Why majoring in humanities is good for a career in business

Why majoring in the humanities can best prepare students for the business world.

As the executive director of the Maryland Humanities Council, an educational nonprofit dedicated to lifelong learning, I was pleased to read Nancy Grasmick's commentary ("An inextricable bond between education, business," Jan. 17) regarding the interdependence of education and business, and I agree wholeheartedly that the "education and business communities should come together as full partners in achieving the contemporary purpose of education."

However, it is important to note that a traditional liberal arts education does, in fact, provide students with valuable skills for post-graduate employment. The humanities teach students skills like critical thinking and equip them with a broad (as well as deep) knowledge base. Most importantly, perhaps, as Ms. Grasmick notes, educators today "have the ability to make it possible for students to pursue both an academic and a career track simultaneously, and to incorporate both as part of their lifelong learning experience."

A recent national report, "The Heart of Matter," commissioned by a bipartisan group of legislators and led by Norm Augustine, retired Lockheed Martin Corporation chief executive officer and the current chairman of Maryland's new Economic Development and Business Climate Commission (known as the "Augustine Commission"), found that three out of four employers "want schools to place more emphasis on the skills that the humanities and social sciences teach: critical thinking and complex problem-solving, as well as written and oral communication."

There can be no doubt that an education in the humanities prepares students for a successful career in business, or any other sector of their choice.

Phoebe Stein, Baltimore

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