You don’t hear about it much – combining a science degree and liberal arts minor concentration in college. The fact is this combination can be a career savvy move and set you apart to get that dream job.
Last night my nephew, a freshman at The University of Texas, announced that he was a triple major – math, physics and astronomy on Facebook. I admit – I was a little flippant and asked why not a quad major? I asked that question not to encourage him to step up his overachiever goals in a specific area but to challenge him to stretch differently.
My suggestion was to minor in a Liberal Arts curriculum because that is what will set him apart when he graduates and interviews with companies. One of the major challenges solo track science and technical graduating students face with companies is that they lack social, oral and written skills that show a rounded job applicant.
In fact, parents who I have worked with realize this about their children – always too late. They have invested four years in their education only to find them struggling with the interview process. Here’s why.
Once you pass the first hurdle of meeting with a campus recruiter who verifies that you have their minimum credentials, the interview game ramps up quickly. The next step may be a one-on-one or team interview by phone or at the company. Then there is the last test.
Top notch graduates compete against other graduates in a very visible way. You may be invited to an event where the hiring executives will evaluate your social and oral skills against your peers. If you are a wall flower or handle yourself poorly in social settings, game over. Companies want employees who have the confidence to mingle and work together even in competing situations.
How a Science Degree and Liberal Arts Background Helps Your Career
Then there’s the longer term view of how a liberal arts background can serve your career. Companies have fewer top technical positions than they do business or management positions. When you manage people, your social, oral and written skills will be your primary vehicle for moving up the corporate ladder.
My advice: At the very least, take some liberal arts classes and stretch that right part of the brain.