Ask a liberal arts major what he or she plans to do after college and you won’t hear “I’m going to become a captain of industry.” That means business leadership is left to those who are steeped in the hard analytics, planning, performing and measuring outcomes in financial terms, serving economic outcomes. But there’s more to business leadership than that, much more.
This is a website for liberal arts students, faculty, and university leadership aimed at bridging the gap between the liberal arts and business. Humanities and social sciences students are exceptionally qualified for careers in business. Business managers are desperate for the things liberal arts students do well–communicate, analyze, manage qualitative information, think systemically, cultural competence, see things from others’ perspective. They’re desperate for these abilities because they’re not hiring them, and they’re not hiring them because they don’t know where to look.
That’s why most managers are constantly wringing their hands about their employees’ shortcomings–like their inability to write, speak, live with ambiguity, size up an audience, or gauge where others “are coming from” (which is the heart of teamwork).
I worked in corporate technology management for 25+ years after starting out in life majoring in English in college. Now I’m a business communication consultant. I know that of I hadn’t majored in English, I’d never have made it in business or in management. It’s important that students understand what they have to offer, that they have job important, useful job skills–not just the ability to write (though that’s important) but also analytical skills, the ability to plan and organize information, cross-cultural awareness, the ability to “read” others (Emotional Intelligence), the ability to slog through ambiguity, and much more. These are highly prized abilities in business, and they’re the rich byproduct of a liberal arts education.