1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are business degree profitable?

  1. Sep 11, 2010 #1
    Hey just curious about the profitability of a business degree. I hear MBA's are very popular, what about the bachelors though? And how do these stand next to degrees related to money?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2010 #2
    Any good paying job that you could get with an undergrad business degree, you could just as easily get with any quantitative degree (eg. physics, engineering, math, stats, etc...). In fact, it may even be easier with a quantitative degree. MBAs are only worth anything if you get it at a top school (ie Harvard, Wharton, Stanford), and thats only because of the network and recruiting that those top schools have.
  4. Sep 19, 2010 #3
    I'm working on International business, which pays fairly well if you're willing to travel anywhere at the whim of your employers.
  5. Nov 18, 2010 #4
    By profitability, do you mean ROI? If yes, then business degrees do have a good return on investment provided you are smart about the choice of your program. A http://www.cc-sd.edu/bachelor-degree-business-accounting.html" [Broken], you’ll enjoy ample employment opportunities across a broad spectrum of industries.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Nov 19, 2010 #5
    A degree in business is profitable. I'm in a fraternity and from what I've observed it's a good career if you are a people person.

    Generally speaking in business, I know it's cliche but, it's not about what you know but who you know.

    Most of the business people in my fraternity have meet a lot of businessman by the time they graduate and from what I've been told all of the people who have graduated have been hired by people they met previously.
  7. Nov 19, 2010 #6
    Business degrees are extremely profitable. Just look at the balance sheets for University of Phoenix, and the margins on their degrees are just incredible.....

    Oh... You meant for the student. Hard to say.....
  8. Nov 19, 2010 #7
    I'd just like to add that business/accountancy to tax law is extremely extremely profitable.
  9. Nov 20, 2010 #8
    Business degrees are for people that want to drink like fish and play poker who weren't clever enough for something involving lots of maths like economics.
  10. Nov 20, 2010 #9
    Wow that is an incredibly negative outlook. Perhaps people choose it because they LIKE doing it. Just because someone doesn't pick a particular field doesn't make them unintelligent.
  11. Nov 21, 2010 #10

    I have already explained that people choose business degrees because they are philistines who weren't good enough at maths to do economics. The low work-load is a huge bonus as it facilities more opportunities for heavy drinking, sleeping until 2pm, and getting laid with other people in the same predicament. A lot will never manage to secure a decent job in 'business' because a business degree screams out to employers that you're too thick to do economics, maths, a science or a respected humanity like history or politics. Some of the rich kids, like nice but dim Tim, did it because they are being groomed for a nepotistic job in the family business, or one of daddy's friend's businesses, and at least their degree means they can tell their elbow from their arse.
  12. Nov 21, 2010 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That's a load a crap. There are certainly many intelligent people who studied Business Administration.

  13. Nov 21, 2010 #12
    Looking at the grades of people who studied it at university demonstrates that, aside from a few exceptions (I guess some clever people are quite lazy), that is not the case.
  14. Nov 21, 2010 #13
    Just a quick question. Have you ever worked in business? I have.

    Something you quickly find out is that in order to get a company working, you need some very good social skills. In your average large corporation, being super-smart is totally useless if people don't like working with you, and if you can't work with anyone else.

    Ummmmm no.....

    What happens frequently is that people with engineering and science degrees go out into industry and find that the companies are run by MBA's, and they are run by MBA's because having good social and political skills is pretty much essential if you want to run a big corporation. So what then often happens is that rather than seeing "social skills" as something valuable and something you can learn, said engineering and science degree-holder gets really resentful that the world doesn't work in the way that they think it should work.
  15. Nov 21, 2010 #14
    Grades are almost totally meaningless once you get out of academia and have worked a year in a company.
  16. Nov 21, 2010 #15
    Drinking like a fish and playing poker are pretty much the skills that you need to run a business.
  17. Nov 22, 2010 #16
    You do not require a business degree to acquire these social and communication skills. They should be acquired as part of any other degree that involves lots of team and project work, and can also be acquired in part-time work, through socialising, etc.

    I believe that a lot of these skills are also largely natural, too. And people that naturally possess these skills sure as hell don't need a business degree.

    Not all companies are run by MBAs, and aren't MBAs something mainly pursued by people who aren't from a business undergraduate background? I know engineering firms are often really keen to put those engineers who have been earmarked for future leadership development through MBAs, fully funded. Probably something that I'll do one day, too.

    You're missing the point.

    All of the business leaders I know, albeit not that many, work extremely hard - so hard that the typical business student would have a stroke if they were to hear about the hours they put in.
  18. Nov 22, 2010 #17
    Amen to that brother. The best part is the drinking and gaming counts as work. Sometimes the long hours are worth it. [sometimes] One should add the ability to shake off the deleterious effects of Ambien after an international turn-and-burn trip.

