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Business Administration Major--Useless? - Page 3

post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post
My first-semester fin professor in graduate school--Ken French-- encouraged us to take the test to pass out of the course, but said that in his experience only Wharton BS grads could pass it. So-- if an undergraduate major won't help you pass out of core classes in an MBA program, and you don't need a business degree to get into that MBA program, why bother with it? Go instead for what will stretch your mind and your character. Or, if that isn't interesting to you, what will get you a job at graduation.
Good advice here. Major in something that really makes you think. So much of the business curriculum is just BS. I am a humanities professor and can assure you that the vast majority of my students from the business school would really benefit from learning how to think clearly, write clearly, and reflect on human behavior. If you major in finance, consider math or history or philosophy or literature as a second major. A science field would also be good. The liberal arts cultivate a broader range of intellectual skills and curiosity than the business courses, and you'll need that range. Study truly great thinkers, and you'll really grow.
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophe View Post
Good advice here. Major in something that really makes you think. So much of the business curriculum is just BS.

I am a humanities professor and can assure you that the vast majority of my students from the business school would really benefit from learning how to think clearly, write clearly, and reflect on human behavior. If you major in finance, consider math or history or philosophy or literature as a second major. A science field would also be good. The liberal arts cultivate a broader range of intellectual skills and curiosity than the business courses, and you'll need that range. Study truly great thinkers, and you'll really grow.

Any books by these truly great thinkers that you can recommend? I have trouble finding interesting books that keep me motivated to read.
post #33 of 48
Some of my favorites:

Frederic Bastiat - The Law
F.A. Hayek - The Road to Serfdom
Ludwig von Mises - Human Action
Murray Rothbard - For a new Liberty
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbreen1 View Post
Any books by these truly great thinkers that you can recommend? I have trouble finding interesting books that keep me motivated to read.

The Republic by Plato is a good one as well. Try reading The Republic and try to cross-reference it with Spartan culture; there are a lot of similarities.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophe View Post
Good advice here. Major in something that really makes you think. So much of the business curriculum is just BS.

I am a humanities professor and can assure you that the vast majority of my students from the business school would really benefit from learning how to think clearly, write clearly, and reflect on human behavior. If you major in finance, consider math or history or philosophy or literature as a second major. A science field would also be good. The liberal arts cultivate a broader range of intellectual skills and curiosity than the business courses, and you'll need that range. Study truly great thinkers, and you'll really grow.

I agree with this. This also depends largely on the school as well. My BBA consisted of a lot of electives to supplement the core business classes, which spanned a variety of faculties. For me, I took Psych, Philosophy, Sociology, Greek Mythology, Communications; even Electroacoustic Music and Paleontology.

The local rival business school is known to be very rigid and solely business-focused with their cirriculum. As a result, I've heard firsthand experience from recruiters and such, that the grads who came out of the same program as I, more often than not turned out to be a much more rounded and more easily integrated into the 'real world' as compared to the others.
post #36 of 48
Here's some advice; college is very important but don't go as a means to get a job.
post #37 of 48
If you are interested in doing business, then the answer is clear: pursue a business major. The liberal arts degree is a double edged sword; on the up-side, you still have a year left to declare your major, but on the downside, thanks to all your prerequisites, your education in your major is not as rigorous as it should be. Consider business courses because they will equip you for graduate school, gaining employment and excelling in your chosen profession/ running a successful business on your own.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkstone View Post
According to a spencer report the Top 3 undergraduate degrees for CEOs in S&P 500 fortune companies:

Engineering 22%
Economics 16%
Business Admin. 13%


http://content.spencerstuart.com/ssw...al_summary.pdf

Business Admin. in the top 3 for CEOs doesn't seem useless to me.

