student girl writing on laptop

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.

Susan de la VergneSusan

7 thoughts on “About

  1. You have really motivated me to continue to pursue the degree I am passionate about. I was leaning towards majoring in business after seeing the statistics in wages for liberal arts but, this truly inspires me to stick to it

    Thank You.

  2. Susan, Thanks for your interesting website. You wouldn’t believe the background I have had after college which is very much like an independent needle between conservative and liberal worlds. I was an anthropology major at Hamilton College A.B.1980)who graduated during the “Yuck” Generation where our country simply had no leadership. I subsequently worked in a bank, graduated from Gordon-Conwell Seminary and after a search ended up at Borders Books in DC. My banking and seminary background was perfect for interacting with customers face to face.
    Now, 15 years later, I really enjoy substituting in Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools where I am respected for my Christian Faith but will probably not get a permanent position (I’ve tried having also excelled in education courses at the University of Virginia)however, because the people who control the purse strings simply don’t understand my background. Hamilton and Gordon-Conwell are both outstanding places where I learned the importance of being a critical thinker and adaptable person in a down economy. I am not in debt schoolwise but working on paying down a mortgage while doing temp work this summer before school starts in the fall. Would enjoy any feedback as what it will mean to constantly have to shift in a changing world no matter one’s age.

  3. Is there still contact info for susan mentioned above? I would love to ask her some detailed questions about career transitions into business with a liberal arts background and some business experience. I sent an email to the address above and it bounced back. Thank you.

  4. Thank you so much for this website! I have been put through the ringer about my resume and what a liberal arts degree even is. Every person I have interviewed with just tells me I don’t have the skill set they are looking for. But I do have those skills!!! You have helped me understand that I am valuable, and I need to market myself as such. I plan on reading your e-book and revamping my resume and cover letter. I wish more people felt as passionately about liberal arts degrees as you do!

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