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 was in corporate technology management for 20+ years and am now a business communication consultant. I majored in English in college. It’s the secret to my success in both careers. But why should it be a secret? Frankly, if I hadn’t majored in English, I’d never have made it in management. Let’s help students understand what they have to offer. Let’s make sure faculty understand that what they’re teaching is essential to leadership. Let’s get university leadership engaged to make real strides here.
Susan de la Vergne