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Envisioning your future

To say that “you can do anything” with an English degree might be a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t too far off the mark. For example, our own Blugold alumnus pictured above, Gary Berg, is the CEO of a national entertainment corporation. For a few more well-known examples of diverse career options, these folks were all English majors:

  • David Henry Hwang, playwright, librettist, screenwriter
  • Lena Dunham, writer, producer, actor
  • Aravind Adiga, Booker-prize winning author
  • Carol Browner, lawyer, environmentalist, executive
  • Judy McGrath, television executive (former CEO of MTV Networks)
  • Barbara Walters, journalist
  • Toni Morrison, novelist, editor, professor
  • Gretchen Morgenstern, business journalist
  • Mitt Romney, 70th Governor of Massachusetts
  • Andrea Jung, business executive, nonprofit leader
  • Sally Ride, NASA astronaut
  • Steven Spielberg, producer, director
  • Conan O'Brien, comedian

Transferable skills

You may think that it is hard to quantify the sorts of strengths and skills that students in English take with them with a completed degree. Nonetheless, the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2015 rated the importance of a candidate's skills/qualities using a 5-point scale, and nearly all of the top skills employers’ desire are exactly what English majors do day in and out:

  • *Ability to work in a team structure - 4.61
  • *Ability to make decisions and solve problems - 4.61
  • *Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization - 4.6
  • *Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work - 4.59
  • *Ability to obtain and process information - 4.57
  • Ability to analyze quantitative data - 4.32
  • Technical knowledge related to the job - 4.19
  • *Proficiency with computer software programs - 4.03
  • *Ability to create and/or edit written reports - 3.75

(*=English majors and minors have multiple opportunities to develop these skills throughout their college careers)

What does this all mean for students studying English? It means that despite job market coverage in the media about technical skills and the too-often undervalued humanities studies, employers repeat time and again that what they need to help their organizations succeed are the very traits and skills possessed by English majors. Every organization needs individuals who are able to think critically and communicate clearly and effectively, no matter what type of organization they may be. This is good news for English majors and minors.

Amazing alumni

Whether they are publishing poetry or fiction, working as English educators near or far, pursuing an advanced degree, working in the corporate or non-profit worlds, or frankly any other of the incredible things our alumni are out in the world creating and doing, we are proud of every one. As the countless emails, social media posts, letters and personal visits show us each year, the exciting and important work of the English Department transcends this place, and the degree our students take with them. The differences our graduates are making around the world shows the true impact of a Blugold degree in English studies.

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