Finance vs. Business – Which Degree Is Right For You?

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Business Majors' Salary vs Finance Majors’ Salary

Whether you’re an aspiring investment banker or entrepreneur, looking to work in banking, business, finance, or even for a nonprofit organization, a degree in either business or finance could prove useful to you. Both degrees are one of the most diverse college degrees as it opens a door to a not only financially rewarding, but also a lifetime career in all aspects of business.

While both degrees provide transferrable skills and expertise, how do you choose which degree is right for you? Here are some details about the two degrees to help you make an informed decision.

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What to expect

In the long run, either degree would guarantee you a prosperous and stable future, but one might be more suitable in terms of your interests and skills.

We can compare jobs in the finance industry by using the job of a financial analyst as a benchmark. Based on the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job offers a median pay of $81,410 per year while a business degree it is $65,000.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest estimates, graduates with either degree are qualified for jobs that pay well and are in high demand. To give you an overview of the salary of Business majors in comparison to the salary of Finance majors, below are some examples of the 2021 median pay (the most recent figures).

Business Administration

  • Sales Managers: $127,490
  • Advertising Sales Agents: $52,340
  • Management Analysts: $93,000
  • Purchasing Managers, Buyers, & Purchasing Agents: $75,410
  • Administrative Assistants: $93,000
  • Human Resource Specialists: $62,290


  • Investment Banking Analyst: +$120,000
  • Hedge Fund Manager: +$250,000
  • Private Equity Analyst: +$120,000
  • Chief Financial Officer: +$128,468
  • Personal Financial Planner / Advisor: $94,170
  • Financial Analyst: $81,410
  • Accountants and Auditors: $77,250
  • Commercial banking: $92, 983

Both business administration and finance degrees, especially advanced degrees, open doors to a multitude of job opportunities that offer above average salary.

What type of jobs can a student with a Business Administration degree find vs. a Finance Degree?

Business and Finance tremendously impact the present and future markets, products, and services. These two fields significantly affect economies, people, and entire nations, and they present a countless potential for future professionals looking to create long-lasting change. 

Business Degree

With a degree in Business Administration, commonly available jobs belong to areas that concern organizational behavior, human resources, or running operations, such as:

Sales Manager

Sales managers are responsible for setting the strategy behind sales activities and goals. They address customer issues, create budgets, track consumer preferences to determine where to concentrate sales efforts, and study sales data.

Advertising and Marketing Roles 

Roles may include Advertising Executives, Market Research Analyst, or Marketing Managers. These professionals develop strategies to increase interest in enterprises, brands, products, and services, as well as leads and sales. They often work with advertising teams and art directors in planning and executing marketing campaigns.

Management Analyst

Also known as management consultants, these professionals advise managers in different organizations regarding methods and techniques to increase revenue and reduce costs. They help increase efficiency by recommending new strategies, procedures, systems, and other organizational changes.

Procurement Officer

These officers are in charge of acquiring essential products for business operations. Crucial skills needed for this position are analytical, organizational, and negotiation skills. They must choose the best suppliers to meet the company’s needs and standards.

Office Administrator / Executive Assistants

These professionals handle the day-to-day administrative tasks of an entity. Being resourceful and great at multi-tasking are expected of them. Essential skills include intermediate to advanced use of databases, Microsoft software, etc. They must be able to plan office space use and handle unexpected office situations.

Human Resource Manager / Specialist 

Often known as HR Managers, they act as a bridge between the management and the employees in an organization. They are responsible from recruiting and interviewing to hiring and strategic planning. 

Business Developer / Business Consultant

They formulate and apply strategies to expand the business and improve its operations. They guide managers on how to boost income and reduce costs to make the business more profitable. In general, management consultants create a process for improvement, suggest new organizational structures or changes, and interact with managers to ensure that changes are effective.

Other jobs may include Loan Officer, Events Planner, Logistician, Real Estate Appraiser, Compensation and Benefits Analyst, Insurance Underwriter, and Labor Relations Specialist.

Finance Major

In contrast, students with a degree in Finance may consider jobs that delve deeper into global finance, risk governance, and financial aspects of a business.

Personal Financial Planner / Advisor

These professionals assist clients in managing their finances by providing advice and direction on financial investments, insurance, mortgages, savings, taxes, and other topics. They educate clients about money, investments, and savings strategies for retirement or college using their financial experience.

Investment Banking / Financial Analyst

Just like advisors, analysts assist individuals and companies in making investment decisions. Financial analysts, however, evaluate a client’s portfolio, which may consist of a single or a group of investments like stocks and bonds. Part of their tasks include compiling analytical reports for investors, corporate executives, and other stakeholders.

Accountants and Auditors

These roles involve managing financial transactions, auditing records, and preparing income tax returns for either individual clients or corporations. Depending on their clientele, they may provide services to small or large firms.

Commercial banking

A commercial banking career provides various financial services such as savings accounts, checking accounts, and multiple loan options. Many people start their careers as bank tellers and eventually step up to become branch managers. There is indeed a lot of room for growth in this field.

Hedge Fund Manager

Working with hedge funds provides a variety of careers ranging from financial traders, analysts, compliance officers, and portfolio managers.

Chief Financial Officer

CFOs are in charge of monitoring an entity’s earnings and deficits. They come with plans and strategies to keep the business profitable. This role requires excellent managerial skills in overseeing a team of employees.

You may also meet Finance graduates who are now Investor Relations associates, Budget Analysts, Actuaries, Credit Analysts, or those belonging to real estate companies.

What are the major differences in both degrees?

Business and finance degrees have many similarities. However, there are several distinctions to consider when comparing both degrees, including the courses required, potential job pathways, and salaries.

A business degree will equip you for a number of careers in marketing, management, sales, and human resources. This is because there is a larger emphasis on developing managerial, interpersonal, and customer service abilities. A finance degree is more focused on investments and the inner workings of financial institutions. It demands greater financial responsibility, and many roles are primarily concerned with money, investments, banking, and stocks.

If you want to gain a thorough understanding of business operations, marketing, and communication, you might consider pursuing a business degree. It will also equip you for a leadership job in industries such as marketing, information technology, economics, and others. If you intend to work in investment banking, private equity, or hedge funds, a finance degree could be the right choice. You’ll learn how to operate in the financial industry and work with people to provide helpful advice on investments, stocks and bonds, profitability, and other financial functions.

As one might think, career paths in business and finance degrees offer excellent pay and job security.

Whatever major you choose, will not necessarily bind you to a career in banking or business. If you want to make a better decision, consider enrolling in the Romero Mentoring Analyst Prep Program, which will help you develop skills including negotiating, computation, pitching, teamwork, and networking, all of which are highly desired by employers in many other industries.

About Romero Mentoring

Since 2016, Romero Mentoring investment banking training programs have been delivering career mentoring to job seekers, professionals, and college students pursuing careers in finance. We’ve helped over 500 students start their careers on Wall Street through our Analyst Prep and Associate Investment Banking Training Programs. Our graduates work at top-bulge bracket banks and consulting firms, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, McKinsey, and many more.


About the Author

Romero Mentoring

Romero Mentoring provides investment banking training and internship programs for students and professionals. Our programs have helped hundreds of students become highly skilled professionals through personal one-on-one mentoring, advanced technical training, and internship experience not found anywhere else.