You would be hard-pressed to find a business degree-seeker who has not thought about how much money they might be making after graduation. Sort of like how English students dream about the Pulitzer-winner they’re going to write.

With the fluctuations in the economy of the last five years, salaries for business degree-earners have had their ups and downs, as well. The good news for business graduates in 2013, however, is that starting salaries for business degree-earners are going up. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) most recent salary survey, average starting salaries for business graduates have risen from $50,633 in 2012 to $54,234 in 2013.

That’s a 7-percent increase in one year! And a huge reason for business degree-seekers to breathe a sigh of relief.

But even within the realm of business majors, average starting salaries vary widely, with some majors sitting among the best starting salaries and others scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel. If you’re thinking about getting a business degree, you probably want to know which is which, which is why we’ve slapped together the following list of the most and least lucrative business majors, according to 2013 starting salaries:

1. Information Systems

Breaking news to anyone who hasn’t been watching salaries through this whole recession thing: the technology sector is huge right now. So huge, in fact, that there aren’t enough candidates to fill all the tech jobs out there. And that’s why information systems grads sit comfortably atop this list.

Companies rely on fast, powerful computer networks, and the data they produce to stay competitive in very crowded marketplaces. Without information systems personnel and their precious skill sets, these networks break down and die. For these precious employees, and the promise that their systems will continue working as needed, companies are willing to pay top dollar.

2. Finance

After you get a competent person to take care of your computers, every business needs to find someone competent to take care of their money. Finance majors enjoy a comfortable starting salary that puts them in top ten of all average starting salaries.

3. Business Economics



Supply and demand. Price elasticity of demand. These economic models in hands of skilled business grads can help companies forecast their earnings, prepare for future developments, and better understand how their environment will affect the business. Since this isn’t exactly a skill you pick up on the street, employers will pay decent money for business graduates who know their economics.

4. Accounting

Bean counters, rejoice! The average starting salary for accounting majors went up 7 percent from $49,700 in 2012. It seems to mirror the shift that is happening to business degree-holders in general. With the economy gradually recovering, businesses are beginning to look to the future and rebuilding. And they need accountants to keep everything by the books.

5. Marketing

And the businesses need people to figure out how to sell their products or services. While not riding nearly as high as their other business major brethren, marketing majors have seen signs of life, as well, with a respectable 4.7-percent starting salary increase since 2012.

6. International Business

This one is a puzzler to us. International business starting salaries are more on par with fine arts and humanities majors than business. It could be that international business jobs are filled by employees from other countries with lower salary requirements. Just a guess, really.

I should point out that, as you might’ve noticed, Organizational Behavior/Human Resources and Supply Chain majors are conspicuously absent here. That’s mostly because we couldn’t find recent data or average starting salaries in these majors.

So if you’re trying to decide which business major to pursue, we hope this list has provided you with a snapshot of which ones will land you the strongest starting salary.

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