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Old 07-19-2010, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
677 posts, read 1,398,683 times
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Are any of these majors 'better' than another, in term of job prospects and education in general? I'm probably going to sell out and enter the business field* () and was originally thinking of majoring in Finance. But I wonder if Accounting, International Business or Economics would be better. I don't want to major in Business, I really want to specialize in something.

Anyone have opinions on any of these majors?

*Unless I decide to do something in science or engineering...but I'm better at business/number related subjects. We'll see.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:28 PM
 
1,946 posts, read 4,631,973 times
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I think international business is just a fancier management degree, so take that as you will. The other three can go hand in hand, though moreso finance and accounting. Guess it just depends what you like studying more: finance and economics will give you more breadth (whereas accounting is more specific), but economics is generally considered more of a cognate field to business rather than a field of business.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
543 posts, read 1,180,347 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchelle View Post
Are any of these majors 'better' than another, in term of job prospects and education in general? I'm probably going to sell out and enter the business field* () and was originally thinking of majoring in Finance. But I wonder if Accounting, International Business or Economics would be better. I don't want to major in Business, I really want to specialize in something.

Anyone have opinions on any of these majors?

*Unless I decide to do something in science or engineering...but I'm better at business/number related subjects. We'll see.
I kind of write this all the time but it depends on where you're going to school. If you're going to UW (I see your location is set to Wisconsin) the answer would be different than if you went to Northwestern or the University of Chicago (I tried to pick two schools in the same geographic vicinity). A finance degree from UW will provide very different opportunities than a finance degree from U of C or Northwestern (as a generality of course).

If you were to go to UW you wouldn't have as many options as I don't think that UW is a huge recruiting ground for investment banking, venture capital, or private equity (no offense I'm a Big Ten grad myself). In this instance I would rate relative opportunities upon graduation as:

accounting>finance>econ>international business
(you might be able to switch the last two as I don't know many international business grads)

Now if you were to go to Northwestern or U of C that would open many more doors to high finance so I would probably rate the options as:

finance>accounting>econ>international business

So in the end I guess what I'm saying is that unless you go to an "elite" university I would generally put accounting at the top of the employability scale. Now if you don't like accounting you absolutely should not go into it (or at least don't take an accounting job). It takes a special person to like accounting and day by day I'm starting to see that I'm not that person .
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
677 posts, read 1,398,683 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyers29 View Post
I think international business is just a fancier management degree, so take that as you will. The other three can go hand in hand, though moreso finance and accounting. Guess it just depends what you like studying more: finance and economics will give you more breadth (whereas accounting is more specific), but economics is generally considered more of a cognate field to business rather than a field of business.
Thank you for the overview. That definitely helps to put things in perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mezman View Post
I kind of write this all the time but it depends on where you're going to school. If you're going to UW (I see your location is set to Wisconsin) the answer would be different than if you went to Northwestern or the University of Chicago (I tried to pick two schools in the same geographic vicinity). A finance degree from UW will provide very different opportunities than a finance degree from U of C or Northwestern (as a generality of course).

If you were to go to UW you wouldn't have as many options as I don't think that UW is a huge recruiting ground for investment banking, venture capital, or private equity (no offense I'm a Big Ten grad myself). In this instance I would rate relative opportunities upon graduation as:

accounting>finance>econ>international business
(you might be able to switch the last two as I don't know many international business grads)

Now if you were to go to Northwestern or U of C that would open many more doors to high finance so I would probably rate the options as:

finance>accounting>econ>international business

So in the end I guess what I'm saying is that unless you go to an "elite" university I would generally put accounting at the top of the employability scale. Now if you don't like accounting you absolutely should not go into it (or at least don't take an accounting job). It takes a special person to like accounting and day by day I'm starting to see that I'm not that person .
Well, my goal is to graduate from UW Madison. I guess that International Business was something I thought of because the economy seems to become more globalized each day..I'm not sure if that would give me an advantage or not.

It sounds like I should probably go for accounting more than finance, or possibly a double major then. I want to do this because I've always been good at business classes and I just started working at a credit union and am really, really enjoying it. I like working with numbers and filling out paperwork, so finance or accounting seem like good choices. Can I ask what it is about accounting that you don't like? I know that there's another thread about accounting and I briefly read through that but all it seemed to discuss was pay and job availability. What day to day activities do you dislike about it?
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:27 PM
 
2,739 posts, read 4,072,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchelle View Post
Thank you for the overview. That definitely helps to put things in perspective.
Well, my goal is to graduate from UW Madison. I guess that International Business was something I thought of because the economy seems to become more globalized each day..I'm not sure if that would give me an advantage or not.

