Many successful business owners and leaders in the corporate world have learned the value a history degree can bring to the market place. “My history major had taught me how to read, think, and write—and with that I figured I could unpack, analyze, decide, and act on any problem,” Marcia Bateson ’79 argues. David Applebaum ’85 states, “having served as the Chief Marketing Officer for several well-known technology start-up companies, I can personally testify that a history degree is actually your best secret weapon—helping to distinguish yourselves from the standard-issue business school drones... In marketing,” Applebaum continues, primary research is the single most critical skill—understanding markets, trends, and cycles are “as core to the marketer as they are to the historian.” He also speaks to the history student’s “understanding of the power of the written word and image and how the employed presentation medium affects that message,” as well as their “ability to synthesize data from a variety of different sources—first-hand accounts, contemporary reporting, analyst research, then formulate a thesis and then test and validate it.”
Real estate developer Keith Bush ’01 earned a BSc in Civil Engineering, which, he admits, might seem to have “nothing to do with History…, but History did teach me to read more analytically than most people, to write more concisely and efficiently, and to organize thoughts logically.” As Keith, Bonnie Strain White ’61, and many other alums have told us, their comprehensive reading and writing abilities make them stand out from the crowd, whatever field they are in. Many of our alums are told they are the best researchers and writers in their companies; they often land jobs in fields beyond their specialty because of their ability to learn on their feet and communicate effectively.