When it comes to choosing majors, UB students are all business

Popularity of degree reflects students’ sensible approach to post-graduation goals

As students prepare to finish their studies at UB, about 15 percent of those graduates will be leaving with a degree in business. The major’s consistent popularity indicates the practical outlook many students are taking.

Even as engineering and biology, which follow business in the rankings of popular majors at UB, gained traction over the past 10 years, more undergraduate students major in business than any other field of study.

It’s a sign of sensible decision-making among students, who clearly want to graduate with a versatile degree that offers employment opportunities in a variety of fields.

Majoring in business is a popular choice nationwide, ranking first among all majors in terms of students enrolled.

Clearly, students at UB have the right idea. Studying business allows students to learn important concepts about economics and marketing, which can be applied in various workplace settings.

Not only do the skills acquired with a business degree prove relevant across multiple fields, but the lessons learned about advertising and promotion can also help students promote themselves as they head out on their job searches.

And for students without a particularly strong subset of skills or interests, like science or art, business is an accessible field to enter.

It’s also a boon that UB’s School of Management ranked 40 out of 680 programs nationwide, according to Forbes Magazine’s 2013 rankings, putting the business school in the country’s top 10 percent.

Students at UB are smart to enroll in a standout program that has name recognition, which can be a plus in job interviews – not to mention that the high ranking is of course indicative of a superior level of education being offered.

Of course, the popularity of the business major also comes with a cost – namely, the declining enrollment in the humanities.

Along with the rest of the nation, UB has seen reduced numbers in majors like English, history and philosophy, which are all down by at least 60 percent from 2004, as well as foreign language, which has 47 percent fewer majors, according to a January Buffalo News article.

Skills learned in humanities courses like communication, writing and critical thinking are also relevant in the workplace.

And as business and STEM degrees flourish, so too does the competition, as more and more students end up competing for the same jobs.

Although it’s wise for students to major in a field that boasts reassuring job placement numbers, it’s equally important that undergraduates use their time at UB to study a topic that they’re passionate about.

Making money is important, but a high-paying job can all too easily be marred by dissatisfaction.

Getting a job seems like the final hurdle for college graduates, but in reality, that hurdle is typically followed by a 40-hour-a-week commitment – that time should be spent pursuing an interest rooted in passion, not just financial need.

Ultimately, for students without a specific focus, it makes sense to enroll in whatever major seems most lucrative on the job market. But it would be a shame if students who are passionate about literature or history or other fields in the humanities turn away from their interests out of fear of unemployment.

The Editorial Board can be contacted at editorial@ubspectrum.com