Panel of recruiters discuss the value of a liberal arts degree

By: Yvette Lisa Ndlovu,  A&S Communications
September 21, 2017

The Arts & Sciences Career Development Center held an alumni and employer panel, “Marketing Your Liberal Arts Degree,” Sept. 6 in the Physical Sciences Building.

The panel, moderated by Jennifer Maclaughlin, assistant dean and director of the Career Development Center, included recruiters and alumni from Gap Inc., Capital One and Tortoise Investment Management, who offered in-depth details about their hiring processes and emphasized their interest in hiring students with a liberal arts degree.

“When I think back to when I was doing the recruitment process and attending career fairs, I was really interested in human resources so naturally I was in the same pool as students who had majored in ILR or Business,” said Joan Campos ‘15, the HR consultant for Capital One.

“But this was what was unique about me. I took so many different classes such as psychology, Italian, hotel school classes, human ecology classes, so I had a breadth of experiences and knowledge that recruiters found interesting and I was able to connect with a lot of associates that I met with.”

Campos, who majored in psychology and Italian, said her manager was a classic literature major and none of her co-workers were labor relations or human resource majors.

The college recruiter for Gap Inc., Chelsea Borgerding, echoed this by describing Gap as “major agnostic.”

“Gap is looking for future leaders of the company,” Borgerding said. “We are looking for people who are going to grow with the company. A liberal arts degree gives you that diversity of experience that Gap is attracted to.”

Ian Yankwitt from Tortoise Investment Management said that his firm emphasizes problem-solving as a unique skill.

“What we do is manage people’s money and address the problems that come up in their lives,” Yankwitt said. “Problems can come up in any area of their lives and so we are looking for people that have taken a breadth of courses, like liberal arts students have, and out of all those options have committed to something they are genuine about.”  

The panelists told students they should be doing thorough research on companies, asking recruiters informed questions, and following up with associates after a great conversation. They also stressed that it is important for students to remember that recruiters are humans too.

“The conversations that I’ve had at career fairs that are the most memorable are the ones that are more natural,” Yankwitt said.

The panel discussion was followed by a dessert reception, which allowed students to talk directly with the recruiters and associates.

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.

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