It sounds like I should probably go for accounting more than finance, or possibly a double major then. I want to do this because I've always been good at business classes and I just started working at a credit union and am really, really enjoying it. I like working with numbers and filling out paperwork, so finance or accounting seem like good choices. Can I ask what it is about accounting that you don't like? I know that there's another thread about accounting and I briefly read through that but all it seemed to discuss was pay and job availability. What day to day activities do you dislike about it?
If your goal is to find a job out of college then, I'd go with accounting. It's the most versatile and relevant of all business specialties. All businesses need their books taken care of. For me, the worst part of accounting on the job was reconciliations or having to have every number make sense--with speed. Sometimes when I am tired or have something else on my mind like my personal life, or there are just too many distractions in the office, having that much attention to detail became frustrating. The thing I enjoyed most about accounting on the job was just knowing that I was doing imporant work--guess I enjoyed the challenge.

Last edited by Jay100; 07-19-2010 at 09:46 PM..
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Saint Louis, MO
1,877 posts, read 3,856,268 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mezman View Post
accounting>finance>econ>international business
Agree with this 100%. Accting + Finance double major is popular too, they compliment each other well.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
543 posts, read 1,180,347 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchelle View Post
Thank you for the overview. That definitely helps to put things in perspective.



Well, my goal is to graduate from UW Madison. I guess that International Business was something I thought of because the economy seems to become more globalized each day..I'm not sure if that would give me an advantage or not.

It sounds like I should probably go for accounting more than finance, or possibly a double major then. I want to do this because I've always been good at business classes and I just started working at a credit union and am really, really enjoying it. I like working with numbers and filling out paperwork, so finance or accounting seem like good choices. Can I ask what it is about accounting that you don't like? I know that there's another thread about accounting and I briefly read through that but all it seemed to discuss was pay and job availability. What day to day activities do you dislike about it?
UW-Madison is a good school so if you work hard and pull a good GPA you'll have a lot of opportunity. As far as international business goes I don't think getting a degree in it will help much. If you want to do international business you could just as easily take a few foreign language classes while you're getting your accounting degree. Then you could work for the Big Four and become an IFRS expert. From there you can go work for a MNC and tada you're in international business and you'll have real world experience to boot.

As far as accounting there's a myriad of issues that bug the crap out of me about it. First of all, I must say I love audit and financial analysis. But audit generally requires a lot of travel, especially in public accounting, and that doesn't work for my family situation. Another issue is that unless you work for a pretty large company all roads lead to accounting. By that I mean you can start off in the audit department or in a financial analysis but as you progress along the career ladder you'll eventually end up in an accounting role in some capacity (accounting manager, controller, finance manager, etc.) unless you move into another department (operations, HR, marketing, etc.).

My specific issues with accounting have more to do with conflicts between the job requirements and my personality:
  • It drives me nuts when you get one number wrong and everyone has to puff themselves up by pointing it out "well I noticed it but accounting didn't."
  • No one seems to understand materiality - that $50 that doesn't reconcile in a $40M account doesn't frickin' matter! Move on people!
  • Insanely short closing periods just so we can be the first one to get our numbers out...
  • Executives who "need these numbers right now for a meeting!" And then they never mention them or gloss over them in said meeting.
  • I'm kind of a big picture guy... accounting and big picture thinking don't necessarily go hand in hand.
  • The spreadsheets... dear God the spreadsheets.
  • The reports... dear God the inane duplicative reports.
On the other side of that coin is the opportunities that an accounting degree represents. I've been out of school 5 years (undergrad 4 years masters) and I've already been a project manager, audit manager, and an accounting manager. I make more than my parents make combined. I work from home. My company needs me more than I need it.

But again it doesn't really match my personality so I don't know how much longer I'll be able to take it. But there are other who would absolutely love this job and would be writing about how much they love all of these things. So figure out what works best for you and don't let my ******** & moaning dissuade you.

Last edited by mezman; 07-20-2010 at 08:21 AM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
543 posts, read 1,180,347 times
Reputation: 422
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezman View Post
I've been out of school 5 years (undergrad 4 years masters) and I've already been a project manager, audit manager, and an accounting manager.
Please allow myself to quote... myself.

The above being said please keep in mind that you have to have some aptitude for accounting to be put in such positions. Even though accounting drives me crazy I'm very very good at it. But just because you're good at something doesn't mean you have to like it .
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:16 PM
 
5 posts, read 1,579 times
Reputation: 10
Replying to an early message for anyone interested in this same question: don't look at the ranking of your school, it's useless and means nothing and who cares. Look at the companies that actively recruit at your school and the specific program, that says a lot. I know many individuals who didn't go to the "elites," just to really good programs and they have amazing careers.
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Old 11-09-2017, 07:30 PM
 
2,136 posts, read 1,149,266 times
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Accounting is one of the most versatile business degrees you can get. Double major that with Finance and you cover the most desirable portions of business.

You can do tons of stuff with a accounting degree. CPA being a big one, that can lead to law, IRS, and other alphabet agencies.

You have the education for any of the Series licenses. Insurance etc.

You can work for any big company doing just about anything what so ever in regards to business.

If you want you could even go with science classes as your electives and you would have enough to apply for nursing school (so long as you have the bio labs and anatomy) with a 1 year bridge for BSNRN. That would open you up to any and all health care management positions as well.
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