Business Majors

See this report from WSJ by Melissa Korn?

What does your company look for in candidates?

Undergraduate business majors are a dime a dozen on many college campuses. But according to some, they may be worth even less.

More than 20% of U.S. undergraduates are business majors, nearly double the next most common major, social sciences and history.

The proportion has held relatively steady for the past 30 years, but now faculty members, school administrators and corporate recruiters are questioning the value of a business degree at the undergraduate level.

The biggest complaint: The undergraduate degrees focus too much on the nuts and bolts of finance and accounting and don’t develop enough critical thinking and problem-solving skills through long essays, in-class debates and other hallmarks of liberal-arts courses.

Companies say they need flexible thinkers with innovative ideas and a broad knowledge base derived from exposure to multiple disciplines. And while most recruiters don’t outright avoid business majors, companies in consulting, technology and even finance say they’re looking for candidates with a broader academic background.


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  • Ken B.

    This article takes me back twenty years to my undergrad days when I took a graduate seminar on comparative religion. One of the other undergrads in the course was a business major who needed to fulfill a general ed requirement before graduating at the end of the term. He made known by the end of that first session that he would be dropping the class because the syllabus required a twelve page paper at the end of the semester. He had never written that long of a paper in his college career, and certainly wouldn’t be doing that now. The religion and history grad students were disgusted by his dismay over and resolution against having to actually write a research paper in college. I’m glad to hear of a coming change.

  • dlw

    I remember my last year in college, I took issue with a business prof over the existence of a business major. I thought it made sense to have a business minor and then other majors.


  • This is probably bad news for Christian colleges, including my alma mater, that have extended their lives by developing education and business degrees. Whereas 30 years ago we were all working on ministry degrees, few are today. But, of course, small private colleges should be able to return to the liberal arts — just may not be able to charge as much!

  • Diane

    This all goes to show it’s best to follow your heart or your leadings and not try to please a fickle job market–I hope my daughter’s combination of a business major with an IT emphasis, a philosophy minor, and attending a well-regarded liberal arts college will make a difference.