Next week I’m speaking to a group of students at Dickinson College, a small, liberal arts school in Pennsylvania. It will be my first time in an undergraduate classroom since my days at Muhlenberg (another small, liberal arts school in Pennsylvania, wouldn’t you know it?) and so much has changed about the world.
These people have Twitter. And Facebook. And blogs. And Obamacare.
I can’t wait to meet them.
I interviewed and hired college interns for the past few years and it always invigorated me. They showed up on their first days, energy busting out of every seam, excited and terrified to put into practice what they’d been learning in a classroom. For devs this was especially exciting (hello, production!), but regardless of their discipline, 100% of them cited “real world” experience as their major goal for the summer.
What’s the real world experience for an English major? What about Political Science or Psychology or Spanish? Society does these students a disservice if it steers their careers purely towards publishing, teaching and the U.N. There are core skills underneath these disciplines that are vital to every business – the skills of listening, analyzing, translating requirements, finding a way forward in difficult situations. If you run a business, you know that you need these skills in spades.
We do our businesses a disservice if we fail to see the potential in the energy of a recent liberal arts graduate. Someone who arrives hungry to learn? That’s priceless. And though the core skills of a tech agency hinge on strategy, design and development, it is really difficult to write a job req for everything that falls in-between.
So let’s make a deal, shall we? I’m going to go into that classroom next Tuesday and convince those students that the world is ready to give them work to do – real work that results in some new and startling growth. They won’t know what the path looks like, but I’ll convince them that an unexpected opportunity is one worth taking.
But once they’re primed, once they’re ready to attack the world with their resumes and desire to show up early and stay late and learn how to help you manage all of the insane parts of running a business, you all have to promise to hire them one day.