Business Majors Feel Unloved & Uninspired

Disengaged 2

And these numbers don’t just apply to bachelor’s degree holders, with business majors who completed postgraduate studies also reporting lower work and personal satisfaction than all other majors who went on for advanced study according to Gallup-Purdue.

“Previous Gallup research has found that emotional support in college is associated with a higher likelihood of feeling engaged at work,” Dugan and Kafka write. “Gallup has also found that undergraduate business majors rank below all others in having a strong interest in the work they do. This implies that the comparatively low degree of emotional support business undergraduates appear to receive in school has lasting consequences, as Gallup has established that there are differences in well-being and employee engagement among alumni who have had these experiences.”

However, this may also be a proverbial chicken-or-the-egg argument, Dugan and Kafka concede, noting that the differences in support between disciplines could stem from either the schools themselves “or because students who elect to major in certain fields are more or less prone to seek out supportive relationships.”

Bad Teacher


When Gallup-Purdue’s numbers are broken down individually, they are even more disturbing. Just 51% of business majors overall – and 63% of recent business graduates – strongly agreed that they had a professor who made them excited about learning. That compares to 63% of all majors and 71% of recent graduates respectively (with 80% of recent arts and humanities graduates strongly agreeing with this premise). In fact, Dugan and Kafka found that professors are more inspiring over the past 14 years, though this could stem from recent graduates being “more likely to recall these individual details of their higher education.”

More concerning is the lack of mentoring for business graduates, with Gallup-Purdue finding that 14% of business majors overall – and 18% among recent business graduates – strongly agreed with having a strong mentor as an undergrad. That’s nearly half the total for arts and humanities graduates (with all majors coming in at 22% and new grads at 27%). Bottom line: Business majors may actually be at a disadvantage in their home turf – business – in receiving the references and guidance needed to land a job and perform well in it.

Finally, business graduates scored the lowest in strongly agreeing that professors and administrators cared for them. Just 21% felt this way. That’s far lower than arts and humanities graduates (32%) and all majors overall (27%). That said, recent business graduates actually score much higher on this rubric, with 27% strongly agreeing here (one point higher than recent science and engineering graduates).

Strikingly, just 31% of recent graduates – less than a third – believed that professors and administrators cared for them. With schools increasingly competing with each other for students, this might be a good place for schools to start differentiating themselves.

So go on, hug a business major. Who knows, they may end up being your boss someday.