A business-English double major? Caldwell U. says it has degree for next-gen workforce

Every parent who has ever sat through a liberal arts presentation at a university has heard the following: Employers want English majors. The accuracy of that statement will be forever up for debate.

Caldwell University is taking the guessing out of the question.

This year, the school launched a double major in business administration and literary studies in what school officials feel will to provide students with highly marketable skills for today’s digital economy by combining business and English courses.

Current students were invited to apply in the fall — and some have started the program this semester. It will be open to incoming students in the fall.

Tara Harney-Mahajan, an assistant professor of English and co-founder of the double major program, is quick to tout the initiative.

“Employers seek graduates with not only analytical skills, but also the professional skills of effective communication and critical thinking,” she said. “Many institutions foreground the importance of these skills, but Caldwell University is leading the space here by encouraging students to major in business and English.

“This dynamic dual degree gives you a highly unique skill set to navigate the complex and ever-changing postgraduate and post-pandemic landscape.”

Still skeptical, consider this: The program is being made possible through a generous scholarship from Goldman Sachs Gives.

“I feel passionately that degrees in business and English — which are not typically thought of together — will give our graduates a bold edge in the professional world,” Harney-Mahajan said.

She draws on personal experience, recounting how she graduated from college with a degree in English and, instead of taking an offer at a publishing company, went to work for a software company.

Although Harney-Mahajan said she first felt in over her head — “I did not know a thing about commodities or software” — she said she found that those specifics could be learned on the job. What she did possess was the ability to read closely, think critically, conduct complex research and communicate ideas effectively. Soon, professionals were coming to her for all their writing needs.

Scholarship opportunity

Caldwell is currently accepting applications for the Caldwell University Business and Literary Studies Goldman Sachs Scholarship. Email Melissa Cook at mecook@caldwell.edu for more information.

Virginia Rich, associate dean of the School of Business and Computer Science, who also is co-founder of the double major program, said the modern workplace needs professionals who are cogent writers and critical thinkers, those who can communicate the information needed to make effective business decisions and lead various constituents in today’s dynamic business environment.

“When asked what is needed to thrive in the post-pandemic era, managers, business leaders and senior executives cite as invaluable assets certain key attributes, such as analytical thinking, effective communication, leadership, an empathetic orientation, a global mindset and the ability to write well in all aspects,” she said. “In our data-intensive workplace, these skills are necessary for career growth and success. This double major develops and strengthens all of these competencies.”

Some career opportunities the program prepares students for include: corporate communications, business journalism, social media management, investor and employee relations, business and people analytics, international marketing and management, new product and technical product training.