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Almost one-quarter of the student body at Penn is pursuing a business or economics major.

Although college admissions experts are saying that business and economics are in high demand because they are considered disciplines that will help students land jobs, it is uncertain whether this trend holds true for Penn.

Business has always been a popular area of study at Penn, with 23 percent of the student body majoring in it, followed by social sciences with 16 percent and engineering with 9 percent, according to

College Confidential Senior Advisor Sally Rubenstone agreed that the struggling economy is the “key catalyst that has prompted more students” in choosing their major. Rubenstone said students who choose to study business or economics believe their degree “will boost their job prospects after graduation more than a major in French literature or philosophy might.”

On the other hand, Educational Consultant and Admissions Strategist Steven Goodman said the notion of students preferring business to other majors for its being practical is true, though “not the whole story.”

“It’s not an either-or situation — it’s not like you have to study poetry or finance,” he said. “There are things between poetry and finance, and you can do both.”

He explained that “good schools not only help students prepare for their careers but to think broadly for what might be their careers 20 years down the road.”

Wharton School and College of Arts and Sciences freshman Jessica Ng agreed with Goodman, seeing the study of business as an opportunity that is more than just about making money.

“Understanding the basics of economics and business” helps her gain better knowledge of issues such as developing trade agreements and aiding corporations to invest in lesser-developed countries. Ultimately, she said, “business makes the world go around.”

Furthermore, students who choose not to pursue a degree in business or a related field do not need to completely negate the idea of work in the financial sector.

Numbers published by Career Services show that in 2008, 55 percent of students from the School of Engineering and Applied Science have a career in financial services and consulting.

“There are no Wharton-[specific] jobs,” Career Services Director Patricia Rose said. “You don’t have to be in Wharton to get a job in business.”

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