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8 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is it better to get a major in business field or applied math major?
Answered

I'm a sophomore who's interested in both business (entrepreneur/finance/econ) and math. However, I'm not sure which one will be better for my future. My dream is to start my own company in trading/investing or work for an investment company. I know investment companies like to hire people coming out of a business school major. But at the same time, I feel like applied math will let me understand more core knowledge and give me more choices in the future. Can someone please let me know the pros and cons? Thank you!

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Accepted Answer
8 months ago

I can't give a full answer to your question for pros and cons of each, but it seems like a business major would be best for you. If you want to start your own company or work in an investment company, understanding the business side of things will be extremely helpful and much more important than having a math major. Your business degree will also include business related math classes, such as statistics and calc 1 and 2. You can always do a math minor to show your understanding in other math courses and make you stand out a bit more. Or you could double major, if you're up for that workload.

As for having more choices in the future, a business degree will already give you many choices and job opportunities, probably more than a math degree.

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5 months ago[edited]

Oh, I see it is a difficult decision :) But if you are developing in the field of investing, I would really like to know your opinion on pitch decks. I am currently preparing a presentation for investors and looking for various materials. Yesterday I read this article https://masterbundles.com/how-to-create-the-powerpoint-presentation-pitching-as-an-art/ and personally I really liked this approach. I would like to ask you, if you were an investor, what would you most pay attention to during such a presentation?

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8 months ago

Hey @ulafu! Cool that you're asking the hard questions early!

I wouldn't worry too much about trying to solve for how to start a company by going to school and studying it as a subject. The unfortunate reality is that no academic setting is going to teach you the skillset you need to be a startup founder. Instead, if you're able to operate a small-scale business as an extracurricular activity while in HS, that would probably be the best training ground. But you will ultimately find that the challenges facing each business are extremely market-dependent, so if anything, being a good problem solver with steady endurance is what will give you the best chance at success (over time - it doesn't have to work out the first time, and statistically speaking, it won't).

As for what to study in college, there are several categories of "investment companies" you might be referring to. I'll assume you meant "investment banking" or "quantitative analysis" for now. If the former, then yes, a business major is probably more in line with what your job is going to be like, but honestly, I've seen I-banks recruit from all majors. It seems to matter more that you're well-disposed and willing to work really, really hard (and not ask too many questions about why you're working so hard ;) to be recruited into that field of work.

If, on the other hand, you meant the "quant" side of trading, then the people I've seen end up in that line of work are extremely talented mathematicians and even physicists. Like these are the people that do math olympiad in high school because BC Calculus tastes too much like Cheerios. If that describes you and you love math, then I say lean into that. You might find that not many people with a strong math background become entrepreneurs, and oftentimes, it is at the intersections of our unique interests and abilities that we find our niches.

(Source: started a company, went to a college where many of my classmates went into finance)

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