Most people think that we can only pursue the arts and humanities within a liberal arts college. This is far from the truth — you can also choose to major in business or even economics and finance.
Studying business within a liberal arts education can also imbue you with critical workplace skills. As Marie Petkus, Associate Professor of Economics at Centre College explains, “The business curriculum intentionally makes connections between individuals, businesses, and society. It introduces students to the theories, tools, language, and basic skills of business, and then asks them to apply their broader liberal arts knowledge, critical thinking skills, and imagination to the world of business.”
Indeed, liberal arts students often cross disciplines with ease — a feature many employers value. For example, business students may take up sociology or even psychology.
Being in a liberal arts college can also be an incredible springboard for business careers. At Centre — a #27-ranked college for Best Value and #30 for undergraduate teaching located in Danville, Kentucky — their business course has strong roots in the liberal arts tradition, giving breadth and depth to your studies.
Here, business majors complete 14 courses — a mix of seven fundamentals, three connections and four electives. They analyse fundamental business theories, learn and use effective communication strategies, develop operations skills, solve real-life problems, and identify the connection between corporations and society.
Those who are interested in Economics and Finance will be able to do other coursework or minors in Computer Science, History, Mathematics as well as Social Studies. As a result, they become competent in economic theory fundamentals, capable of using quantitative and communication tools for economic analysis and presentation, and well-versed in economic processes, policies and institutions.
What truly sets Centre apart is how it combines a top-notched liberal arts education with experiential learning opportunities.
For students wishing to get on-the-job experience, Centre offers an internship programme where students gain valuable work exposure — they can choose to intern in insurance companies, investment firms or even the local Chamber of Commerce.
Past domestic internships have taken place at the World Wide Organic Farms in Kula, Hawaii; and Marketing at Fried Brothers Inc. in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. International internships include the British Parliament in London, England and Minmetals International Trust Co. (Beijing, China).
Adonis Logan, who joined the inaugural batch of interns at Inclusive Capital Partners in California — a value-oriented equity investment fund — believes that his internship, fused with his liberal arts education, has helped him become the best version of himself
“In classical liberal arts fashion, it has made me comfortable with having a diverse set of interests that you wouldn’t necessarily find at non-liberal arts schools,” he says. “On many occasions, when discussing my major, concentration or collegiate interest, many people have remarked, ‘oh, you must go to a liberal arts school.’ I always take this as a compliment, because in order to succeed in our world, you most certainly need a solid foundation in a wide range of topics.”
Besides the guaranteed internships, students can expect to take up specialty courses which are taught by successful entrepreneurs and business executives sharing their real-world knowledge. Guest speakers come from academia, private and non-profit. They include representatives from Yum! Brands (which includes KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), The Coloring Table and Brown-Forman.
At the same time, CentreWorks — Centre’s new downtown space for innovation and collaboration — gets students to feel what it’s like to be an entrepreneur using the human-centred approach. Anthony Margida, the executive director of CentreWorks, shares,
“That mindset is really putting the liberal arts education, all that knowledge, into action, by developing specific traits and habits. Like empathy, which is truly listening to understand; seeing failure as a learning opportunity; and also becoming comfortable with uncomfortable situations.”
Margida also designed with his wife, Andrea, the RESILIENCE Bootcamp and LIFTOFF programme for entrepreneurs struggling with the pandemic; students also participated in the FUSION programme that saw them work on a community development topic of fresh food access.
Other benefits and outcomes
Centre’s students can pair their internship with a study abroad experience and conduct independent research — all of which prepare them to be able to think in many directions and to practise corporate responsibility that is attuned to larger issues such as international or cultural fluency.
Michael Fryar, an alumnus agrees — through his studies at Centre and study abroad trips, he went on to graduate from London School of Economics with an MS. He is now a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Development at Harvard University.
Other alumni have landed jobs with prestigious companies such as Northwestern Mutual, Merrill Lynch, Google, and Wells Fargo. They are among the postgraduate students and alumni at top universities such as Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University and Syracuse University.
International students will be pleased to know that Centre offers partial and Full Funding Scholarships (”Full Rides”) as well as financial aid grants for qualified students. If you are interested in enrolling at Centre as an international applicant, click here.