Despite recent talk about “the end of the English major” and declining interest in the humanities, studies have shown that the hallmarks of a liberal arts education—like breadth of knowledge and the ability to think critically and communicate clearly—translate to the qualities that employers value.

“That richness of thought and perspectives really helps our work,” said Jonathan Valenti, FCLC ’98, a principal in the customer and marketing strategy practice at Deloitte.

Valenti, who majored in information science, was one of three Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) grads who participated in a Feb. 9 virtual panel titled “From FCLC to the World of Business.”

Tracyann Williams, Ph.D., assistant dean for student support and success at FCLC, moderated the discussion. She asked the panelists to share their experiences as Lincoln Center students, their tips on taking liberal arts skills into the job market, and what they like about hiring applicants with that background.

Maureen Beshar, FCLC ’86, majored in philosophy and political science, and today she is executive director of business development for the investment management firm Hardman Johnston Global Advisors. She said her Fordham Jesuit education—with its focus on well-rounded learning and being a person for others—has been valuable in her personal and professional life.

“Fordham’s [Jesuit] foundation … I really think it makes a difference in a person,” said Beshar, whose two daughters both attend Fordham and who serves on the University’s President’s Council, a group of successful alumni committed to mentoring Fordham’s future leaders, funding key initiatives, and raising the University’s profile. “It really, ethically, helped me think differently. I can attribute a lot back to Fordham, with how I treat others, how I think about situations.”

Make the Most of ‘Internship City’

Scot Hoffman, FCLC ’98, majored in English and assumed he would pursue a career in academia. But a public affairs internship at the Fresh Air Fund, which Hoffman found through Fordham’s Career Center, resulted in him becoming the organization’s director of public affairs after he graduated. He has worked in the public affairs and corporate communications field ever since, specializing in building and managing corporate reputation. Today, he is vice president and director of communications at the San Francisco-based investment firm Dodge & Cox.

“Internships are really, really important,” Hoffman told students, adding that Fordham’s location is helpful in getting that experience. “Explore what’s available to you. New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world. So many industries are represented there, [and there are]so many opportunities there.”

Blending Business Education with the Liberal Arts

The alumni panelists were joined by Robert Daly, assistant dean of the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center, who discussed the opportunities for FCLC students to study things like marketing, business administration, and sustainable business by taking classes or minoring at Gabelli. He also emphasized that Gabelli undergraduates complete a liberal arts core, an example of Fordham’s faith in the value of a liberal arts education, and that he often encourages Gabelli students to consider FCLC minors like psychology to complement their business majors.

Williams said that the panelists’ perspectives were “invaluable” in helping students “understand how you may move from the liberal arts into business—that it is not necessarily a linear path, but one that is exciting.”