I am not going to tell you that one major is better than another — that’s for you to decide. But, I can tell you the job opportunities you can expect to have if you perform well in your business studies, and how much each of those job opportunities pay.
1. Accounting – If you like to keep track of things, have strong attention to detail, and enjoy following the rules, being an accounting major may be a good choice for you. Yet, landing a good job at a Big 4 accounting firm (Deloitte, PwC, EY, & KPMG) is difficult — you typically have to have over a 3.4 grade point average (GPA) to even get an interview. You also have to take over 150 credit hours to sit for your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exams. There are four CPA exams that you have to take, which many fail multiple times. But, the work pays off, because your accounting firm will likely pay for your CPA classes and for your exam if you pass the tests (and hopefully give you a bonus too!). Staff accountants typically earn between $55K-60K a year in their first years, depending on the location.
2. Economics – If you like to understand theories behind how things work, look at the big picture and narrow it down, and enjoy math and statistics, being an economics major may be the way to go. Economics, like accounting, is not easy, but it can get you very far if you are strong in the classroom. With an economics major you can do private consulting, investment banking, or work for a government agency or economic think tank. Economics majors can typically earn between $45K-55K a year if you work for a government agency or economic think tank — but you can earn more ($60-70K) by working as a private consultant or investment banker.
3. Finance – If you are a jack of all trades, like the stock market or investing, and putting all of the pieces together, you may want to be a finance major. Finance is a giant mash up of economics and accounting that is usually used for investment analysis (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) and in financial decision making by companies (how to use money effectively and efficiently). If you do well in the classroom, understand financial markets, and enjoy reading the news, you will have many options. You can be a personal financial planner, a financial consultant, a wealth manager, an investment banker, or a research analyst, among many others. Finance majors that become personal financial planners can typically expect to earn between $35K-$45K in the early years, while a financial consultant, wealth manager, investment banker or research analyst can earn much more ($60K-70K).
4. Marketing – If you are creative, like to think outside the box, but are also interested in business, being a marketing major may be a good choice for you. If you do well, you can become a brand manager, advertiser, marketing researcher, publicist, or work for a public relations firm. Marketing typically pays less than the other business majors, around $35K-45K in their first years — but once you get experience, you can earn much more as you move up in your company.
5. Management – If you are good with people, like to be in charge, and like fixing problems, management may be a good fit for you. Management majors typically have to be well-rounded and understand accounting, marketing, finance, economics, and business laws and technology. Management majors can become assistant managers out of college, and you can be assigned multiple duties, and perhaps will be put in charge of managing a few people. Management majors can also be business analysts, office managers, or a brand managers. Management majors can typically score anywhere between $45K-60K in their first years.
6. Real Estate – If you like marketing, management, finance, and accounting, real estate could be a good option for you to explore. Understanding real estate is very important, and you could become a real estate analyst/developer, a property manager, a real estate agent, an appraiser, or a mortgage processor, by majoring in real estate. Many times real estate majors also minor in finance or economics, because there are so many overlapping themes and consistencies. Real estate majors can earn $35K-45K out of college by being a property manager, but can earn much more by being a real estate analyst/developer, or even an appraiser ($60-70K).
Please comment and let us know what you are thinking of going into and we can get someone already in your major to comment back!