    Running a business seems easy until you try it. When I was younger, I had a great deal of disrespect for folks planning a career in business, but now I see them as valuable partners in enterprise that allow me to concentrate on what I do best. I'm glad I don't have to know how to do everything myself.
  19. Nov 22, 2010 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    So you are privy to business student's grades then?

    I see no correlation between being lazy and studying business - it's just a different field that appeals to different personalities.

  20. Nov 22, 2010 #19
    Running a business is not easy. You're naive if you think that.
  21. Nov 22, 2010 #20
    A key ingredient in business is having "personality." I would suspect the more reticent and reserved folks tend to the sciences. Those who have "personality," such as a Feynman, excel even more so.
  22. Nov 22, 2010 #21
    Just a question. Should I assume here that you've never actually worked inside a business?

    My prediction is that in a few years, you will be complaining and resentful that the people that drink like a fish and know how to party are getting further in their careers than you are. You'll be talking about how it "isn't fair" that you got the grades, you did the work, you are smarter, and they are getting the money and the jobs.

    This is how business works. If you want maximum money for minimum work then science and engineering is a horrible path to take. If you think that in the end you are going to get rewarded financially or in social status for spending the extra time and effort to do science and engineering, you are also deluding yourself.

    You don't, but it helps. Also, business degrees give you some basic skills like reading a balance sheet and basic organizational theory. There are other ways of getting those skills, but if you go for a technical degree, you do have to realize that you will be deficient in some of those skills and actively look for ways of improving.

    They can. But I'm not sure about should. If you really like physics, then study physics. If you really don't care about physics and math (and most people don't care about physics and math) and you just want a degree that gets you some basic skills that gets you a job so that you don't starve to death, then a business degree is a reasonable thing to get.

    Actually they may. Something that you'll find out is that sometimes you just need the piece of paper to get past the gatekeeper. You may find yourself in a situation in which HR just tosses the resume of anyone that doesn't have an MBA, and being good at social and politics, you get the MBA.

    Any large company has a ton of MBA's in middle management. MBA's are terrible training for people that want to start their company, but if you have a 200,000 person company, you are going to need a ton of corporate bureaucrats, which is where an MBA comes in.

    Sure. If you like engineering then do engineering. If you hate engineering, don't like math, and want to make the maximum money for the minimum effort (i.e. most people) then a business degree is a good way to go.

    I'm a geek. Most people aren't. I like to think. Most people don't. I like to ask questions. Asking questions can get you in trouble in a big bureaucracy.

    One thing that I have to do to get anywhere in business is to convince my bosses, that in the end, I will follow orders. If you have someone that is less intelligent, they are more likely to follow orders without thinking about them, and more likely to get hired to be a corporate bureaucrat.

    Personally, I think that people talk too much about leadership. The problem with leaders is that you don't need that many of them, and you are more likely to be a follower than a leader.

    Also, the job of a business leader is to get other people to do work so that he or she can take credit for it, and then make the people that did the work feel good about that situation. It's not a coincidence that more political leaders have been actors than engineers since acting probably gives you more useful skills to be a leader than engineering school.

    Sure. But the MBA is not intended to train business leaders. One important fact is that you really don't need that many leaders in a company. If you have a company with 200,000 people, you only have one CEO, and maybe 100 senior managers. You also have about 50,000 mid-level and junior level corporate bureaucrats, and those are the spots that you want people with business degrees in.

    If you want to spend years of your life fighting to get to the top then that's great, but most people aren't like that, and maybe that's a good thing. If you have a company with 50,000 people each thinking that they should be CEO, then you'll find that those places tend to be extremely unpleasant places to work.

    You don't need Albert Einstein to be a regional divisional manager, and probably you don't *want* Albert Einstein to be a regional divisional manager. Einstein is going to get bored and annoyed, and maybe it's better for society if he think about relativity than about getting the fonts on the powerpoint right. But most people aren't Einstein, and most people really don't want to be Einstein.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010
  23. Nov 22, 2010 #22
    Cmon guys, are you really saying the average business student is anywhere close to the average math/physics student?

    Business degree is cake.
  24. Nov 22, 2010 #23
    The average business student is nowhere as good at mathematics as the average math/physics student.

    My point is that it doesn't matter when it comes to get a job. For the type of jobs that business students do, technical intelligence really isn't an important qualification, which causes a lot of resentment when math/physics students find themselves taking orders and making less money.
  25. Nov 22, 2010 #24
    As surprising as it may be, there are useful and important skills that have nothing to do with quantitative reasoning. Some of these skills are nonetheless intellectual, but many are not. One of the most informative nights I spent drinking at work I was talking with the sales guys and learning what it was they did and how they did it. I can design a great product, but without them all I would have is a pile of plastic and metal. Closing a deal and keeping your customer happy are real skills that are a sight to behold when done well. I know one of those sales guys has a math degree, but I have a hunch he does not impress customers with his proofs.
  26. Nov 23, 2010 #25
    For the last time what you choose to do in college does not correlate to ones inherent knowledge.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook