In the “Who says classical education doesn’t prepare students for good jobs?” category, I encourage you to read this article about two studies at Google, the tech giant. In The Surprising thing Google learned about its employees-and what it means for today’s students the data from two studies at Google (“Project Oxygen” and “Project Aristotle”) point to the benefits of being a philosophy or history major over having a STEM degree. The studies showed that “among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others . . . being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas. Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer . . . Google’s studies concur with others trying to understand the secret of a great future employee. A recent survey of 260 employers by the nonprofit National Association of Colleges and Employers, which includes both small firms and behemoths like Chevron and IBM, also ranks communication skills in the top three most-sought after qualities by job recruiters. They prize both an ability to communicate with one’s workers and an aptitude for conveying the company’s product and mission outside the organization. Or take billionaire venture capitalist and “Shark Tank” TV personality Mark Cuban: He looks for philosophy majors when he’s investing in sharks most likely to succeed.”
Classical education makes the case that if you cultivate wisdom, virtue, and eloquence in a student and give them the tools for thinking and learning for themselves then they can master the information and skills needed for just about any vocation. Teach a student to think well, write well, read well, and speak well, then that student will likely lead others and may just end up owning the company.