Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Business Management

Why Business Management?

Because you want to build a business. Because you want to work hard and do well. Because you’re a leader with imagination, integrity, and drive.

Business Management is a great major or minor. You can dive deep into business studies here—information systems, accounting, finance, and more. You can help manage a $450,000 investment fund, study global business in Paris or Hong Kong, and design your own senior capstone to jump-start your career. And we make it easy to combine our minors and concentrations with any of the more than 40 programs of study at the college.

Fine, you might be thinking, but can we boil it down to one big thing we’re good at and employers value? Here goes:

Business Management is a Liberal Art

That’s our vision in a sentence. It’s the guiding idea behind our department, our teaching, and every challenge we help our students take on.

Sure, we love helping you learn to read accounting statements, develop marketing strategies, use business-intelligence software like SAP, and start businesses. It’s great to have skills. But all those things start with questions, not answers. To do them well, you have to be good at asking questions. And questions are at the heart of a liberal-arts education.

So beyond teaching you how to do stuff employers love, we’re focused on something deeper: asking the questions that lie below the surface, the questions that drive business success.

An auditor asks: “Do these numbers match reality?”

A marketer asks: “Do I understand what my customers really want?”

A CEO asks: “How must my business change in order to survive?”

To answer such questions takes more than technical training.

Peter Drucker, the great philosopher and teacher of management, saw business leaders as needing the kind of broad education you get from the liberal arts. “Managers,” he said, “draw on all the knowledge and insights of the humanities and the social sciences—on psychology and philosophy, on economics and on history, on the physical sciences and on ethics.” 

 My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions. — Peter Drucker

Management, Drucker concluded, “is thus what tradition used to call a ‘liberal art’: ‘liberal’ because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; ‘art’ because it is practice and application.”

Okay, enough history lesson. Hopefully you get the idea that the roots of what we do here go deep.

We can’t guarantee you’ll get good at questions if you study with us. But we do guarantee you won’t avoid the imperative to ask. Our small classes, intense student-faculty interaction, and liberal-arts commitment will keep pushing you to think critically, look deeper, and ask the questions that help shake, shape, and reshape our world.

Asking questions can be irritating, embarrassing, or downright dangerous. The Mandarin word for ‘question,’ 问题 (wèntí), also means ‘problem,’ and that’s how a lot of people think of questions.
So part of getting good at questions is developing the moral courage to ask, and the toughness to keep asking even in the face of resistance, avoidance, or obfuscation. A lifetime habit of asking questions: most people probably don’t think that sounds too great, all things considered.

But if you think it sounds like fun, we might be a good fit.

What do you think?

Your Passion + Our Vision = Your Edge



Let us know what you think

We’re devoted to the business of you—we’ll help you invest in yourself, develop skills, market yourself, and jump on the countless opportunities out there for liberal-arts entrepreneurs—young leaders who know how to think, learn, communicate, and collaborate.

If you want to see for yourself, drop us a line or arrange a visit to one of our classes.


Business lessons, life lessons

[Big ideas you might encounter in our classrooms]

Reload the page for another lesson, or click here to see all the lessons.