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Old 11-10-2017, 04:34 AM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,930 posts, read 11,745,457 times
Reputation: 13170


Originally Posted by mezman View Post
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.
There's always contract research and consulting in economics, both for the private and public sectors. What's good about it is the breadth of the work you have to/learn to do. There's always a new type of job and the opportunity to learn and improve upon your basic skills comes with it...unless you are a know-it-all. In that case, you'd best become a professor.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:24 AM
3,678 posts, read 4,186,727 times
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Imho you should pick major based on your interests, aspirations and colleges. For example, economics may serve a high IQ high acchiever from an Ivy, who is looking to change this world for everyone. An average student from an average school hoping to grab a decent job as soon as he graduates, should look into accounting.

Last edited by UnfairPark; 11-13-2017 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:30 AM
10,505 posts, read 7,071,028 times
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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.
Here is the fundamental question: What. Do. You. Want. To. Do?

Don't major in something that just gets you a surefire job. Major in something that seizes your imagination. Something that you can fling yourself into with bloodlust, with intensity and drive. Do that and everything else will take care of itself.

I am in my mid-50s. I can't tell you how many people I've encountered in middle age who had the nice secure job that they cordially hated, people who have to drag themselves from bed every morning. Don't be one of those people. Be the person who wakes up every morning absolutely thrilled at what lies ahead of you that day.

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Old 11-13-2017, 01:22 PM
Location: Chicagoland
5,751 posts, read 10,392,325 times
Reputation: 7010
Default Accounting vs Finance?

This thread is old, but my son is considering these degrees also and would welcome any input for him..

Some background... He is a HS senior and applied to colleges Nov. 1 (no decision yet). Most of the schools he applied to are Big 10 (includes Wisconsin). He does not want to compete at the most "elite" level academically (e.g. no University of Chicago), but he is a pretty good student, especially in Math. He says he may want to eventually get a Masters degree.

He has taken AP Economics, Financial Accounting, and AP Calculus and really liked these classes (and got A's). However, he is not incredibly detail oriented and is a "big picture" thinker, so is not sure if Accounting is the right major.

He's leaning toward Finance because he wants to get into the investment/money mgmt field. He has started a few businesses in high school, and has had a brokerage stock account for the last few years that he has made money on. He is interested in schools that have trade simulation programs (Reuters? - sorry, I don't have a background in this). He is also extremely social and extroverted, so I'm sure he'd do well in something with a lot of client interaction. I don't think he would be happy being stuck too long at a detail-oriented desk job.

Thanks for any input/advice.
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:58 PM
3,678 posts, read 4,186,727 times
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Northwestern University is best of both worlds, selective and competitive yet not a stress wheel like U Chicago. DePaul & Loyola are worthy of consideration as well as NU is hard to get in. If he doesn’t mind getting out of your region then many good schools suit his interests.
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:00 AM
92 posts, read 99,651 times
Reputation: 143
Northwestern has no undergraduate business school program even though it has one of the best graduate business schools in the country. So there is no undergraduate finance or accounting major offered. What most business minded undergrads at NU major in, then, is the Economics program at the undergrad liberal arts college they have. If he really enjoys math, he might want to consider a mathematics major or double major and the actuarial field. U of C graduate business school is very well known for their prowess in financial modeling often used by trading firms and hedge funds, but I don't know if anything like this is offered at the undergraduate level. Personally I think the NU campus is a much more pleasant place than the U of C campus on the south side. But they probably are both depressing in December and January during Chicago winters.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:25 AM
3,678 posts, read 4,186,727 times
Reputation: 3332
Winters do suck in Illinois. Go West, young man!
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:34 AM
Location: OHIO
2,575 posts, read 2,084,656 times
Reputation: 5967

Last edited by crd08; 11-20-2017 at 07:35 AM.. Reason: old thread
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Old 11-21-2017, 04:00 AM
Location: Cannes
2,452 posts, read 2,388,040 times
Reputation: 1620
I have BS in economics and a master in Finance( IB). It has served me very well. I wanted to do international business but some people were telling me to stick to the "oldies". I don't think international business is just a fancy name. It's an area with good demand.
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:16 AM
698 posts, read 569,710 times
Reputation: 864
To be stand-out candidates, newbies may need to supplement their econ/finance portfolios with fluency in one or more foreign languages.
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