Career Tracks

Career Tracks

 “What can I do with a major in business economics?” is one of the most popular questions we hear from students. And the answer — practically anything and everything. Yes, it’s true. Your career options as a business economics major are endless.

One of the reasons that business economics majors can pursue almost any career is because of the skills gained through the required coursework. As a business economics major you should:

  • Be able to analytically and critically solve complex problems and make decisions.
  • Be skilled at finding, organizing, and interpreting data.
  • Be proficient at linking national and international economic issues to business.
  • Be adept at presenting ideas in written documents, oral presentations, and interpersonal interactions.

To help you understand your options and define your career goals, we’ve provided a list of tracks that business economics majors typically pursue. For each track we have included information on relevant Penn State Behrend courses we believe will be beneficial for you to complete. Recommendations for other tracks may be obtained from your adviser.

Keep in mind that this is a guide only. You are not required to take all courses listed and it is important to work with your academic adviser each semester to make sure you are completing all requirements for the major.

Each section below (where appropriate) provides a list of sample job titles to look for as you search for an internship or your first professional position.

Economics of the Banking and Financial Sector

Sample Job Titles

  • Asset Manager
  • Bank Officer
  • Business Analyst
  • Commodities Broker
  • Consultant
  • Cost Estimator
  • Credit Analyst
  • Economic Analyst
  • Equity Trader
  • Hedge Fund Administrator
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Planner
  • Foreign Exchange Trader
  • Investment Banker
  • Management Consultant
  • Management Trainee
  • Operations Analyst
  • Sales Representative
  • Securities Analyst
  • Stock Broker
  • Trading Assistant
  • Trust Officer

Students who want a career in the financial sector often assume majoring in finance is the logical choice. For some this is true, but for others a degree in business economics may be a better option. In order to make a well-informed decision, it is important to understand the difference between these two fields of study. 

Economics is the study of how individuals and groups make decisions with limited (scarce) resources as to best satisfy their wants, needs, and desires. A study of economics includes all aspects of a country’s economy, such as how a country uses its resources, how much time laborers devote to work and leisure, the outcome of investing in industries or financial products, the effect of taxes on a population, and why businesses succeed or fail. Finance is a subset of economics. Finance focuses on the management of assets and money. The three general areas of financial study are business finance, public finance, and personal finance. Each of these areas considers the concepts of money, time, and risk.

Although both majors incorporate a set of practical tools that can be applied in the business world, business economics provides students with a broader, “bigger picture” set of skills with which to analyze and better understand the world around them. Since both theory and practical application are a part of the business economics curriculum, students who earn a degree in this field are well prepared to use their analytical and critical thinking skills (which are highly valued and well rewarded in the financial sector) to solve problems. Business economics graduates have the reputation of being prepared to tackle a wider range of responsibilities due to their training and therefore tend to have a wider set of career options overall in both the financial and government sectors upon graduation. For example, individuals with economic training can find employment and are highly sought after in well-known government agencies such as the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Committee, the Treasury Department and global entities such as the World Bank.

If you are considering a career in banking specifically, business economics is also a great choice because it provides you with a solid understanding of the primary issues and tools in the management and regulation of financial institutions.

Take Four (electives in the major)

  • ECON 351 Money and Banking
  • ECON 481 Business Forecasting Techniques
  • ECON 442 Managerial Economics
  • ECON 315 Labor Economics

Take Seven Supporting Electives

  • FIN 330 Personal Financial Planning
  • FIN 409 Real Estate Finance and Investment
  • FIN 420 Investment & Portfolio Analysis
  • FIN 427 Derivative Securities
  • FIN 430 Estate Planning
  • FIN 450 Retirement Planning
  • FIN 451 Intermediate Financial Management
  • FIN 461 Portfolio Management and Analysis
  • FIN 471 International Finance
  • ACCT 310 Federal Taxation I

Also consider a concurrent major in Finance or a certificate program.

For those interested in earning the Financial Planning Certificate, the following Finance and Accounting courses listed above can be used towards earning this certificate: FIN 330, FIN 420, FIN 430, FIN 450, FIN 491, and ACCT 310. 

