Welcome to part two of our blog series "How My Liberal Arts Degree is Helping Me in Graduate Business School". In today's post, CUA MSBA student Dave Gogats let's us in on how majoring in English has helped him adapt to the business world. Take it away, Dave!
English, a Major of Adaptability 
by David Gogats

“How’s the job at Starbucks?” and “When’s your book coming out?” are two questions every English major loves to hear. Every one of us who has gone through four years of Shakespeare and Dickens knows the routine and how to combat people’s opinions of our seemingly useless degree. The statistics are usually on their side too. As an Atlantic article earlier this summer pointed out, as parents’ incomes increased, the practicality of their children’s majors went down, with English topping the list of uselessness.(http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/college-major-rich-families-liberal-arts/397439/)

No English major I’ve talked to has ever regretted his or her path though. They’ve gone into varying careers where every skill we have learned through undergrad has been used. One English major I met was a biology textbook editor at one time and now considers herself a “mini expert” in stomach diseases. The literature aspect of an English degree was just a means to an end by doing something we love. Through the many sleepless nights of researching Renaissance poetry that no one wants to read, except apparently my professor, to then writing about it has given me skills that I would not get from any other major. Although it is probably true that I may never find someone who has read what I have read during undergrad, it’s not about what I’ve read or written but that I know how to do it now. It’s not about researching, reading, analyzing, and writing it’s about how to do those well, even if you don’t like the subject.

When looking at the skills an English degree gives you, it seems that it might be more useful than it appears. Another article, from U.S. News, quotes a student who found that “his undergraduate major in political science at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill ‘unequivocally’ did not help prepare him for law school” rather it was his “minor in English, which required him to read ‘voluminous amounts of literature,’ that had better prepared him for the intense reading requirements of studying law. (http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2012/10/29/future-law-students-should-avoid-prelaw-majors-some-say)

As we fight to keep our English degrees useful and relevant it turns out that it might not be that hard. Now that I’m a business student, I find that my four years spent reading Hemingway and Hawthorne have better prepared me than I had originally thought. Whether it’s a reading a textbook on Quantitative Analysis or writing a business memo, being an English major comes with many skill sets, one of its most useful being adaptability and being able to change up how I use my skills learned from undergrad.

We’ve read things that are boring as can be, but as dull as it is, we can turn it into something. English majors everywhere can rejoice when reading and editing textbooks or speech writing that at least they’re not about Renaissance poetry (at least I do anyway).