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How useful is an undergraduate business degree?

  1. Aug 6, 2009 #1
    Hi all. Thanks for coming.

    Let's say you have a choice between McCombs (UT Finance) and Cockrell (UT CS/Engineering)

    I don't want to have a career that is very frustrating... I think I have a decent IQ, but not one of the greatest. However, I do love being organized, and sadly do lean on the perfectionist end of the spectrum.

    Which do you think I should pursue, CS or finance? How are the intellectual aspects of the two different?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2009 #2
    Also, is it pretty much defeating the purpose if you do get an undergrad business degree AND an MBA?
  4. Aug 6, 2009 #3
    Undergraduate business is worthless, in my personal opinion. You don't even need a business degree for most business/finance-oriented jobs - in fact, they prefer students from the fields of engineering, mathematics, physics, etc. Refer to student profiles at programs such as Berkeley Haas' MFE program, Princeton's Master of Finance program, etc. as well as employee profiles at top management consulting and investment banking firms such as Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Bain and Company, etc.

    Study what you enjoy - if it is finance, go for it. I recommend taking as many first-year courses in as many different disciplines as possible to find out what you really like, and decide from there.
  5. Aug 7, 2009 #4
    How would he know if he likes finance or not? It's not a school subject.

    I guess it involves more than balancing a cheque book only on a larger scale?! With all those quants on board, crashing the economy and whatever, it looks like pretty intellectually demanding (& harrowing) stuff. Also a lot of work needs doing to get things working right. Finance looks in a similar to state to 18th century medicine, so if you like getting into the early days of a science, like adrenalin rushes, can handle hatred from people at dinner parties, go ahead...

    Check out the thread on "A.A. should I bother?" Asking the guy trying to ditch finance courses what sort of things he has been doing and why he's moving to physics.
  6. Aug 10, 2009 #5
    so, what about business AND comp sci dual major?
  7. Aug 22, 2009 #6
    I also think studying business in undergrad is useless. What you should do is use your summers to intern at companies, and perhaps work for 2-3 years when you graduate. Just make sure you do it at a real company like a GE, Procter & Gamble, etc. and move around from finance/accounting to product supply to brand management/marketing to strategy to CRM/sales.

    Then, you won't even need an MBA. One course in accounting and finance is all you will need. IMHO, based on personal experience and that of friends, people only do MBAs when they want to network and switch careers (except maybe MIT and Carnegie Mellon). A much better degree would be a Master's in Management Science. You'll gain much more substantive knowledge about solving practical business problems than you would in an MBA. Just keep in mind that there is a trade off involved -- you will not get the networking advantages of the MBA.

    Whatever you do, do not be seduced by investment banking (unless you work in capital markets) or by management consulting. You will learn more at a real company doing real day-to-day managerial work.

    As for what degree to pursue, do a degree that will make you happy -- whether social or natural science. Do what you like. You won't get the chance to go to college again and take whatever your intellectual curiosity tells you to take. Learning stats will help you in anything you do. There are always very difficult business conundrums that CEOs could easily solve if they knew how to do a simple regression.
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