For those interested in earning the Financial Risk Management Certificate, the following Finance courses listed above can be used towards earning this certificate: FIN 420, FIN 427, and FIN 461. 

Economics of Data

Sample Job Titles

  • Actuary
  • Budget Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Business Intelligence
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Manager
  • Data Scientist
  • Health Informatics
  • Information Manager
  • Investment Banker
  • Market Analyst
  • Market Researcher
  • Operations Research Analysts
  • Programmer
  • Security Analyst

Data analysis is the process of finding the right data to answer your question, understanding the processes underlying the data, discovering the relevant patterns in the data, and then communicating your results to have the largest impact. Data analytics is growing rapidly in both small and large organizations across the globe. Whether public or private, profit or nonprofit, organizations are using analytics to improve decision making. Business leaders realize that leveraging new technologies and better utilizing available data can lead to more effective strategies, better ways to service their customers and ultimately higher profits. Unfortunately in many cases, the technology has evolved faster than the workforce skills needed to effectively utilize data analytics. As a result, a strong demand for professionals with analytic skills has developed and continues to grow. A degree in business economics will provide you with the tools you need to work with data in a variety of fields. 

Take Four (electives in the major)

  • ECON 481 Business Forecasting Techniques
  • ECON 315 Labor Economics
  • ECON 442 Managerial Economics
  • ECON 460 Sports Economics

Take Seven Supporting Electives

  • MIS 336 Database Management Systems
  • MIS 404 Introduction to ERP and Business Processes
  • MIS 445 Business Intelligence
  • MKTG 342 Marketing Research
  • ACCTG 312 Accounting Technology Lab
  • FIN 427 Derivative Securities
  • STAT 301 Statistical Analysis I
  • STAT 401 Experimental Methods
  • STAT 414 Introduction to Probability Theory
  • STAT 462 Applied Regression Analysis
  • GEOG 363 Geographic Information Systems
  • CMPSC 203 Introduction to Spreadsheets and Databases

Also consider a concurrent major or minor in Statistics and/or an Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics Certificate.

For those interested in earning the Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics Certificate, the following courses listed above can be used towards earning this certificate: ECON 481, FIN 427, STAT 301, STAT 414, STAT 401, and STAT 462. 

Economics of Globalization

Sample Job Titles

  • Export Credit Insurance Specialist
  • Export Marketing Representative
  • Export Sales Representative
  • Market Research Analyst
  • International Sales
  • International Trade Specialist
  • International Business Development Manager
  • Shipping/Transport Clerk
  • Trade Finance Specialist

We live in an increasingly globalized (and hence interdependent) world in which economic events happening halfway around the globe are as likely to affect us as economic events happening in the next state. Therefore, no future business leader can hope to succeed without a solid grasp of the fundamental forces that affect the operation of the international trade and monetary system, as well as how that international trade and monetary system affects their individual organization.

The international trade sector includes many different organizations engaged in a wide range of trade-related activities. These organizations are all potential employers. A career in international trade could involve working for producers and distributors, trade service providers, trade assistance providers or trade regulators.

Take Four (electives in the major)

  • ECON 315 Labor Economics
  • ECON 351 Money and Banking
  • ECON 442 Managerial Economics
  • ECON 481 Business Forecasting Techniques
  • ECON 497 Law and Economic

Take Seven Supporting Electives

  • MKTG 445 Global Marketing
  • MGMT 461 International Management
  • FIN 471 International Finance
  • HIST 175 The History of Modern East Asia
  • HIST 181 Introduction to the Middle East
  • HIST 473 The Contemporary Middle East
  • PL SC 003 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • PL SC 020 Comparative Politics – Western Europe
  • PL SC 022 Politics of the Developing Areas
  • PL SC 428 Gender and Politics
  • PL SC 442 American Foreign Policy
  • Select 12 credits in a foreign language and culture. Options include French (FR), German (GER) or Spanish (SPAN).
  • PL SC 014 International Relations
  • PL SC 487 International Law and Organizations

Also consider a concurrent major in International Business.