Undergrad Business Students Work Least, Learn Least?

April 28, 2011 by  
Filed under College Newswire

The NY Times lambasted undergraduate business majors in a major expose on what college students are actually learning.

Business majors spend less time preparing for class than do students in any other broad field, according to the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement: nearly half of seniors majoring in business say they spend fewer than 11 hours a week studying outside class. (NY Times 4/14/11)

With 20% of all undergrads majoring in business, this is no small concern.  We have been advising families for years against the undergraduate business major (except at a small handful of colleges with truly outstanding programs), due to the lack of rigor and skill building in the business major curriculum. To measure the failure of these programs, one can look at several statistics besides study time.

Business majors scored lowest of all majors on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a a national essay test that assesses students’ writing and reasoning skills.

Even at the most competitive strata of business programs, at schools like Duke, Harvard, Penn, over 40% of business majors report that they study less than 11 hours per week.

On the GMAT, the entrance exam for MBA programs, business majors scored lowest of all majors.

In a typical day, “I just play sports, maybe go to the gym. Eat. Probably drink a little bit. Just kind of goof around all day.” He says his grade-point average is 3.3. – Anonymous Business Major (NY Times 4/14/11)

If you are considering an undergraduate business major, you need to be absolutely certain that you will build the skills that employers and grad schools are looking for.  The business world knows that an undergrad business major is not valuable.  Do you?

If you are considering an eventual MBA, then on average you are better served with an undergraduate major in economics, political science, or one of the hard or applied sciences like biology, engineering, or computer science. MBA programs have been telling us for years that they can teach you everything you need to know about business. They would rather you have an alternative area of expertise that you can bring to the table.


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