Posted by: Louis Lavelle on March 11, 2010
If you’re the type to take advice from country and western songs, then you no doubt already know that it’s a big mistake to let your kids grow up to be cowboys. Now I’m beginning to wonder whether the same injunction holds true for business majors.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which surveys college and university career services offices nationwide, the highest-paid disciplines are not in business. In fact the top 10 are all in engineering, computer science, and information systems. Not a business discipline in sight.
How bad is it? Well, when Bloomberg BusinessWeek compiled its ranking of the top undergraduate business programs, we asked all 111 schools for the average graduate’s salary. It turned out to be $48,311, topping out at MIT Sloan (Sloan Undergraduate Business Profile), where the median starting salary was $62,000.
In the NACE survey, that was more or less the average for all bachelor’s degrees ($48,351)—suggesting that business undergrads, which for years enjoyed a significant pay premium over many other disciplines, no longer do.
And when it comes to the engineering disciplines, business is a clear also-ran. Here are the NACE numbers:
Petroleum Engineering: $86,220
Chemical Engineering: $65,142
Mining & Mineral Engineering: $64,552
Computer Science: $61,205
Computer Engineering: $60,879
Electrical/Electronics & Communications Engineering: $59,074
Mechanical Engineering: $58,392
Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering: $57,734
Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering: $57,231
Information Sciences & Systems: $54,038
Hmmm. Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be business majors....doesn't have quite the same ring. Now excuse me while I go study up on petroleum.