English for a Career in Business
English majors learn important skills:
- Critical, analytical thinking, with a particular emphasis on solving problems, taking a position, and defending that position with logic and reason;
- Strong written and verbal communication skills;
- Strong research abilities;
- Creativity and empathy. An English major focused on reading, analyzing, and writing about a diverse range of human experiences in literature improves interpersonal understanding and so, in the working world, enhances relationships with customers and business associates.
An English major can be great preparation for a career in business. Students who major in English acquire skills in high demand in a knowledge and service economy: clear writing and communication, attention to detail, and flexible and creative thinking.
A MetLife survey found that 97 percent of business executives rate writing skills as very important. And in a recent Job Outlook Survey, employers rated the "ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization” as the single most important employee skill.
Empathy, which can be developed by an English degree, has been linked by writer George Andres to a broad range of high-paying careers, from health care and nonprofits to technology, finance, and consulting. There are many other studies that correlate empathy with increased sales, with the best performing managers of product development teams, and with greater efficiency in an ever-more diverse workforce.
Not surprisingly, a recent survey of the college graduate labor market by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that humanities and liberal arts majors had an employment rate on par with or better than students in computer and math fields, psychology and social work, and the social sciences.
The UND English BA allows a great deal of flexibility to its students: therefore students who are interested in majoring in English as a means to develop a career in business will have plenty of opportunities to take classes that will enhance their professional credentials.
English majors can concentrate on courses that improve their digital skills, as well as, courses that support and improve students' abilities to communicate in a variety of rhetorical situations across a range of media.
English majors also have the option to supplement their education with a range of courses in other departments that develop industry-specific skills — courses in accounting and finance, marketing, computer programming, and so on.
Learn More About English and Business
If you are interested in exploring how to bring together an English major with a career in business, contact Eric Wolfe to be your undergraduate advisor. Professor Wolfe can help you decide on related classes that will complement your English degree for careers in business; research internships and career opportunities; and can help you put together a resume and application letter.