Edgar Bronfman, a CEO who understands the value of a liberal arts education for business and the marketplace without selling out to pragmatism, offers his insights in Inside Higher Ed from his experience leading Seagrams.

“In my experience, a liberal arts degree is the most important factor in forming individuals into interesting and interested people who can determine their own paths through the future.

“For all of the decisions young business leaders will be asked to make based on facts and figures, needs and wants, numbers and speculation, all of those choices will require one common skill: how to evaluate raw information, be it from people or a spreadsheet, and make reasoned and critical decisions. The ability to think clearly and critically — to understand what people mean rather than what they say — cannot be monetized, and in life should not be undervalued. In all the people who have worked for me over the years the ones who stood out the most were the people who were able to see beyond the facts and figures before them and understand what they mean in a larger context.

“. . . The work place of the future requires specialized skills that will need not only educated minds, but adaptable ones.

That adaptability is where a liberal arts degree comes in. There is nothing that makes the mind more elastic and expandable than discovering how the world works.”

Read more in Inside Higher Ed :

Liberal arts are the best preparation — even for a business career (essay).

Edgar M. Bronfman was chief executive officer of the Seagram Company Ltd. and is president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, which seeks to inspire a renaissance of Jewish life.

Thx to Rob Sentz at Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl./CareerBuilders.

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