The Power of Liberal Arts Disciplines for Employment

On November 10th, Siena College welcomed five featured guests into the Maloney Great Room as the last installment of the “Trilogy of Opportunity”. Each guest had the chance to discuss his or her real world employment experiences. This panel of professionals focused on the power of a Liberal Arts Discipline as it pertains to employment opportunities. All the guests were strongly in favor of a liberal arts background and presented the advantages it provided them as they entered the business world. The individual honored guest speakers had a variety of backgrounds and experiences from which they could share. For example, Mallory Baringer is currently a Legislative Director of the New York State Senate as well as a member of the Siena Board of Trustees. Another speaker, Tricia Hertz, is a Senior Director for Human Resources, Communications and Training for NYSARC. Jerry DeFrancisco was the Former President of Red Cross Humanitarian Services, Deb Kelly, a professor of Management and Human Resources here at Siena College and finally, Deb Delbelso who is the Director of Career Resource Center here on campus.

Liberal arts, as many of these individuals mentioned, instills a number of lifelong, crucial skills that can help any graduate secure a job. It can help create a great background in communication skills that prove to be vitally important in the business world, encourage the use of critical thinking, and provide a general knowledge about a variety of topics as the basis for analysis and decision making. Some other advice they had pertained to proper interview etiquette and how this differs whether it is utilizing face-to-face interaction or through a phone or Skype platform. It is important to understand how each platform lends itself to different behavior or strategic performance. Before these interviews, the panelists also highly suggested taking the time to learn about the company and culture in order to be knowledgeable of their procedures and customs. In order to express serious interest for a company through means of an interview, it is can be often impressionable to ask insightful questions following the initial questioning. Also, the process of selling/presenting oneself as a liberal arts student and catering a résumé to specific job positions were also strong points of emphasis for all these panelists.

One of the most insightful pieces of information presented at this panel was the notion of specificity. The wonderful thing about a liberal arts background is that it is not all that specific. By engaging in a liberal arts education at the collegiate level, students are able to obtain information from a variety of different disciplines that allow for a more well-rounded and knowledgeable person. That is why many of these panelists suggested the idea of a liberal arts education as an undergrad and then to focus on a more specific discipline in a graduate school setting. From an employers standpoint, these different values are both impressive and notable to a point of separation above other potential candidates.