When you think of majoring in a business field, you may be envisioning future leadership in a key industry or kick-starting your own enterprise as an entrepreneur. You may see yourself influencing business decisions by searching for trends through big data or setting new standards through insightful personnel management. You might aim to improve the way local or national government works by investigating and enacting public policy. Perhaps you will expand your reach by engaging in international relations or by joining a think tank.
Cornell prepares you for these careers through two approaches to studying business and the economy. The first approach goes wide. In both the broad economics and business major (ECB) and in the business management track (BMM), students uncover the logic of markets and see their applications across a wide range of business settings. ECB students discover how markets work. When do markets fail? What are the triggers that jolt the global economy and the balance sheets of individual businesses? BMM students explore the management of people, information, and financial assets.
The second approach offers specialized paths to career readiness. Cornell’s Finance, Business Analytics, Personnel Management, and Actuarial Science tracks prepare students for functional roles within organizations, both for-profit and non-profit. You will learn how to develop dashboards of key performance indicators, manage financial risk, and evaluate business strategies. You won’t do this alone, but in close collaboration with other students, faculty and staff, and business partners. Our distinctive business and management offerings prepare you for a professional future.
When you pursue a business major at Cornell you will complete a common set of core courses in economics, accounting, and statistics. From there you will choose from one of three concentrations:
- Business analytics
- Actuarial science
You can explore business courses throughout your first year at Cornell, and then start down a pre-professional path early into your second year.
Developing business leaders for the 21st century
Modern businesses require leaders with a range of skills, a broad worldview, and the ability to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities. Rooted in the liberal arts and taking advantage of Cornell's One Course At A Time curriculum, you will develop skills and experiences that are essential for your first job, and that prepares you for greater responsibility as your career thrives.
In Cornell’s business program, you will:
- Learn multiple ways of framing problems, not just bottom-line calculations.
- Develop strong writing, teamwork, and presentation skills in small classrooms.
- Become a responsible decision-maker, with a complex understanding of the global community.
- Become career-ready in emerging and high-demand business fields, while gaining solid preparation for nationally recognized business certifications.
- Apply mathematical ideas to a range of social and business problems, frequently using real-world business cases or simulations.
Business major concentrations
The specialized business tracks are perfect for students wanting a deep dive into specific business functions. If you are intrigued by the movement of money and data within and across businesses, the business major is a great place to start your course of study. As you explore, you may find that you are drawn further into the budgeting and pricing area and focus on finance. Digging into the data behind consumer, supplier or investor behaviors may pull you into the business analytics track. An even deeper interest in numbers and risk analysis may lead to the study of actuarial science.
Degree options in business
- Business major: finance
- Business major: business analytics
- Business major: actuarial science
- Business minor
Students who pursue a business track find themselves in a variety of careers. According to a study by PayScale, the average mid-career salaries for these positions can be:
- Accountant, $49,172
- Actuary, $81,000
- Business operations manager,$71,053
- Financial manager, $69,496
- Financial analyst, $58,022
- Financial advisor, $57,676
- Compliance officer, $64,957
- Fundraiser, $48,480
- HR specialist, $48,026
- Loan officer, $44,619
- Logistician/supply chain analyst, $57,027
- Management analyst, $64,220
- Market research analyst, $50,679
- Medical and health services manager, $64,952
- Operations-research analyst, $99,054
- Statistician, $70,435
Mentoring and career preparation
Throughout your college career, your advisor will be your advocate. Your advisor will help you determine your ongoing course of study and evaluate your academic progress and options. Your advisor will also push you to engage with the resources of the Berry Career Institute. There you can receive personalized career guidance as well as find internships and job shadowing opportunities. The institute will also help you prepare for graduate school placement exams, interviews, and networking opportunities with alumni in your chosen field.
Benefits of One Course At A Time
Because of the distinctive block calendar, you have the opportunity to experience aspects of economic and business life that are outside the reach of most undergraduates. Textbooks come alive when you meet the people, visit the places, and directly observe the processes being studied. In addition to venturing off-campus for your studies, you'll get to meet business leaders, best-selling authors, and scholars in on-campus classes.