship (create a business plan).

Today, I'm not in management (why do more hours for less pay) nor do I own my own company.   However I feel this level of critical thinking and exposure to multiple disciplines really laid a foundation of understanding for me to be successful.

My advice - don't specialize too much because you never know where you'll end up.

Another balancing issue that I've mentioned earlier. I do think a good introductory course in all the disciplines would be beneficial and definitely make you more marketable, but I think some degree of specializing is required. And so what are you in now?

I started out as an external auditor specializing in the federal government. Then I went into audit consulting also for the federal government. My first job in accounting I made 54k. With getting new jobs every two years and negotiating hard I am now at 94k. I highly recommend that if you study accountin that your first job out of school is as an external auditor. Then after that you will have the option of any type of accounting job, whether it be internal audit, regular private accounting for a publicly held or privately held company or consulting. The 150 hours requirement means that you have to do 5 years of school. A big 4 accounting firm won't hire you without it, but a smaller firm would.
With such a high act score would you consider going to a top 100 school? A list of top schools is in the US News & World Report. Your parents might be willing to let you take on some debt if you go somewhere prestigious.  But if they're not helping you financially, it's not their business where you go.

I would consider a top 100 school, ONLY if there was a very specific reason to that would outweigh the cost of taking on student debt; I'm okay with making like 10-15% less money than I normally would since not having any debt weighing over me would be extremely liberating. But if going to a top 100 school meant like increased or even guaranteed job placement, higher salary, etc. that would be extremely tempting.

With a 32, what schools should I be looking at for merit-based scholarships that cover most of college costs? Note that me having a Roth IRA will probably rule out most financial-based need scholarships. Also, I live in Alabama so factor in how far colleges are from here.

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Accountant/Salary

Comforting to see I could become a CPA after 1 year of experience, with a good median pay of $60,000 with upward mobiility. IT consultants make over 6 figures with 10-20 years of experience, interesting too.

I started out as an external auditor specializing in the federal government. Then I went into audit consulting also for the federal government. My first job in accounting I made 54k. With getting new jobs every two years and negotiating hard I am now at 94k. I highly recommend that if you study accountin that your first job out of school is as an external auditor. Then after that you will have the option of any type of accounting job, whether it be internal audit, regular private accounting for a publicly held or privately held company or consulting. The 150 hours requirement means that you have to do 5 years of school. A big 4 accounting firm won't hire you without it, but a smaller firm would.
With such a high act score would you consider going to a top 100 school? A list of top schools is in the US News & World Report. Your parents might be willing to let you take on some debt if you go somewhere prestigious.  But if they're not helping you financially, it's not their business where you go.

I have been a Federal auditor my whole career, and crossed over to a low six figure income after 10 1/2 years.  I could have been there sooner, but I have landed in a place that I really like and don't want to give up my easygoing boss and three-block commute for supervisory responsibilities and potentially not-so-easygoing bosses.  I almost never work more than 40 hours per week, except when I'm on the road doing an audit, and we don't really have a busy season.  I travel a very reasonable 4-5 weeks per year.

I interviewed with the Big 4 in my last semester, but did not get hired.  I strongly suspect that is because I was a 30-something career changer, and they really prefer much younger people, since they work you so relentlessly for the first couple of years.

Audit pays well, but it can be exceedingly dull slogging through boxes of documents all day.  I have always assumed that it pays well because nobody really wants to do it.  What surprised me most about it is how much writing I do, as opposed to calculations. We have to document everything we do in workpapers, so it's good to be able to write descriptively and in detail.

That would be the dream job for me. Find a low 6 figure income, not have to work 40 hours year, reasonable workload, good boss. And I don't want to do paperwork all day every day, I just  couldn't do it I don't think. Auditing may not be for me.

Lots of great advice from previous posters.  I have degrees in Finance and Accounting and I feel these degrees open doors to employment.  I stayed two years in public accounting but I only hated the last 23 months.  My slightly different advice in addition to the great posts:  When you go to school and start studying a subject like accounting, really think about if you enjoy the subject matter itself.  I really disliked accounting classes so it makes sense that I also did not enjoy that specific line of work.  I found it quite tedious and a bit soul sucking.  It is a great door opening degree but it is studying to be an accountant.  I had a passion for studying markets but did not pursue that career path until later because of the safer opportunities in accounting.  Conversely, I had friends who really liked the accounting curriculum and they practiced as CPA's and seemed to like that career.  I guess what I am saying is that it is great to look at potential wages and opportunity different degrees offer, but remember that you will actually have to do the work for some period of years.  Life is really short to do things you really hate.  Heck, that is how I came to the MMM site and forums to begin with.  Good luck and good for you that you are thinking about this so in depth prior to going to college.  To me, that last part really increases your chance of life success.

Very true. For the longest time, I thought I would be taking a job in the STEM field, but now my interset has changed ot business. Who knows? I might end up majoring in something totally random like aviation. It's comforting to know that there are plenty of options if I do decide to pursue a business career.

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #47 on: June 23, 2016, 08:27:51 PM »
I posted the links because looking at potential majors might give you a feel for the direction you might wish to go in.

precrime3

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #48 on: June 23, 2016, 09:27:47 PM »
I posted the links because looking at potential majors might give you a feel for the direction you might wish to go in.

The BSBA (Whatever that means) in "Forensic Accounting" has coursework thats aimed at CPA, which could be a plus.

And public vs forensic accounting.. Anyone know a difference?

Cwadda

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Re: Viability of choosing a Business Degree?
« Reply #49 on: June 23, 2016, 09:52:32 PM »
Every one of my friends with business degrees got jobs right out of school. Mostly in the $50-60k range. Marketing, accounting, business management, etc.

One close friend did 150 credits in his undergrad (this is a stretch though, 19-20 credits per semester). He's already studying for the CPA exam right after school. This guy is like a 4.0 student, ridiculously smart and just clicks with accounting.