A Humanistic View of Economics

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Richard Bronk, the author of The Romantic Economist (Cambridge U. Press, 2009) gave two fascinating talks on the BYU campus last week.

The author revisits various Romantic critiques of the Enlightenment, in particular of the “rational actor” that economists often use to theorize economic activity.

The book is the perfect example of a non-humanities field being enriched by historical, philosophical and literary insights. 

Looking for an Internship in Arizona?

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The State of Arizona just rolled out a new statewide internship program that might interest Humanities Students. We met personally with the HR director, Susan Laurence, who said that there are many opportunities for students with the right skills. See the website here: http://www.hr.state.az.us/Intern/index.asp

Need an Internship in AZ?

Good News from the BYU Career Fair

Recruiters from companies at this year’s Career and Internship Fair
were almost uniformly looking for students with the right skills, not the right
major
. Organizations as diverse as Goldman Sachs, Idaho State
Government, Qualtrics,  Buckle, Smuckers, Sears/K-Mart, Eli Lilly, even an electrical engineering company offer internship experiences, career training, and eventually jobs to students
from humanities majors
.  They are interested in students who are motivated, creative,
articulate, and with good people skills–i.e., you! Several recruiters explicitly said that they prefer the passion, flexibility and communication skills of Humanities students to other purely vocationally-oriented students.

If you missed the fairs this year (there is one in fall and winter), be on the lookout for them next year. Come to the Humanities College Advisement Center for help with CV preparation and interviewing strategy.

Good Paying Jobs for Humanities Majors

Government jobs are on the rise. Forbes says that there will be 600,000 new positions, many of which would be suitable for Humanities majors–especially for those who have followed the Hum+ or +Hum path. Some examples:

FBI ($57,000-$74,000)
Writer/Editor ($96,000-$174,000)
Intelligence Officer ($89,000-$136,000)
and so on.

Steve Jobs Touts Liberal Arts

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In a down economy Apple somehow keeps beating Wall Street’s expectations. How do they do it? According to Steve Jobs, the liberal arts play a big role. For example, concerning their new breakthrough iPad, Jobs says: “The reason that Apple is able to create products like iPad is because we always try to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, to be able to get the best of both.” Read more here:
http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/01/27/live-steve-jobs-presents-the-tablet/

Employers want broader skill sets provided by the Liberal Arts

From today’s Chronicle of Higher Education: “The employer survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates, asked 302 employers about specific emerging educational practices and their value in helping prepare college students for success.” If you have a subscription, read about them here: http://chronicle.com/article/Narrow-Skills-Training-Wont/63665/


The gist of the article is that students need more of the skills provided by a liberal arts education, such as problem-solving, critical analysis, research and communication. The key, however, is to be able to demonstrate these skills through a significant senior project and/or an internship.

A Job or an Education? What are you paying for?

Given the costs of higher education, parents and students often think of college as a means to an end: the job. Students tend to choose (or are pushed into) majors promising immediate and tangible monetary rewards. Such choices obviously make sense, but they can lead to short-sightedness, especially when students look upon the liberal arts or general education courses skeptically as “fluff” or “obstacles” to graduation.


Research shows that vocational skills learned in job-oriented majors quickly become obsolete. In order to succeed over the long term, other, less tangibly marketable skills are required.

Career advising expert Sheila Curren argues that the humanities are best suited to transmit the lifelong career skills the market will be needing over the next few decades. She lists some of them here: http://curranoncareers.com/careers-the-college-grad-whats-a-liberal-education-got-to-do-with-it/

U.S. business is run by CEOs with degrees in everything from atmospheric physics to French

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner double majored in English and theatre. With the benefit of hindsight, he also encouraged his 3 sons to study the liberal arts. Why? Listen to Eisner: “Literature is unbelievably helpful because no matter what business you are in, you are dealing with interpersonal relationships. . . . It gives you an appreciation of what makes people tick.” Read here about other business leaders who claim that the humanities were the key to their long-term success: home.honolulu.hawaii.edu/~pine/libart/ceolibarts.html

+Humanities: Business returns to the Liberal Arts

In the wake of the recent economic crisis many business and financial institutions and even business schools have woken up to the fact that a liberal arts education is a highly valuable asset. Read this NYT article to find out why: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/business/10mba.html