While I would be an idiot not to discern any sort of correlation between those majors and CEO jobs, I think 2 points are glaringly omitted. Firstly, those 3 are probably the most popular majors anyway, or at least top 5; granted engineering encompasses a pretty broad range of actual "majors", added all together its a fairly sizable amount. Secondly those who choose to go into econ/business admin. especially, are a self selected pool of students/graduates that aspire/intend on entering the corporate world in jobs that have a real, tangible means of advancement. I mean, who would have guessed? A business major wanting to do business?
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcernedParent View Post
While I would be an idiot not to discern any sort of correlation between those majors and CEO jobs, I think 2 points are glaringly omitted. Firstly, those 3 are probably the most popular majors anyway, or at least top 5; granted engineering encompasses a pretty broad range of actual "majors", added all together its a fairly sizable amount. Secondly those who choose to go into econ/business admin. especially, are a self selected pool of students/graduates that aspire/intend on entering the corporate world in jobs that have a real, tangible means of advancement. I mean, who would have guessed? A business major wanting to do business?


conversely, a great majority of those that rose to the top in the business world (87%) were not business majors.
post #40 of 48
Don't get me wrong, the liberal arts are important, but why would you spend upwards of $100K+ at a private school getting an English or Sociology degree? It's downright stupid. If you're than interested in a particular subject, find a syllabus online, read the same pages and write on the same paper topic. It's that easy to get a liberal arts education, and you don't have to waste time and money in classes. We all have 168 hours a week and you spend a hell of a lot of it sleeping and drinking, why spend it on something you can learn faster on your own?

Sorry, but that NY Times article on b-schools is intellectual circlejerkery, employers are NOT "content" hiring English or Psychology majors. It's painful to interview them, in fact, because they are absolutely clueless as to what goes on in a business.

Reading, writing, and even critically thinking is easy. Numbers and sciences aren't. Get a numerical or scientific background where there are professors and resources for your when you stumble and study the liberal arts on your own.

Before I get jumped on, I'm a business major with concentrations in quantitative analysis and finance, and I work at a large fortune 100 company. I'm currently taking an Italian class and reading some of John Stuart Mill's work on Utilitarianism and I'll probably move to reading a book exegesis on commonly misunderstood Bible verses. See? No reason you can't do both.
post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by apocalypse later View Post
If you're than interested in a particular subject, find a syllabus online, read the same pages and write on the same paper topic. It's that easy to get a liberal arts education, and you don't have to waste time and money in classes. We all have 168 hours a week and you spend a hell of a lot of it sleeping and drinking, why spend it on something you can learn faster on your own?
You could say something substantially similar for most college majors, including business. outside the fields where you need equipment/facilities, the substantive stuff can easily be learned on your own, and even through lectures of "famous" professors through the use of iTunes U or MIT's opencourseware (and I think a few other schools do something similar). If anything, liberal arts education is what should be taught in a college setting precisely because it's not about "What year did the WWI begin?" or the impact of using LIFO or FIFO in keeping track of your inventory. Shoot, even my public high school didn't teach history that way. The entire point of liberal arts education isn't to teach you the material, but rather the pursuit and the process--something that is abstract (and yes, in and of it self, useless) to a point that one does stand to benefit from dialogue and debate from professors and classmates.
Quote:
Reading, writing, and even critically thinking is easy. Numbers and sciences aren't. Get a numerical or scientific background where there are professors and resources for your when you stumble and study the liberal arts on your own.
No, numbers and sciences aren't easy--and they do hire math and science majors for positions that actually require hard numbers and real science skills. On the other hand, most business positions require a lot less mathematical ability than some would have you believe. Even less important than ability, depth of understanding--at least the kind that requires one to fill his entire undergraduate curriculum with "business" classes.
post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kxk View Post
You could say something substantially similar for most college majors, including business. outside the fields where you need equipment/facilities, the substantive stuff can easily be learned on your own, and even through lectures of "famous" professors through the use of iTunes U or MIT's opencourseware (and I think a few other schools do something similar).

