8 Reasons Not to Get a Business Degree

Last Updated Jan 24, 2011 5:46 PM EST

This post is part of a series on college degrees that you may want to avoid. Read my other post: 5 Reasons Not to Get a Law Degree.
Thinking about getting a business degree?

Business degrees are hot, but you might want to reconsider your decision. Here are eight reasons why you should not major in business:

1. Business majors don't learn much in business school.


That's one of the bombshell conclusions of Academically Adrift, a new blockbuster bestseller that suggests that 45% of college students don't learn much of anything in their first two years of college, while more than one out of three students graduate with no improvement in writing and analytical skills.

Among the students who learn the least in college are social work, education and business majors. In contrast, the researchers found that students majoring in the humanities, social sciences, hard sciences and math do relatively well.

2. You won't make as much money as you think.

If you're interested in making tons of money, here's a wake-up call: in the latest college degree salary survey from PayScale, business is NOT one of the best-paying college degrees.

When PayScale looked at starting and mid-career salaries of college graduates in dozens of college majors, business came in as the 56th best-paying college degree. It fared worse than such "impractical" college degrees as philosophy, history and American studies.


3. The job market is crawling with business majors.

It's hard to stand out from the crowd when more than one out of every five new college grads is a business major. What you're telegraphing when you major in business is that you want to make money, but do you have what it takes to some day earn that corner office?

4. Your quality of life could suck.

Prominent labor economists examined what Harvard Business School grads were doing 15 years after graduating and certain business majors were having a difficult time juggling career and home life. Here's a post that I wrote about the study: The Perils of Majoring in Business.

5. Majoring in business could hurt your MBA chances.

Not having an undergrad business degree can actually help when applying to MBA programs. At some MBA programs less than 25% of their students possess undergrad business degrees. One study documented that business undergrads actually performed worse in MBA programs than non-business majors.

6. You don't need a business degree to work in business.

You're kidding yourself if you think a business degree gives you the skills to work in the corporate world.

A employer survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that workplaces most value these three skills that you are usually more likely to find with a liberal arts eduction:
  • Communication skills.
  • Analytic skills.
  • Teamwork skills.
What's more, a survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 89% of surveyed employees said they want college students to pursue a liberal arts education.

7. You can make more money with an economics degree.

Economics majors earn more.

On PayScale's list of the highest paying college majors, economics came in No. 10. Engineering majors dominated the rest of the top-paying degrees. Economics is one of the liberal arts so you are more likely to learn how to write and think in college, which is what employers covet in their workers.

Illustrious econ majors include Warren Buffettt, Steve Ballmer, Ted Turner, Steve Fossett, Henry Kravis, Diane von Furstenberg, Esther Dyson, Bill Belichick and Mick Jagger

8. Your parents want you to major in business.

Don't be a wuss and major in business because your parents are nagging you. If you're pressured into majoring in business or any other major, studies show that you'll be less likely to succeed professionally AND financially.

More on CBS MoneyWatch:

25 Colleges With the Worst Professors
25 Colleges With the Best Professors
10 Hottest Careers in America
Paying For College With a Duffle Bag Stuffed With Cash
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.
Business major image by epicharmus. CC 2.0.

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