The Allure Of The Finance Major: The Pay & Prestige of Wall Street

FINANCE IS AMONG THE TOP FIVE PAID MAJORS OUT OF COLLEGE

It’s no wonder that so many students are interested in getting a solid background in finance before embarking on their careers. Finance students are among the top-five paid majors out of college, earning an average starting salary of $53,964, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employer’s 2013 Salary Survey. Even those not interested in the typical Wall Street careers have bright prospects ahead. For example, the employment of financial analysts is expected to increase 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to a January report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With finance so popular and classroom space so limited,  schools are becoming more selective about who they allow to sign up for the finance major., closely analyzing the motives and career goals of prospective students. At the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, the chair of the finance department, Richard Sias, and a representative from the university go through all of the applications to the finance program individually each semester, cutting off about 20 students due to space constraints, he says. The school has the capacity to let 108 students into the program a semester. “That is it. We literally don’t have the space or the manpower to let in more students,” Sias says.

The end result? Some  students end up with their second- or third-choice major, or try to change their major later on in their college careers.

“I’d rather have a major that’s too popular than not popular enough,” Sias said “But who wants to tell a student that they can’t do their first-choice major. That’s no fun either.”

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