Executives Link Business Degree to Future Career Success

Diploma

Survey Shows
Shifting Views on Value of Various College Diplomas

If hindsight is
20/20, new students may want to heed the advice of their predecessors.
Thirty-nine percent of executives said if they were in college today, they would
choose a degree in business administration to best prepare for future success.
The other top responses were liberal arts (21%), accounting (14%) and computer
science (11%). This same question was asked in surveys in 1990 and 1996.
Although liberal arts was the most popular response in 1990, business
administration has claimed the top spot since 1996. The number of respondents
selecting accounting as the most desirable degree has consistently increased
over the years.

The national polls include responses from 150 senior executives
— including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments — with
the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. They were conducted by an independent
research firm and developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest
specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping
professionals.

Executives were asked, "If you were a college student today and
wanted to prepare for future business success, which one of the following would
you study?" Their responses:

2007

1996

1990

Business administration

39%

49%

28%

Liberal arts

21%

14%

29%

Accounting

14%

11%

8%

Computer science

11%

18%

26%

Law

4%

5%

5%

Other/Don’t know

11%

3%

4%

100%

100%

100%

"The only certainty in today’s business environment is change,"
said Max Messmer, Chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career
for Dummies
. "Degrees with a broader focus, such as business administration
and liberal arts, may be the most attractive as they typically provide a diverse
course of study and a focus on critical thinking, which can prepare people for
success in a variety of environments."

Messmer noted that with today’s accounting-related governance
mandates, accounting degrees also may provide a strong foundation. "For public
companies in particular, the need has risen for skilled accountants who can help
them maintain compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and related
legislation."
Source: Robert Half Financing and Accounting and
Accountemps

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