UChicago Business Economics

I'm currently trying to decide between a standard Econ major or a business economics major at UChicago. Both are similar, but the business economics track is touted as being much easier than the standard Econ track, allowing for a higher GPA. Will taking the standard Econ track hold me back during recruiting season, if a lot of other people have inflated GPAs due to the business economic tracks? 

Comments (9)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 18, 2021 - 1:23pm

Honestly do whatever you want. If you like traditional econ, then take that. If you don't give a shit about learning and are solely focused on IB, then do business econ. I've seen people with both majors get nice jobs.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Feb 18, 2021 - 1:43pm

Recent grad in IB here. I did standard Econ but should've done bus Econ.

Adjusting GPA for bus Econ major is BS. Doesnt happen. All you need for a good IB job is a 3.7-3.8 (can be as low as 3.4 in some cases), and interview skills /technical understanding. No one cares what classes you took in school. Really.

Standard Econ major is a lot of math-really tedious, easy-to-fuck-up math. If you like it go for it, but only a rare person actually likes that major. It's not interesting beyond 200-201, and it can be scary hard. Imagine a class full of math geniuses competing for a high GPA, in class curved to a B- average (2.7 /4.0). Oh, and imagine 75% of the grade is one test. That test might have 4 problems, only one of which you've seen anything similar to before. If you want a high GPA in standard Econ, you better be confident you are a cut above everyone else in terms of raw math ability.

Should note that for most a 3.7-3.8 still is NOT easy in BUS Econ, because Booth curves down to a B+ average in all classes, and trust me, 80% if the class will still be smart as shit. It's honestly still harder to get a high GPA doing Bus Econ at Uchicago than doing normal Econ at most other targets. I'd recommend taking the MBA section of certain courses, because those students are more chill and honestly not as bright on average.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Feb 18, 2021 - 2:01pm

Realize I'm a bit negative above. But don't want to sound too dire.

Take some math courses (153, 195, 196 etc.) and evaluate how good you are at math relative to others in your position. If you do well, meaning As, you'll be fine in standard Econ. You just want to stay motivated, and getting one bad grade really throws a lot of first/ second years off. Their discouragement leads to them falling off the high finance track and doing something else.

I still made it into top tier IB with 3.5ish and I'm non diversity with no connections. Not quite the norm but still very common - doubt this is even possible many places. I also loved the intellectual atmosphere, the beautiful campus, and the incredibly interesting people I met there. Chicago is also amazing if you can handle the weather. The network in elite banking groups, hfs, PE shops in NY, SF, CHI and internationally is tremendous. Would not go to another school if I could go back.

Feb 18, 2021 - 4:12pm

Thanks so much for the detailed response. So far, I thought 153 and 195 have been going okay, but I also think that the classes are a lot easier due to COVID and remote lessons. I think what you said has made a lot of sense, and I'm definitely leaning towards a business econ specialization now. I think ultimately my end goal is IB, so not sure if it would make a lot of sense to take the standard Econ track past the Econ 200s.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 18, 2021 - 2:40pm

Hey, I'm a 1st year and I'm curious about the comp sci major. Do you know if there is a similar experience here? How would you compare the difficulty of standard econ and comp sci?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Feb 18, 2021 - 2:46pm

Don't know too much, but I understand CS requires significantly MORE work than Econ typically (really depends on the classes- some Econ classes definitely harder than CS, but not usually). CS kids also tend to have lower GPAs than Econ kids.

Keep in mind tech companies don't care about grades nearly as much as banks/ funds do. So the harder classes don't translate to more stress necessarily. But I definitely wouldn't recommend for someone gunning for IB to do CS just because.

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