The Wall Street Journal:

Someone’s college major may be a good predictor of whether he or she eventually becomes an entrepreneur.

A new working paper by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy follows the career choices of 1993 college graduates with bachelor’s degrees using data gathered by the U.S. Department of Education, and looks at four possible outcomes: self-employment, working for a for-profit business, working for a not-for-profit and working for the government (including the military).

Most of the Office of Advocacy’s analysis focuses on what the grads were doing in 2003, 10 years after getting their bachelor’s degree.

It finds those with degrees in social-science fields, such as psychology, English or political science, were most likely to go self-employed compared to those with other majors.

Grads with business, engineering, math and science degrees tended to work at for-profits, while those with education, health and biology degrees were likeliest to work for nonprofits.

Of the 7,050 grads analyzed, 690 — or 9.7% – were self-employed by 2003. And 53% worked for a for-profit firm, 19.4% for not-for-profits, and 17.9% for government and military.

Most of those who were self-employed in 2003 did not become self-employed right after graduation, however. Interviews conducted in 1997 showed that only about 20% of those who were self-employed in 2003 were self-employed in 1997.

Photo by CarbonNYC.

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