If anything, liberal arts education is what should be taught in a college setting precisely because it's not about "What year did the WWI begin?" or the impact of using LIFO or FIFO in keeping track of your inventory. Shoot, even my public high school didn't teach history that way. The entire point of liberal arts education isn't to teach you the material, but rather the pursuit and the process--something that is abstract (and yes, in and of it self, useless) to a point that one does stand to benefit from dialogue and debate from professors and classmates.


No, numbers and sciences aren't easy--and they do hire math and science majors for positions that actually require hard numbers and real science skills. On the other hand, most business positions require a lot less mathematical ability than some would have you believe. Even less important than ability, depth of understanding--at least the kind that requires one to fill his entire undergraduate curriculum with "business" classes.

So you're saying the point of college then, is to engage in scholarly debate and dialogue and develop skills in that manner. Great--I'm on board, however I challenge you to find universities where most classes are structured in a manner such as this. I went to a halfway decent university (USNews ranked it in the top 50, anyways) and I would say only 1/3 of my liberal arts classes were structured this way. The rest were simply lecture, paper, test, lecture. My business classes inspired debates about ethics, social responsibility, and creative problem solving, where as my liberal arts classes rarely inspired anything beyond sleep from the other students.

If this is the philosophy that provosts of universities stand by, they are doing a piss poor job. I will never forget my Philosophy of Ethics class when my prof would basically run through a series of 10 questions and we were supposed to debate them. Question asked, no hands raised, just bored looks on student faces. Uninspired. Sad, but participation is perceived as lame and talking in the back of the class is cool. Students come out of college learning how to cram for tests, how to conduct self-serving research for their crappy papers, and how to drink. Well, one of those important.

Lastly, I acknowledge your point about about many business jobs not needing as much math as you think. I wasn't trying to prove the worth of a numbers-based degree as much as I was trying to disprove the worth of a liberal arts degree.
post #43 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by apocalypse later View Post
Lastly, I acknowledge your point about about many business jobs not needing as much math as you think. I wasn't trying to prove the worth of a numbers-based degree as much as I was trying to disprove the worth of a liberal arts degree.

Success in math classes is a pretty good proxy for brains and work ethic.
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by philosophe View Post
Success in math classes is a pretty good proxy for brains and work ethic.

Social skills, sex life, and hygiene as well.
post #45 of 48
<----- Bachelor of Business Administration here. From my first hand experience it is a toxic waste of a major to be avoided at all costs. The BA route made sense at the time because like so many others, early-on I absolutely knew I wanted to 'be in business' but without knowing precisely what type of business or role... It was a mistake. If I could turn back the clock and star over, a thought I have at least once a day, then I'd have selected a specialty degree such as Finance, it's all the rage now considering how much the US economy subsists of Finance sector jobs (the consensus among my posh circle of friends both then and now is you're either 'in Banking/Finance or a poor peon,' and with the high-moneyed dream jobs they have now, they were right); Economics, a major that gives a far superior understanding of business and how the world works than a BA ever will or could; or Engineering and Mathematics, both eminently respectable and useful. Each lends you levels of instant credibility and open doors that the BA absolutely does not or can not. Hell, even Psychology is a better degree, I think. Basically, ANY OTHER specialist degree is superior. The BA is a master-of-nothing degree. Literally. The moral of all this is: Specialize, specialize, specialize. Stay away from generalist degrees. The poster who earlier described the BA as meant for people who end up being the "manager at XYZ box store at the mall" and never end up doing anything else.... that's painting with a broad brush but is closer to reality than anyone cares to admit. That's how I view the BA degree. If you aspire to anything greater, you had better have a solid plan and have built a golden personal network (should have this anyway but doubly-true with BA degree). This will tell you everything you need to know; if choosing between two identical resumes, one having a Bachelor of Business Administration and the other Economics or Finance, which do you call back? The Bachelor of Business Administration sorely needs a complete overhaul in terms of purpose and curriculum in order to stay relevant, let alone competitive, vis-a-vis other business degrees because the BA teaches nothing of significance that isn't already common sense and isn't challenging in the least.
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