Duke Econ Major?

I'm currently a freshman at Duke and would like to go into investment banking after school. My advisor is beginning to ask what I am thinking about majoring in. I would like to do econ but from what I hear from my classmates, playing a varsity sport and majoring in econ will be rough here. Is it worth it to major in econ and put my gpa at risk or should I major in something a little easier that will not affect my gpa in a negative way. Some other majors I am considering are history or sociology. If you all could help me out that would be great. Thank you.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (10)

Mar 31, 2010 - 2:16am

I suppose you can break into banking with any major as long as you are smart and network, but I would probably not pick history or sociology. Typically sciences or math majors are solid alternatives. Do they have a finance major or accounting? Might be "easier" than econ while still being directly relevant to what you ultimately want to do.

Mar 31, 2010 - 2:45am

What's up big tuna. First off if you're on the lax team (if so you're the man) then you don't have to worry about either because all you'll have to do is show up to class once every two weeks and write your number in every answer blank, "The Shit" for your name, bam, 4.0.

If you play any other sport econ can be rough. My school isn't anywhere near the level of Duke, but our econ program is no slouch. Our "washout" classes were intermediate micro & macro. I took intermediate micro with some friends from engineering thinking it be a good way to meet some sorority girls that couldn't get into the B-school, probably should have done some more research. All of our econometrics and stat's classes were calc based, and the kids that didn't have their calc 1 & 2 down pat struggled. It's not the worst major but it isn't a walk in the park either.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Mar 31, 2010 - 3:32am

History and sociology are pretty different in terms of difficulty, or at least perceived difficulty. Maybe if you go to some shitty school, being a history major isn't going to get you very far, but I'd imagine at a place like Duke it's not going to put you at too much of a disadvantage when compared with an econ major if you're just looking at banking.

Hi, Eric Stratton, rush chairman, damn glad to meet you.
Mar 31, 2010 - 4:38am

Lots of athletes at Duke are political science majors. The time that you have to study for tests would obviously be little because you have practice, matches etc. Look at Miles, who was an engineer for all of one semester. If you actually are good at econ thats something else, but as an average student with less than average time...its gonna be hard. Like I said, you could do an easier major (i.e. one that does papers vs. in class math testing- political science, public policy, etc.) and do the new finance minor or just do something more quanty (knowing formulas vs. concepts).

Being a D1 athlete at Duke wil probably get you mad interviews anyway.

The required econ classes for the major are not that good, but for the minor you have 51 and 55- with decent teachers (read: not Leachman) you'll be fine. And the finance classes are interesting.

The MMS certificate is a joke but you can put a lot of "Relevant Coursework" on your resume. Sociology classes name "Strategic Financial Management"...check

Reality hits you hard, bro...
Mar 31, 2010 - 9:51am

definitely don't do sociology. there is something about sociology majors...

other than that do anything- it doesn't matter because all non-quantitative liberal arts majors will be irrelevant on the job (including the majority of an econ major). just network, study and enjoy your time at Duke.

But if you really can't decide than also consider international comparative studies. I know someone who did that @ duke and now works in commodity research at a BB. And I'm sure it would be easier than an econ major.

Mar 31, 2010 - 10:23am

Went to duke for a year,

Econ is tough but not impossible. A lot of the intro classes are definitely weed-out classes (see Fullenkamp), but after that it's a little bit more manageable.

If that's still going to be a constraitn for you, I'd consider going PubPol/History or whatever, make sure you got a good GPA, then go for the Markets and Management Certificate, to give yourself the business background. Good luck

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

April 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (187) $234
  • 2nd Year Analyst (107) $150
  • Intern/Summer Associate (96) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (391) $132
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (320) $82