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March 01, 2010 2:51 PM The Decline of the Business Major

By Daniel Luzer

Apparently with the economy what it is now, undergraduates are not so interested in majoring in business anymore. From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader comes news that:

The percentage of freshmen planning on majoring in business fell from 16.8 percent in 2008 to 14.4 percent a year later.
It hasn’t been that low since 1974, survey researchers say.
Also from 2008 to 2009, the percentage of freshmen who listed their “probable career” as one in business fell to 12.1 percent - an all-time low for the 44-year-old survey.

This happened because, back when the economy was good, planning for a future in business or finance looked pretty compelling. Now, who wants to work at a firm like Lehman Brothers anymore?

The implosion of major New York firms doesn’t necessarily matter much in South Dakota, however. While the public’s perception of “business” is bad, there are still businesses to work for, even if they’re not major financial firms. According to the article:

The mistakes of Wall Street don’t have to play out on the Northern Plains, [said University of South Dakota freshmen Benjamin] Watzel. He has worked in a company that makes cabinets and could see his business studies taking him further in that endeavor. He also could see himself in bank management.

Just because one doesn’t major in business doesn’t mean one won’t eventually work for a business. Many American universities don’t even allow undergraduates to major in business. This might be a good thing. Maybe if students majored in economics they might understand how businesses actually work.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

Comments

  • slg on March 01, 2010 6:10 PM:

    Um, forgive me. Economics is the field that reveals how businesses actually work? Are you joking? There is just so much wrong with that, on the surface and down in the reasons why macroeconomics has made so little progress in three decades or why the theory of the firm is so poor.