Business School

Strengthening the Connection Between Liberal Arts Learning and Business Education

March 30, 2012  • Claire Preisser

How can a college education best prepare business students for their future roles as both business men and women and as citizens? With business continuing to be the most popular undergraduate major in the U.S., what is the relevance and value of the study of the humanities?

These were among the key questions tackled by 30 colleges and universities who convened March 19-20 at the inaugural Aspen Undergraduate Business Education Consortium, where school teams exchanged curricular and extra-curricular ideas that tie together liberal learning and business training in ways that resonate for today’s students and for their employers.

The Business and Society Program partnered on this initiative with the three primary authors of Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education (Jossey Bass, January 2011), Anne Colby, Tom Ehrlich, and Bill Sullivan.

Keynoting the event was Walter Isaacson, President of the Aspen Institute, who gave a speech about his book, Steve Jobs, in which he highlighted connections between Apple’s success and Jobs’ love of the humanities. 

Other featured speakers included Doug Guthrie, Dean of The George Washington University School of Business; Fred Dust, Partner at IDEO; and Gary Knell, President and CEO of NPR.

This inaugural convening was hosted by The George Washington University School of Business. The second convening will take place in March 2013 at the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business.