How marketable is it to be an Econ major?

I just finished up my sophomore year majoring in economics at a non-target school. From people that I've met, I keep getting the advice to switch to finance or statistics because economics won't get me where I wanna be (leaning towards market research/banking). Thankfully I've been able to have internship experience in financial analytics and compliance as well as an externship in market research for the energy sector. However, I am concerned about my ability to market myself in finance when my major is more theoretical/academic than practical. Obviously coming from a non-target isn't the greatest but my GPA is "ok" (3.5). Would anyone recommend adding minors in stats or finance? Would it make me more marketable? Also any advice on getting my foot in the door despite coming from a less than stellar school? I've had success and am in the recruitment process at Bloomberg, however, I rather be working in banking but so far no luck!

Comments (5)

May 23, 2018

Is Economics outside your business school altogether? I think a lot of times the biggest concern is just that certain schools like UVA/Penn have super prestigious UG business schools so it helps to be able to put Wharton/McIntire on your resume.

That said, do the Finance minor and TAKE FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING, and I don't think your major will likely be a deciding factor when your resume hits HR.

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May 23, 2018

I used to be an econ business major, however, I ended up transferring to a school where economics has its own program outside of business (still have those "business foundations courses"). I'm hoping to add a concentration in managerial economics that more quantitative as well. The largest downside I've seen is while I study markets I've never gained any in-depth knowledge of investments so I'm hoping a finance minor would help me out.

Most Helpful
May 23, 2018

Many Ivies and top-tier targets don't offer finance, business or accounting degrees. Economics is the catchall major for these disciplines with the rationale that the university provides the fundamental theoretical teaching, the employer provides the specific practical training. Typically, individuals who want to do finance/banking will select finance and accounting electives within the major. These grads are plenty marketable. They've demonstrated an interest and an ability to think the way the job will require. That's what top employers want.

For non-targets, there's a bit more to consider.

  • Since your school offers a finance major, you may be asked in an interview: If you want a job in finance, why didn't you major in finance? There are plenty of solid answers here, but if you don't take any finance-specific courses, employers may question if you know what you're looking for. You'd need to offset this by being very solid with your technicals.
  • As you go down the prestige totem pole, employers look for specific skills rather than just smart people. Goldman Sachs could easily hire a Harvard history major over a non-target finance major. GS knows it has the training programs to bring anyone up to speed if they're super smart and hardworking. But less prestigious employers are much more likely to look for someone who can show up and do the job on day one. They don't have the infrastructure built-in to teach the basics; they need to be convinced you already know it.

Are econ degrees marketable? Yes, very. But I think adding a finance minor could only help, assuming you can do it without a hit to your GPA.

May 26, 2018
HighlyClevered:

with the rationale that the university provides the fundamental theoretical teaching, the employer provides the specific practical training.

This, +1.

That's how it works for the most part in the UK. Our degrees are largely academic, the idea is you learn how to think and how to interpret/analyse information at university then apply those newly improved skills to a "graduate scheme" where you're brought to speed on the practical elements of working life. For example, there are more graduates from "academic" subjects joining the big4 than there are business or accounting graduates.. why? Because, the accounting profession requires studying for professional exams and work experience at the same time to become a certified member of the profession.

That's why over 70% of the graduate jobs in the business and public sector world people take up every year stipulate no specific degree requirements. I've always been of the opinion that a top education isn't meant to be "practical" it's meant to improve your higher order skills and teach you how to become a better, more well rounded individual (by way of extracurriculars, leadership etc).

The combination of a liberal arts university education at a top institute, a challenging, high intensity entry level position and a top MBA are excellent ingredients for a successful business career.

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May 30, 2018
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just google it...you're welcome