Three students with a keen interest in a business career explain.
TJ Goetz '14
“After my junior year of high school, I narrowed my higher education options down to two colleges. The first, Iowa State University, allowed me to pick from a variety of specific business majors that would put me on a definite career course. I would be able to jump right into the field of my choice. Grinnell College offered a wide array of broadly based subjects that would eventually lead me to what I want to do.
“For a long time I couldn’t make up my mind, and I didn’t take my indecision lightly. I eventually chose Grinnell, and I now know that I couldn’t have made a better decision. My liberal arts education allows me to understand that sometimes uncertainty is OK — that it can come from critically evaluating ideas to obtain a broader knowledge base. I’ve learned to pursue new levels of thinking, a skill I am not sure I would have gotten elsewhere.
“Through summer internships, I have caught up with many business majors when it comes to overall experience. But the moral and ethical base I built and will continue to build during my next two years at Grinnell has been invaluable. My most valuable skills are critically evaluating ideas and building a moral and ethical standard.”
T.J. Goetz ’14 is an economics major from Ankeny, Iowa.
Chen Liang ’14
“Through my liberal arts education, I’ve developed quantitative and qualitative analytical skills from courses in sciences, humanities, and social sciences. With the intense training in communications skills, both written and verbal, I developed skills in business writing. Summer 2011 I interned for TIAA-CREF, a Fortune 100 financial services company and the largest retirement fund management and investment firm in the world.
“A business school offers more directly related skills such as accounting, but my Grinnell education is valuable because of the well-rounded skills and open-mindedness it cultivates — the ability to think outside the box. More importantly, in a business world where client relations is a top priority, a liberal arts education that encourages embracing opportunities and understanding different people, cultures, and languages lets me bring a special value to my internship and my career.”
Chen Liang ’14 is an economics major from the People’s Republic of China.
Connor Schake ’14
“I was always interested in business, and this past spring, a project for Professor Doug Caulkins’ Managing Entrepreneurship and Innovation course prompted me to examine the liberal arts in the context of entrepreneurship. I’d considered starting a company, but assumed I’d be bad at running one. I’d never considered that Grinnell, in its own way, was preparing me to do just that.
“The core disciplines of my majors — history and literature — demand empathy, require an acute perception of culture, and develop an eye toward the grander sweep. Grinnell professors nurture these qualities. I’d like to think these characteristics are those of an efficient and prophetic CEO, preparing an organization for the knowledge economy.
“I’ve spent two summers researching business. But I don’t feel I need to major in the subject: The path I’m on is just more interesting to me right now. I get to learn things I want to learn, and believe that my liberal arts pursuit of meaning will develop the analytical leadership my organization will one day need.
“If nothing else, I like to think I’ll have more to talk about one day.”
Connor Schake ’14 transferred to Grinnell from the University of Colorado. He is an independent major in American studies from Colorado Springs.