I love reading the Wall Street Journal at breakfast and regard its presence on the family’s dinner table during the day as a necessary part of my childrens’ education. I recommend to all of my students that they develop the daily habit of reading it.
But I wonder if you noticed an interesting implication of yesterday’s article on what kind of student gets into the elite MBA programs like Harvard or Stanford:
“It’s a little bit like putting together a Rubik’s Cube,” says Dawna Clarke, director of admissions at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Though every student should have strong intellectual chops, leadership potential and communication skills, Ms. Clarke says, some may differentiate themselves based on career experience or their affinity for taking risks, professional or otherwise.
Note the emphasis on risk taking. Students who aim for security are especially unsuited for leadership in business. Entrepreneurship requires leaving the safety of tried-and-true paths. Again:
Admissions officers spend every fall and winter weighing how certain types of students may fare in a classroom and debating how many bankers, business owners, consultants and Classics scholars add up to a diverse student body. Schools insist they have no set caps for the types of students they accept, but each one is chosen because he or she checks at least a few boxes—geography, industry background, career goals—that, when combined, result in a rich variety.
Note that admissions officers might eagerly look to admit an exemplary Classics scholar (but it is nowhere said that they’ll be on the lookout for business majors).
So here is the moral of this story for Ave Maria University students. Perhaps majoring in business, becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and hanging a shingle in your home town is the right path for you. Go ahead and do so with gusto; accountancy is a noble profession. You can support a family well with that career path.
However, students who just love writing Latin verse; or cannot wait for the next discussion of Aristotle’s De Anima in Greek; or find the mystery of the Trinity far more interesting than the mystery of the business cycle, should in no way think that by pursuing these studies they are shutting any doors. Rather, they are proving themselves leaders who set themselves apart from others, risk takers, with a distinctive contribution to make, and of course they will be highly accomplished in “communications skills.”
Actually, with a handful of exceptions (the Wharton School, NYU Stern School, U of Michigan), simply taken on its own (that is, unless the student achieves remarkable success later, in the world of work), exemplary work in Classics or Philosophy opens far more doors in elite programs for a bright student than majoring in Business.