Economics or Finance Major?

I am a 27 year old undergrad student who still doesn’t know what to major in! I have it narrowed down to Economics or Finance. I am declared an Econ major (Business Administration concentration), but I believe that Finance (concentration in Commercial Bank Mgmt and Financial Institutions) may be more attractive to employers. I am a Junior, so this decision must be made before I register for classes next week. I do have the option of minoring in Economics, which I plan to do if I major in Finance.

Are there any Economics or Finance majors out there who can offer personal experiences with employment or general advice?
A concern with Economics I have is that this major is perceived as a degree leading to graduate studies. It took me a long time to decide on Economics and now I am having second thoughts. At my age, I suppose I should pick one at random and get the heck out!

Econ is more theory, and finance is more practice. I would view them as more or less interchangeable, but I also don’t look at candidates for business-oriented positions.

If I were in your boat, I’d probably choose the finance major with the minor in econ, just cause that would allow me to study both subjects–as closely related as they are, that has to lead to new insights.

Do you have the option of majoring in econ and minoring in finance?

My qualification is a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales with a double major in Economics and Finance.

In short, what do you want to do with it? My economics subjects qualified me pretty exclusively for a career in either analysis, financial modelling or academia. My financial subjects qualified me for all sorts of things that relied on me having job experience and contacts that I didn’t have - oh, or financial analysis.

Economics was much more theoretical and mathematical. It probably had far less real-world application, but in my current job (corporate copping) it’s more important to have a thorough grounding in economic markets than to know how to price an equity option, which I can do by grabbing a book and plugging the formula into Excel.

From experience, I assure you that finance will definitely be more practical from an employment standpoint unless you have your eye on very specific goals where economics would help you.

slai I had a similar question a while back. Here’s the link

It’s been said before many times in different threads, but, major in what you like the most. A good GPA is more important than the major. IMHO.

Major in Accounting. Given the current climate (i.e. scandals about accounting treatment) I would guess that would be a good choice.
I’m biased, of course! Don’t forget to take as many liberal arts classes as you can - the experience of reading/writing will pay off in the business world.

Good luck to you!

From an employment point of view Finance may be more useful than Economics.

However the financial sector has taken a hit the last few years and a number of the Finance majors I know lost their jobs, while I as an Economics major am still employed.

ccwaterback has a point. Go with what you like the most.

MBA in Corporate Finance checking in here - Definitely major in finance if you want to go into the business world. Major in Econ if you want to teach. YMMV

What about grad work in either field? How does that change things, or does it simply augment the differences?

I worked for two major investment banks in Manhattan before going on to a hedge fund and there is zero doubt that an economics major is preferred to a finance major. Better still is an English major. People in the world of finance are least interested in those with a degree in finance unless it’s an MBA. Economics is a social science and will exercise your capacity for abstract thought and analysis. Finance is nothing but common fricking sense. I was a finance major and it is a complete waste of a major. I should add that this really applies for the high end jobs. If you’re looking to become an accountant at the local Staples then you probably want to go finance. If you want to get a job on Wall Street then major in Econ and just take a course in Money and Banking.

What I should have said is that if you’re looking to get a job on Wall Street then major in any fricking thing that interests you. People hire interesting, intelligent people regardless of what they studied in college. Hell, I hired a woman who created her own major for WW2 Military History. To me that showed enthusiasm, initiative, and a willingness to think for herself. I know a lot of people who just toss resumes from finance majors in the shitpile because they tend to be people who are too concerned with being practical and marketable to think big.

I have to concur. How many ways can they teach NPV of cash flows?

Accounting, IMHO, is even worst. While it is valuable to know how to read financial statements, bean counting is one of the most dull and tedious professions I can imagine.
Basically it depends on you. Accounting and finance are fairly rigid disciplines. I found econ to be a lot more interesting than finance or accounting (kind of like…how Britney Spears is a lot smarter than Christina Aguilera or Jessica Simpson). Basically study what you want. Trust me, the last thing you want to do is prepare yourself for a career that you’ll hate by studying a subject you aren’t interested in.

Thanks to all who responded!! I love hearing different perspectives.

I went by my career center today and talked to a counselor. She pretty much told me that many companies will hire a Finance, Econ, or Business major. Anything specialized like Accounting would, of course, require an Accounting major. The thought of studying Accounting does not put a smile on my face.

My aspirations do not include working on Wall Street, nor do I want to go into sales. It’s not that I am above sales, but I am not sure that I would be any good at it. This is the reason why I would choose the Commercial Banking route and not Financial Management. Am I off on this? Are Finance majors intended only to manage portfolios and sell stock?

Unfortunately, my school does not offer a minor in Finance. However, they do offer a Master in Econ with a concentration in Finance, which is something to think about.
At this point, I just need to get the BS degree.

I hope with was somewhat coherent!