Monday, June 13, 2005

Advice to future business leaders: study philosophy?

Articles like this one promoting a liberal arts education for those who want to succeed in business appear every now and then. Do liberal arts courses really develop the habits of mind needed by CEOs and other leaders, or do people who become CEOs have these habits, inclinations, and values already and therefore are more likely to be interested in and take liberal arts courses? Sounds like a job for freakonomics.

CareerJournal | Senior Executives -- Salary Data and Hiring Trends: "'I advise students all the time, 'You've got to have something you can do for a company now. That's what gets you in the door. But if you want to succeed long term, you've got to have a broader range of skills and problem-solving abilities,'' says Robert Kelley, an adjunct management professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

'Companies are going to start to look at the fundamental value set of an individual and their basic education. Did they study philosophy and culture and history rather than just accounting, finance and engineering? Fast-forward 20 or 30 years, we're going to find [business leaders] who maybe majored in philosophy rather than business.'"


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