Sandra Long | , , , , , , , ,| By
I was an Anthropology major and have since spent my entire career thoroughly enjoying the world of business. For some reason I didn’t find the business classes in college as compelling as the social sciences. It didn’t matter because I loved actually being in business from day one.
Businesses really need people who can effectively communicate. They need problem solvers, leaders, team players, critical thinkers and people who can analyze information. All of these qualities are in sync with a Liberal Arts education. It doesn’t matter what your major is because you are developing these skills in all of your classes. It’s not WHAT you learn that counts as much as learning HOW to learn, analyze, lead and communicate.
Your job is to understand and communicate how your Liberal Arts skills are transferrable to the business world. You are the student who wrote a 15 page paper and then presented it to your European History class. You are the student who managed a cast of 35 in a theater production. You are the student who debated the ethics of energy policy sophomore year. With all that behind you, I am certain that you can communicate the value of your fabulous Liberal Arts education and how the skills transfer to business, government or non-profit work.
There is more that you should do. While you are in college, learn to apply your skills in other settings. This will put you in a great position when you graduate and are looking for your first entry level position. Find an internship, volunteer job or a student club that you will give you the opportunity to do meaningful work projects. Ideally you are able to find or create 3-4 such experiences during your college career.
Think about how fast the world is changing. Business leaders have to be able to find, analyze and act on information in real time. Your Liberal Arts education will serve you well. I love the idea of a broad cultural thinker who has successfully combined that big picture view with practical experience from an internship or other relevant work experience. A Philosophy major who has an internship with a customer experience group. An English major who works in advertising. A Sociology major who does market research for the summer. It is a delicious combination!
Develop your leadership skills as a Liberal Arts student. Find opportunities to step up as a leader now. You have the chance to develop your leadership skills at internships, student clubs, volunteer jobs, or study abroad. So here’s a formula for business success: A broad based Liberal Arts curriculum combined with work and leadership experiences.
What are your favorite Liberal Arts transferrable skills?