Yes, I know this topic has been beaten to death already. My situation is slightly different than other schools. Finance and economics are both in the business school.
I got to a top 50 non target (One or two kids make BB each year, and some make local IBD). A lot of kids go into top corp fin. These kids are typically finance majors, but not all.
There are three possible degrees which would work - accounting, finance, or economics.
Accounting is arguably the best, but the classes are significantly harder. Most accounting students have GPA's below 3.5. I eliminated this degree after learning of this.
Economics and finance are both business degrees. The difference is 5 or 6 classes taken at the end of college.
Basically, I find economics more interesting, and the degree proves critical thinking skills, but I would not have the detailed financial classes of a finance major. Since I go to a non-target, I am not sure how much recruiters would care.
Honestly I am not necessarily going to do IBD. I am looking to either do consulting, entry level corporate strategy., or an FLDP. The skillsets are slightly different, but typically people are knowledgeable of both.
Finance or Economics for Consulting Career Path?
For a student that is interested in consulting, our users shared that an Economics degree will make a great deal of sense as that will allow you to pursue regular consulting as well as economics focused consulting.
You gotta figure out what your end goal is here - if you're interested in IB, then by all means do finance as a major with an accounting minor. Think about it from a recruiter's perspective - assuming you do economics and then apply to the same IB job as another kid with exactly the same credentials but who is a finance major, who'll be more attractive to them? On the other hand, if you want to do economics related consulting (think NERA), obviously you'll stand out as an Econ major.
One small piece of advice - don't be obsessed with going into IBD if you genuinely are not that keen on finance, its too painful for someone who's only getting into it owing to a herd mentality. If you like econ more, just do it and life will figure itself out.
Investment Banking Careers: Picking Between Finance and Economics Majors
If you are interested in pursuing a career in investment banking, finance is the more straight forward path as it will help you develop some of the technical skills that you will use on the job.
The difference between Finance and Economics is that the former is much more practical, while the latter can be very interesting yet abstract. I have a B.S. and M.S. in Economics and I can tell you with certainty that much of the modelling you will learn in economics will not be performed in most jobs, especially in the Financial Services industry-aka Wallstreet. I can give you a preview of what's to come in your Econ courses: you will start off by building simple S&D graphs, in Micro Theory you will learn about Utility Functions subject to Budget Constraints (basic calculus), in Macro Theory you will construct multi-variable models that represent "hypothetical" Economies (basic caluclus, basic algebra). Economics is more about building critical thinking skills and understanding economic variables.
On the other hand, the skills learned in Finance, particularly Financial Engineering or Quantitative Finance are highly practical. A lot of the modeling done from DCF's to Stochastic Calculus is exactly the type of work performed by professional in the field. Most of the financial modelling is done in Excel, you'll probably even learn Excel VBA which is one of the most valuable technical skills in Finance.
Learn more about finance vs. economics in the video below.
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