Monday, November 27, 2017

Business Needs Professional Problem Solvers

Wilfred Thomas, MSBA '18, is a Liberal Arts major from The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. Fred is a problem solver who wants to apply his skills in business:

What are you going to do with a liberal arts degree? This is the question I heard constantly post-undergrad. After a couple years out of school and working full-time, I realized my focus on philosophy was time well spent. The liberal arts provide a well-rounded education but most importantly taught me how to think. To study philosophy is to ask in-depth questions, critically think, and ultimately problem solve. Business is essentially problem-solving and so the two go hand-in-hand.

This year popular and outspoken billionaire, Mark Cuban, spoke highly of liberal arts degrees. In a recent interview about the labor market he said that there will be a greater demand “for liberal arts majors...because when the data is all being spit out for you, options are being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data." Specifically, the study of philosophy in the Liberal arts involves the study of human nature. This requires deep reflection and invites students to think critically. This practice in critical thought has helped me become a more effective problem solver and allows me to think outside the box, freely, and without restraints. Liberal arts students are “free thinkers” and “are the students who have the active minds, who are asking the big questions.” An employee's ability to think well is vital to a thriving business. Technical skill is emboldened by critical thought and together helps make a more well-rounded business professional.

These critical thinking skills are used often. In tutoring kids, I find ways to make the academic materials come to life when the traditional methods fail, it could be something as simple as bringing in props that aid the student that make the difference. Even in grad school, I look for a broad range of solutions to problems that arise, this is done when figuring out ways to solve the "bottleneck", the hold up in a process, in the several case studies for my operation managements course. Both being able to tailor teaching methods to your audience and being able to make operations in a business run at its optimum level are invaluable. So now when someone asks a liberal arts student what he or she is going to do with his or her degree? They should answer “problem solve."

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