I came across an article titled, “Don’t Bother Earning These Five Degrees“. Oh no. I bet my college degree made the list. As I read the article I felt better as #1 Architecture and #2 Philosophy made the list. So far so good …
Hum, there I am at #3, Anthropology. A Degree that I should not have bothered to earn.
Okay, where to start? From the perspective of available jobs directly related to Anthropology … they are indeed scarce. Essentially they mostly are academic and those professors live forever. I witnessed this first hand at my college graduation. The undergrads and grad students for the Anthropology Department graduated together. I found out that none of the new PhD grads had a solid job offer yet. This is coming from UC Berkeley which is regarded to have the #1 grad program for Anthropology.
Yet, I did graduate and got a job. Not as an anthropologist directly, but in Corporate America. To this day 25 years later, I do not regret receiving a degree in Anthropology. While not directly working as an Anthropologist, the education, experience and most importantly, the world view gained from my education is priceless. I have written before about how my Anthropology education serves me well in my business / leadership life.
I am a believer in encouraging college students to follow their passion in their studies. In many respects, an education is an education and so much is transferable to a variety of work pursuits. I am living this now with a daughter studying conceptual art in college and a son off to college next year with a love of history.
So many people I have interviewed for jobs have standard college business degrees. From my experience the best business degree is the actual work in business. Somehow the classroom does not fully translate. The best business “professors” have been the many managers I have worked for.
Nothing wrong necessarily with a business degree, but what else did these folks study in college? Where was the intellectual curiosity, the passion?
I have used this during interviews. Where I see someone with a business degree I ask, “What other college degree did you consider?” While no wrong answer, I do like to hear a story of what the person enjoyed studying outside of business. For me there is a difference between (1) “I always knew I wanted a business degree” and (2) “I love history and took many classes, but I wanted the business degree to set me up for a job. To this day, I still love to read history books through.”
I do not want to live in a world where everyone has a business degree or a computer science degree. As employers it is up to us to do a complete job of selecting job candidates. Give me a smart person with energy, curiosity and some depth. From there the real education can begin.