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What CEO's and Employers Have to Say

Here are some major CEOs talking about the benefits of social science and humanities degrees, like International Studies.


“It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.”
- Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple)


“[Interdisciplinary East Asian studies] is awfully similar to viewing our organization and our marketplace from different points of view, quickly shifting views from sales to technology to marketing. In the dynamic environment of the technology sector, there is typically not one right answer when you make decisions. There are just different shades of how correct you might be.”
- Steve Yi (CEO of MediaAlpha, web advertising)


“[My academic background in existential philosophy] makes me a very unusual member of the team. I always consider a plethora of different options and outcomes in every situation.”
- Danielle Sheer (CEO of Carbonite, cloud backup)


“It’s a horrible irony that at the very moment the world has become more complex, we’re encouraging our young people to be highly specialized in one task. We are doing a disservice to young people by telling them that life is a straight path. The liberal arts are still relevant because they prepare students to be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.”
- Georgia Nugent (senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges)


“I find that liberal arts thinkers are the ones that try to problem solve and don’t just draw on experiences from school.”
- Val DiFebo (CEO of Deutsch NY, national advertising agency)


“Literature is unbelievably helpful, because no matter what business you are in, you are dealing with interpersonal relationships. It gives you an appreciation of what makes people tick.”
- Michael Eisner (former CEO of Walt Disney)


“While I joke that my medieval history and philosophy degree prepared me not for the job market, I must tell you it did prepare me for life. I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me my whole life… I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art.”
- Carly Fiorina (former CEO of Hewlett-Packard)


“I accumulated about 120 hours of electives, primarily in philosophy, religion, history, world literature, and other humanities. I only took classes I was interested in, and if a class bored me, I quickly dropped it. I actually think that has worked to my advantage in business over the years. As an entrepreneur, I had nothing to unlearn and new possibilities for innovation.”
- John Mackey (Co-CEO of Whole Foods)


“It is foolish to underappreciate the value of liberal arts skills. It is bad for our country, bad for business and bad for those just starting in their careers… But liberally educated workers differentiate themselves early and tend to outperform their more narrowly trained peers over time. It’s been my experience that they look at issues from various perspectives and find new ways of doing things. In other words, they think critically.”
- Steve Sadove (former Chairman and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue)