The Naveen Jindal School of Management is launching a new business economics concentration to answer the growing demand for graduates with analytical and applied business skills in a variety of business fields including finance, banking, planning and management.
The school’s newest concentration within the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree program, the business economics concentration will be available in fall 2016. The concentration is designed for students who enjoy analyzing how systems work and is excellent preparation for students planning to go to graduate school, according to Dr. Peter Lewin, finance and managerial economics professor and director of the business economics concentration.
“To be a knowledgeable actor in the business world and in the world in general, a basic understanding of economics is crucial,” Lewin said. “But an economics background is also a wonderful grounding for law school as well as students going on to get their MBA and other degrees—even engineering. In terms of the business subjects such as finance and accounting, economics is way up there, if not right at the top.”
Lewin and three other professors in the Jindal School’s Finance and Managerial Economics Area began exploring career prospects and the academic performances of students’ postgraduate studies and learned that not only do students with an economic preparation perform better in graduate school, they also earn bigger paychecks, Lewin said.
The Wall Street Journal recently published data from a study conducted by PayScale, Inc., an online salary, benefits and compensation information company, indicating that economics graduates’ salaries outpace salaries from all other disciplines, with the exception of engineering, and are even higher as the graduates advance in their careers. The research shows that economics majors earn a median salary of $50,100 as they enter the job market, compared to $49,200 for management information systems majors, $47,900 for finance majors and $46,000 for accounting majors. Economics majors’ median mid-career salary jumps to $98,600 while management information systems, finance and accounting median mid-career salaries move to $82,300, $88,300 and $77,100, respectively, according to the study.
All Jindal School undergraduates in all degree programs are required to take introductory micro- and macroeconomics, but a business economics concentration requires additional coursework in micro- and macroeconomics.
To pursue a concentration in business economics, students must take 15 credit hours in the following core courses: ECON 3310 (Intermediate Microeconomic Theory), ECON 3311 (Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory), MECO 4342 (Financial and Business Negotiation Analysis), MECO 4351 (Industrial Organization and Corporate Strategy) and MECO 4352 (Applied Econometrics and Time Series Analysis). In addition, business economics students must select nine semester credit hours in any upper division business courses.
“Businesses these days are looking for students who not only have technical proficiency in the various disciplines like operations research, finance, behavioral management and marketing, but also are able to engage in critical thinking and independent and bold decision making, and economics provides those critical thinking skills and also a framework for conceptual decision-making,” Lewin said.