Silicon Valley Tech Firms Need Humanities Students

Excerpts from Stanford News

Entrepreneurs said that fast-growing start-up companies need people with a wide range of skills, especially those who can help companies extend their global reach, connect with consumers and understand different cultures.

Humanities students show passion and dedication, said Vivek Ranadiv√©, chief executive officer of the software company TIBCO. Large companies aren’t concerned with the specific knowledge humanities PhDs gained while writing a dissertation, said June Cohen, executive producer at TED Media. More important are the skills graduates have acquired, such as stamina and listening.

Discussion at the event initially focused on perceived differences between academia, the pursuit of knowledge for intellectual pleasure and companies’ need for growth and product development.

Entrepreneurs in the first panel discussion tried to stress the need for humanities students to bring innovative ways of thinking to a company. During the second discussion, the conversation moved toward finding common ground. “Technology is becoming more humanist and at the same time the humanities are becoming more technical,” said Bob Tinker, president and CEO of MobilIron, a software company based in Mountain View.

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