My BSC Story: Why a Liberal Arts Degree is Critical in an Ever-Changing Marketplace
When I was in high school - I did not recognize the value of a small, private liberal arts college. Birmingham-Southern College had been on my radar, but it wasn’t until after connecting with an admission counselor that my initial perceptions changed.
I was getting the “you’re a number” vibe from larger schools. Meanwhile, my BSC counselor was emailing thorough explanations to my one sentence questions and connected me with a generous scholarship package.
However, it wasn't until after arriving on the Hilltop in 2014 that I comprehended the value of a liberal arts degree to its fullest extent, and I would like to share those findings with you.
As a Stump Entrepreneurship Fellow, I had the opportunity to take an 11-day alternative spring break for the program’s “Businesses in the Big Apple” field trip. The educational endeavor included tours of Spotify, Swimsuits for All, Billy Reid, Wall Street, and more. You can read more about the NYC trip here.
During BSC’s innovative and one-of-a-kind Exploration Term, senior business majors study agribusiness firms engaged in food production for their senior capstone in the Czech Republic and Italy.
As a business major, it’s critical to attend these trips to shape my insights into the domestic and global marketplaces. So far, it’s been possible because of the generosity of BSC donors and their families.
As a first-generation college student, I’ll speak firsthand on the graduation rate for my group. Let me just say the deck is not stacked in our favor. Although BSC’s curriculum is rigorous, it has been conquerable with hard work and the 1:13 professor to student class size. Because our instructors know each of us, I am not intimidated to walk into a professor’s office and work through a problem – whether academic, extracurricular, leadership, or work-related.
The faculty does not get enough credit for how much one-on-one time they spend with students troubleshooting problems and molding them into future leaders. I now fully understand why BSC is listed in the book Colleges that Change Lives. The faculty members make the BSC experience so unique.
As a two-term Student Government Association representative, I’ve gotten to experience a boardroom-like environment - where I’ve become very comfortable voicing my opinions and those of my constituents in a professional, but effective manner. I’m not sure I would have had this experience because of the vast number of students and competition at larger schools.
Another aspect that makes the BSC experience matchless is its community. Three freshmen (including myself) brought Relay For Life to campus. The BSC family quickly opened their arms to the event and helped us combat cancer by reaching our $40,000 goal (and netting 52k). It would not have been possible without them, and it’s true that any freshman can bring a club, event, or organization to campus if we don’t already have it. This Instagram image explains this experience the best:
Instead of a “check box” degree which emphasizes a generalized and concentrated education, I’ve been taught to think critically, communicate effectively, connect my coursework in a broad manner, and solve complex problems in creative ways.
One element that attracted me to BSC’s unique business program was its holistic curriculum. Instead of specializing, I wanted to explore all of the functional areas of business and have both a foundational and advanced understanding of corporate finance, accounting, law, marketing, and management. As Michael Preis tells us in 101 Things I Learned in Business School “Those most likely to be successful in business in the long run have the broadest and most open understanding of it.”
I have directed my internships towards my specific areas of interest to develop critical technical skills, but meanwhile, I could easily adapt to any business environment because of the aforementioned education I’ve received.
Finally, my B.S. in Business Administration degree has been coupled with a deep understanding of the humanities. For instance, those successful in business are also great communicators. In order to develop those skills, I took Beginning Acting.
Putting It All Together:
Although I have harped on the benefits of being a business major at a liberal arts college, you could apply my words to any major/minor at BSC. Simply, this is my story, and I hope it has inspired you to think differently about the liberal arts education.
In today’s ever-changing marketplace where complex problems are present, Birmingham-Southern College is equipping me with the essential tools and resources I need in order to contribute in my respective field. It’s preparing me to live a life of significance.
And if BSC or a liberal arts degree has ever made a difference in your life in some form or fashion, I would encourage you to pay it forward by making a difference in the lives of today’s students with your giving. Your financial contribution will help students like myself explore, experience, and excel during their time on the Hilltop and far into their futures.
Please give generously on Forward, Ever Day set for April 4th by following this link here.
Featured Image // Via Birmingham-Southern College
About the Author:
Sam Campbell is a rising senior at Birmingham-Southern College located in Birmingham, AL. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or in the comment section below.