The Business Economics Major

If you wish you had known more before this economic recession hit and you find yourself brainstorming ways out of this mess, then perhaps pursing a Business Economics major is for you! At an economics college, you'll learn about many aspects of business, management, finance, marketing and corporate planning, in addition to the money management issues of today. The majority of people working in applied economics hold positions as forecasters, analysts, market researchers, government workers and client support personnel.

As you may have heard, the choice of school and the pursuit of a degree are extremely important in determining your success in economics. Just about every school offers macro economics and microeconomics courses, but to really get ahead, you'll want to get into a graduate school with the best department of Economics you can find. The best schools may offer more passionate teachers, better internship options, more extensive areas of study and the sort of prestige you'll need when looking to start your career in the competitive labor market.

When choosing classes from a school's department of Economics, the best advice is to take more math courses! It can be easy to fall behind in your studies if you aren't crystal clear on the statistics, calculus and mathematical concepts. When you were trying to get your bachelor's degree in economics, you were likely scanning the course options for "easy electives" and ways of pulling your GPA up. However, graduate schools care most about what hard classes you've taken and how well you did in them, rather than your GPA as a whole. Be sure you take real analysis, calculus and econometrics, as these classes will be vital to your understanding.

To get an undergrad degree in Business Economics, students attending an accredited economics university will need to take courses like macro economics, microeconomics, financial accounting and reporting, calculus, economics statistics, econometrics, money/banking/credit, business writing, the stock market, labor economics, monetary economics, international trade theory, law and economics, industrial organization, economics and business strategy, organizational psychology, formal organizations and politics and the economy.

The average starting salary for economists is $38,000 for a bachelor's degree, $48,000 for a master's and $70,000 for a PhD, according to a 2002 National Association of Business Economics survey. The median income for the economics major is higher than any other major, experts say. Economics research also suggests that economics majors earn 20% more than business administration majors, 19% more than accounting majors, 18% more than marketing majors and 15% more than finance majors. When a potential employer sees this major on a resume, he or she immediately understands that you have a solid foundation of math, politics, business and economic theory. Your degree also shows that you have the capacity to process complex subjects and problem solve, which is valuable in any field.

According to US News & World Report, Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts is the top-rated school for Business Economics. The second-best university in this field is Stanford in California and Northwestern University in Illinois. After the top-three, other economics college options include the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) in Philadelphia, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) in Cambridge, the University of Chicago, UC-Berkeley in California, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, Columbia University in New York City and Yale University in Connecticut. It's highly recommended that individuals looking to remain competitive in their field pursue advanced education with Master's or PhD's.

Unlike undergrad, the department of Economics in grad schools looks to cultivate the best and brightest talent. Most students are granted a fellowship, assistantship, grant, tuition remission or monthly stipend to cover the cost of the program and living expenses. Be aware that you'll be required to do a lot of dirty work for your money, like grading, teaching, lecturing, leading weekly section meetings, researching and writing. If a lot of students are admitted, then you may still need to pay or seek NSF grants on your own. The good news is that, after all their hard work, 99% of graduate students get placed into applied economics positions right out of grad school.