What is it "practical" to study in college? You'd be surprised!Posted on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 10:58
For many parents and students, the most-lucrative path seems obvious: be practical. The public and private sectors are urging kids to abandon the liberal arts, and study fields where the job market is hot right now.
Dr. Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School and Professor of Education, has some very good, "practical" advice for students and their families in a recent Wall Street Journal article -- Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire.
Here's an excerpt:
Schools, in turn, are responding with new, specialized courses that promise to teach skills that students will need on the job. A degree in hospital financing? Casino management? Pharmaceutical marketing?
Little wonder that business majors outnumber liberal-arts majors in the U.S. by two-to-one, and the trend is for even more focused programs targeted to niches in the labor market.
It all makes sense. Except for one thing: It probably won't work. The trouble is that nobody can predict where the jobs will be—not the employers, not the schools, not the government officials who are making such loud calls for vocational training. The economy is simply too fickle to guess way ahead of time, and any number of other changes could roil things as well. Choosing the wrong path could make things worse, not better.