Many of us think, to be successful in business, you must have studied business. Though a business education helps professionals excel in Corporate America, what about those who have a Liberal Arts background? Does a Liberal Arts Education have a place in business? For that matter, does any education or lack thereof enhance or restrain our ability to succeed in business?
I'm a bit biased because my undergraduate education is in Liberal Arts, but I went on to complete an MBA in marketing, so I've got the best of both. When I consider the options and landscape of professionals I've encountered from all walks of life, I thought just like most things, there's not single formula for success. It's a combination of each person's unique skill set, talents, and drive that seems to make the difference. To further explore, I want to share success stories of a few professionals I've met along the way that demonstrate achieving success through different routes.
The inventor. I once met an inventor, which most of us think is an impossible career path to follow. We may have an idea, but don't know how to execute. This inventor charged his success to his immense resourcefulness. I also thought he was bright, with a creative, fearless mind. He didn't ever seem to doubt the ability to succeed. He strove to pull together the appropriate resources and talents to help achieve his vision. His education was diverse, and he succeeded in meeting needs and solving problems, like creating a coaster for bars that detects the date rape drug.
The high school graduate. My mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, made the journey from Administrative Assistant to Chief Marketing Officer at Mary Kay, and she did it without going to college. When Rhonda tells people she didn't go to college, they are often surprised, but Rhonda is extremely resourceful and attributes much of her success to her amazing vision. She see possibilities and opportunities in business that many of us don't. She's also wonderful at seeing her vision through to actualization. While she doesn't have a formal college education, she loves to learn and made each business day an opportunity to learn from situations and from others. This may not be the path for everyone, but it does happen. Click here for other success stories.
The Wall Street Mogul. This group tends to have always been involved in finance from a young age. They often go to business school and get a real rush from finance. I'm glad they do, because I sure don't. On rare occasions you can come across a successful financier who has a natural talent, and simply made with or without a formal education in business finance.
In any of the scenarios above, it wasn't the education that helped or hindered business success. A conventional path doesn't necessarily determine success. Liberal Arts minds tend to be creative and unique. They can think outside the normalcy of daily operations, which is a tremendous asset to business and the long-term success of companies. When considering which course to take, I'm a fan of following the passions that lie in our hearts, because when we trust that instinct and nudge to go a certain direction, it will likely always lead us in a direction that will help us find our path in our own unique equation to personal and professional success.