When it comes to choosing a college major, there’s no shortage of people offering advice. Kiplingersuggests that majoring in computer science is a best bet for students seeking a lucrative career. Bankrate makes the case for engineering. These and other STEM subjects routinely tops lists of highest-paying college majors. But many students who are hoping for solid job prospects after graduation and a successful career choose to major in business. In fact, it’s the most popular undergraduate major in the U.S., with 365,000 people earning business degrees in 2010-2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Studying business can be a way for students to gain both critical thinking and business-specific skills (like accounting or project management), which may make it easier for them to get a job after graduation. “Students who major in business are going to hit the ground running and feel a lot more comfortable a lot more quickly with what they’re doing,” Georgette Chapman Phillips, the vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, told the Wall Street Journal.
Still, a business major is hardly the only path to professional success. Many leaders of top companies didn’t study business or related subjects like accounting or finance at all as undergrads. We looked at the educational background of some 2014 Fortune 500 CEOs and found that it was more diverse than you might expect.