Many people say that having a liberal arts education is not very important. Often times parents want their kids to go into STEM where they can get “real” jobs after college. Parents know their kids are going to get a good education and a great paying job right out of college. But some may argue that liberal arts is more important because kids get to learn more about communicating, thinking, culture, diversity, writing and so much more. There are many situations that scare parents and college students away from getting a liberal arts education. According to Mark I. McNutt in his article titled There Is Value in Liberal Arts Education, Employers Say “employers identify the skills often associated with liberal arts majors such as critical thinking, creativity and oral communication as being most important” for career success. This proves that a little bit of both STEM and liberal arts education are vital in today’s career fields. I will agree on how liberal arts is important in every education, no matter the field a person goes into.
First, learning how to communicate effectively is a very important skill to learn. In an article titled The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Global Marketplace by Edward J. Ray, he researched a national survey, and the results claim that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major” . Without knowing how to communicate throughout a company and around the globe, how will people know what problems employees have, what to improve within the company, how to get products to different distributing facilities, etc. One example is in engineering when a firm is assigned with a project. The engineers need to communicate with the people in charge of the project, and they need to do it in a formal way. Unless I’m best friends with the CEO/ president of the company, I will never walk up to them like I’m striking a friendly conversation, it has to be done in a professional way. If the company is doing business overseas, they will need some sort of education in cultural communication in order to determine who to bring, how they should dress, or if they should bring “bribes” or not. Which leads me to my next point on how cultural diversity is important.
The second important thing in a liberal arts education is learning to deal with different cultures in our society. No matter what careers people go into, it’s vitally important to learn about different culture. In business, companies don’t only deal with others from this country, but from others around the world. With a minor in culture diversity, that will prove to a company that the employee is able to communicate with a certain culture and they can build the company’s reputation with the other. In the article, The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Global Economy by Edward J. Ray, he claims “Most people will have six to 10 jobs during their careers, and liberal arts majors are the most adaptable to new circumstances.” In this changing world, graduates with liberal arts degrees are the people who will adapt the fastest and find better ways to improve the company they work for with their skills. If the company wants to improve sales and marketing techniques they will have to find other companies in other countries who are interested in their products. We have to take into account that there are people out there who think liberal arts credits are a waste of time and money.
Engineers at work
On the other hand, people believe that liberal arts is irrelevant in today’s careers. They think math and technology is more important. Okay, I agree that learning to do taxes and basic math calculations are important to do, and learning the ways of new technology is important. Without basic math skills, people will never become an engineer, or go into business, medicine, or science or literally any career. For example, as an engineer, there are hundreds of equations they need to memorize, and not to mention, the answers have to be right, otherwise the building, bridge, car, electronic device might not work correctly. Also, STEM majors make more than liberal arts majors, on average about $10,000- 15,000 more. They also make a quicker return on their investments. In John Cassidy’s article College Calculus he interviewed Peter Cappelli, a professor at Wharton, saying “students who attend M.I.T., Caltech, and Harvey Mudd College enjoy an annual return of 10% on their ‘investment.’” Keep in mind this statistic is only for these schools, the annual return determines the education they get.
Even though every company needs a person who is a well-rounded in STEM and liberal arts, but a liberal arts education is more valuable. A person doesn’t have to go to a private college to get a master’s degree in English, they could go to a public school like St. Cloud State. Everyone wants to make a good living and have “fun” at their job, but sometimes people can’t get both. I’ve been told countless times by my parents that “If you love the job you’re working at, you’ll never work a day in your life.” If someone is looking for money in the work place, they will never be happy, unless they like the job. Not everyone likes listening to English, phycology, or communication lectures, but when they graduate with a minor in communications, they will have people crawling at their feet that want to hire them.