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Which major is better? Math, Finance or Accounting?

I love numbers . I don't know if I should pursue a major in Math, Finance or Accounting. #accounting #finance #business #math #major

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Molly’s Answer

There is no right answer here, my advice is to always study what interests you most! When you create a career out of your major/education, it's important that it be something you enjoy. All of these majors have different pros and cons and all of them could turn into wonderful careers that are enriching and exciting. I will give my advice on the question of finance vs. accounting though. My personal opinion is that an individual who begins their career in accounting can always switch to finance later on, but the reverse is not always true. Individuals with strong accounting foundations typically have opportunities in their careers to interact with the finance teams at their clients. Many individuals eventually make the switch from public accounting into "industry" meaning joining those finance-type teams. Accounting is a really great base of foundational knowledge and could set you up for a successful career in accounting, but also in consulting and finance roles down the line. Lastly, you could always consider a double major or a minor if you have multiple interests and cannot decide. Or you can pursue graduate school later on!
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Samuel
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Christine’s Answer

Hi! Whichever one you choose, it might be a good idea to pair your numbers-related major with a minor in Information Systems or something else related to technology. I work in HR operations at an accounting firm and technology is revolutionizing the way our accountants and consultants perform their work. Get a leg up on the competition by learning about automation and the digitization of work so you future proof your career with numbers! Best of luck!

Thank you comment icon Thanks, can't wait to put this advice into action! Samuel
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David’s Answer

As commented by Rachel, the path may depend on what area of business interests you. I am part of an insurance company Corporate Planning department whose the leaders have been Actuaries, Accountants and Financial Analysts. So one can get ultimately get to Finance leadership roles from any of these options, as long as you can learn the business, as Nuno points out.

Note that, depending upon your particular university, Actuarial Science may be a minor in a Math degree, a stand-alone major in that School, or a stand-alone major in the Business School, or none the above ("just" a Math degree). Successful actuaries have come from all of these options.

Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Samuel
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Jacklyn’s Answer

Hello Arely!

Great question! Choosing a major is a big decision and can feel overwhelming for many students! It is so important to consider all factors when choosing as it creates the path for the rest of your years in school and shapes your professional career.

I do not believe that any of the majors you are considering are better or worse than each other on their own. But, you have to really think deeply about what you want your career to be after school!!

My advice would be to get connected with Student Professional Organizations on your campus (each major should have a few groups to get plugged into) While you're at the meetings, chat with the upperclassmen already pursuing each major and learn about their career plans. Occasionally, student professional organizations will also bring in companies that are recruiting their students. You could attend information sessions about these companies to learn more about the type of work you can do with each major that way as well.

Once you gather that information you will have a clearer picture of each major and hopefully be able to choose the one is best for you and your career goals!!

Best of luck!
Jackie Molz
PwC TID Recruiter
Austin, TX

Jacklyn recommends the following next steps:

Get connected with Student Professional Organizations on you campu
Ask questions about potential careers opportunities with each major (to upperclassmen and recruiters)
Thank you comment icon I am really grateful you took the time to answer this question. Samuel
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Allison’s Answer

Accounting is a great foundation for your career. It's easy to jump to other opportunities (within Math and Finance) if you have an Accounting background to start with.

Accounting PwC PwCisGo
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. Samuel
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Douglas’s Answer

My vote would be for Finance. I believe in finance, you will be a lot closer to the actual "money" and the closer you are to the "money" the more you will be in a position to make.

Good luck,

Thank you comment icon Thank you, Douglas for the advice. Samuel
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Richard’s Answer

The three things you've listed will restrict your career more and more. Accounting majors will be restricted to accounting careers, whereas finance gives you a much broader range. Neither of those fields, in general, will involve more than simple arithmetic. If you love numbers, math is the way to go; it will also open up more quantitatively oriented finance careers
Thank you comment icon I am really grateful you took the time to answer this question. Samuel
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Alnaya’s Answer

Hi! I majored in Accounting (recent college grad!) and like numbers too. Honestly, I think it depends on your preference and what you want to do after college. I was in a similar position in high school. I went back and forth between business, finance, and accounting. I believe either major will be fine. Despite my accounting degree, I decided to not go the traditional accounting route. My role is Finance Systems Analyst, but it is essential to have an accounting background. My suggestion is to talk with professors when you visit colleges. A piece of advice is to network. I connected with multiple individuals to receive insight on their careers.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Samuel
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Lisa’s Answer

Depends on what your career goals are - if you would like to be in a purely accounting role, accounting is the right answer. If your interests lie more broadly in finance, and you envision a role in something like business development, investing, etc. finance is probably the better option. Math is probably not great for a business role, but better for some kind of engineering or science career, or maybe teaching.
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Emily’s Answer

Hello!

I was in a similar situation as you when I was deciding what I wanted to major in. I loved math so I chose accounting and finance. With accounting it has allowed me to use the things I loved in math and then finance is a way to build on my accounting knowledge. Accounting will provide you with a great base and allow you to go many different directions in your career path.
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Nicholas’s Answer

Math is the formal study of patterns. And pattern recognition is the key to all problem solving. It's a great foundational skill to have. As a math major myself, I can say you'll be well-equipped in life with a math degree no matter what field you decide to launch your career. It will offer you critical thinking and creativity in problem solving, all because you're well adept at seeing patterns.

Accounting is the formal language of business. Having it will make you an attractive candidate for jobs, especially entry level. The big four routinely hires a large class of entry level every year, and they're looking for (in most case) people with accounting major. To make partners at most of the consulting/accounting firms like the big four requires you to have a CPA.

Finance (in my opinion), at least at the undergraduate level is too broad and offers little to differentiate yourself against other candidates. You're better off majoring in math or accounting. Or, why not both?
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Richard’s Answer

Hi Arely,

I too love numbers and ended up with a degree in accounting as I assumed that this was a natural career path. If i had my time over, I would have gone a broader finance route/business major to use my passion for numbers to help businesses grow, rather than just sit in the background and pump out information.

I agree with most of the other answers that are given. There is no 1 major that is better than the others. Rather, I would ask yourself what do you want to do with the numbers?

Do you want to use your love for numbers to drive analysis?
Do you want to interact with other stakeholders? or run fairly solo and leave the stakeholder mgmt to someonelse?

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Nuno’s Answer

Suggest finance since it will give you a solid foundation for you to grow your career in business. Check how many CFO's become CEO's...I myself did business administration, had math, accounting and finance and started my career as an auditor. Knowing the connect dots, understanding company's financials is a fundamental capability and skill you will be able to leverage in your future career

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Julie’s Answer

Hi Arely,

It depends on your career goals. I did my first degree in Mathematics and loved the coursework. After working in nonprofit financial administration I decided to go back to school and earned a BBA in Financial Accounting. Both career paths allowed me to use analytical and problem solving skills and work with data manipulation. Accounting offers a more defined career path where mathematics will require graduate coursework to advance your career.
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Laurie’s Answer

It really depends on what type of job you want in the future. If you want to be in business I would recommend accounting. Once you achieve basic accounting skills you will have many opportunities in finance and other business areas. My recommendation is to obtain an accounting degree, work in public accounting and then move into the area you are most interested in. Good luck!
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Michael’s Answer

I would recommend Finance or Accounting. They are more diverse and can be much more relatable to real life. Math majors study advanced calculus and study very complex mathematics that are not as useful in real life. You can use the knowledge you gain as a Finance or Accounting major in your real life as well as other business opportunities once you graduate.

Good luck in your future!
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