It’s clear that a liberal arts education can prepare students for career success in nearly every imaginable industry. The reason why: all of the skills employers most want to see can be honed through a liberal arts education.
“The ability to problem-solve, think critically, and question the traditional, taken-for-granted processes are important capabilities that students receive with a liberal arts education,” explained Management Chair and Prof. Heather Odle-Dusseau.
While these are crucial skills for any industry, they are particularly effective for those working in business. Students can enhance these skills for business success through the Management department’s new Business, Organizations, and Management (BOM) major.
“The learning outcomes of our major go beyond being able to impact bottom-line profits and productivity to understand how business decisions are made, their moral and ethical considerations, and the wider impact those decisions have."
The BOM major is an expansion of the Organization and Management Studies (OMS) major to incorporate courses on accounting, finance, and marketing. The Management department will also continue to offer the business minor.
For students interested in learning about business, Odle-Dusseau encourages them to take advantage of all the liberal arts environment has to offer.
“Look for the connection this major has with classes in other programs, majors, and minors here,” Odle-Dusseau said. “The Business, Organization, and Management major can pair with other majors and minors easily, so you can combine your passions across various fields of study. You will be better prepared to analyze organizations from multiple lenses. That’s what a liberal arts education really enables our students to do."
So what does career success look like for our alumni—across all majors and minors—who now work in business? Find out from the alumni themselves, and how they benefited from the breadth and depth of a liberal arts education.
Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez ’18
“The seed of working in Corporate Social Responsibility was planted in me in my finance class with Professor Drew Murphy my junior year of college. Before that, I had no idea this field even existed. I love that the work that I do is critical to advancing inclusive growth and making our economy stronger. Gettysburg College allowed me to develop an analytical and consultative mindset that has played a great role in my career thus far. ”
Tony Barone ’13
“Working at Nike has allowed me to explore my career interests and pursue working in functions of the business I wouldn’t have considered or was unaware of upon graduating from Gettysburg. At large corporations, individuals can become pigeon-holed working within a specific function of the business; it can be quite stifling for personal and career growth. When I expressed interest to my leadership team that I wanted to make the jump from inventory and financial planning to work for the digital business and experience team, they were fully supportive of my move and encouraged me to go after the opportunity. I frequently think about how my liberal arts education provided me with a strong, well-rounded skill-set needed for business and the direction my career has taken me. Being ‘forced’ to take classes I wouldn’t have elected to take gave me a unique perspective and understanding in areas like history, English, and psychology that has proven valuable.”
Elaina Blair ’19
“I sell a product that requires technical knowledge, which is definitely not what I studied as an English major. However, I have taken my speech and writing skills to communicate efficiently and effectively to both my prospects and colleagues. Now, I have an impact in my work as an educator of the product, a nurturer of each prospect, and a driver to sell each deal. I work closely with account executives to keep the prospect interested. The product helps companies scale, giving them insight into their different sources of data to make important decisions on strategy and execution. I love that I am actually making an impact in businesses small and large with the product.”
Charles Hagen ’20
“Heading into college, I had no idea what I wanted to do professionally. I knew that I wanted to be in business, but I never knew specifically. The OMS Major was perfect for me to get a well rounded education on many different aspects of business. From Accounting to Finance to Marketing to Organizational Behavior, I developed a very good understanding of what I wanted to do. The openly communicative classroom setting at Gettysburg allowed me to speak often in class and share my perspectives. I always enjoyed presenting in class, participating in debates, and working with others for projects. These three aspects of the classroom directly correlate to the office setting. I am constantly presenting products/services to my clients, I am often times debating the best strategies for AT&T with my coworkers, and we collaborate in a team setting daily.”
Justin Harrison ’05
“There are two things a liberal arts education can definitely provide you. Because you have options in your curriculum, you can dabble in your interests, and you can learn enough about a lot to be dangerous. One of the things that gave me the confidence to transition from housing to business school to founding a wine/music festival and a golf non-profit and now television production, is that I knew enough to be confident and to be able to build on the unknown. When you go to a school where you take a music class, a Latin class, a business class, a science, you get a holistic education in critical thinking that will take you far.”
Marci Henkoff ’11
“My Gettysburg education empowered me to follow my instincts and find connection points from one pathway/discipline to another. It helped me find my voice and strengthen my communication skills through my writing and film classes. Professor Leonard Goldberg gave me a chance to explore student and academic affairs in a summer internship, Professor Emeritus Temma Berg guided me through a semester-long thesis project that refined my research and critical thinking skills, and Professor Chris Fee gave me the chance to serve as a director/film director in his Medieval Drama class, trusting my vision and project management skills.”
Eric Kozlik ’11
“The one thing a liberal arts education does better than anything is to train critical thinkers who engage with problems, rather than complaining at a distance. Learning is a skill unto itself. In the process of leading my company and launching a top 100 food podcast, I’ve learned to design and implement product packaging, get a product certified USDA organic, design and manage an eCommerce website, manage cash flow and inventory, create and edit audio and video content, and much more. You learn a skill by doing it, failing, and then getting a little better each time you dust yourself off and try again.”
Weiting Li ’16
“After graduation, I wasn’t sure what kind of careers I’d be interested in, but I knew I was interested in finance and international organizations. I was able to do a few internships in China in areas I was interested in, and prepare for graduate school. My internship at the European Chamber of Commerce got me more interested in international relations and policies. After I went to graduate school, through networking and alumni introductions, I was able to get a job as a consultant at the World Bank, working on clean energy and climate finance projects. Research, data analysis, and the ability to work with diverse groups are important to work in an international organization. Both my work experience on projects and my education helped me develop those skills.”
Lindsey Scott ’11
“I feel I received a true liberal arts education. While I wasn’t a business major, I was able to gain those skills within the workforce, and I was able to obtain those jobs where I learned business acumen by using the skills I learned at Gettysburg. Like critical thinking, problem solving, and the power of networking. During my time as an Admissions Counselor, I began to wonder if I really wanted to build my career within higher education. While I loved it, I started to crave something a bit more fast-paced. I started to put feelers out and came across various Business Development roles at marketing agencies in Philadelphia, where I had recently moved. Believe it or not, transitioning from ‘selling’ higher education versus selling digital marketing services wasn’t a very far leap.”
Jake Teed ’12
“Gettysburg gave me the direction I needed to look outside the consulting/finance route that I was on. I started my career with Enterprise Rent-A-Car where I was able to develop some great skills and create my own opportunities. After nearly four years there, I moved to Portland, Oregon to get my Master’s in Sports Product Management. I worked for Nike Field Sports, creating cleated footwear, and was given an opportunity to move back to the East Coast and start with Converse. I love what I do because I’m able to mesh my analytical expertise and creative skills in order to get the best out of our people, our product, and our brand.”
Omar Tucker ’12
Associate Account Director, Essence Global
Organization and Management Studies major
“I began my professional career on the agency-side working in Media and since then I have been able to steer my career across multiple agencies and client verticals. I've recently transitioned to Client Services, another discipline within Advertising, and I enjoy the ability across all disciplines to directly impact the client work. Collaboration and innovative thinking have been the key to having an impact with my work and bringing campaigns directly to the people who would benefit from it the most.”
By Kasey Varner ’14
Photos courtesy of alumni