Many students come to GW because they are interested in very specific areas of study. They apply to the School of Media and Public Affairs or the GW School of Business because they want to be a journalist or they have a passion for entrepreneurship.
For many, the furthest thing from their minds are the liberal arts courses offered in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
That’s one of the reasons why the business school’s proposal to require all of its students to minor in a liberal arts subject has been criticized.
But business students shouldn’t think of this potential policy change as a detriment or a setback on the path to receiving a degree, but rather an opportunity to enhance their prospects after graduation.
This new rule would ensure that business students have a dynamic educational background with both a concentration in business and a basis in the liberal arts. The liberal arts teach students how to think critically, write well and develop analytical skills. If anything, a business and liberals arts background would make students more marketable to potential employers.
Combining a business degree with a liberal arts minor will teach students how to apply their business skills to a range of careers and industries and also specialize in an area that interests them. The finance student with a foreign language background would be able to work in a more global business environment. And the marketing major with a knowledge of art history could apply those skills to open a gallery.
And this change doesn’t have to be concentrated in the business school. There are other schools, such as SMPA, whose students could benefit from this requirement as well.
For budding journalists, it’s not sufficient to just to be able to know how to write well. All journalists, and any professional for that matter, would benefit from an expertise in their field as well as a wide breadth of knowledge.
The idea to have students specialize in a topic outside their major, making them more well-rounded and marketable to employers, is not new. At Boston University, all communications students are required to concentrate in a liberal arts subject.
In the long run, a minor in the liberal arts would benefit the critics of the new requirement.