In all the debate about the value of a BA, there is one factor that keeps being missed. BAs make better people managers that those from engineering, accounting, finance, computer science and other left-brained occupations. A BA is a better path to leadership than a BSc.

A BA is still worth more than a high school diploma

If you listen to the pundits, they’ll say that what you learn in getting a BA doesn’t relate to the needs of the job market and that you will end up working at Walmart (not to diss Walmart as I’m sure it is a fine place to work.) The stats don’t tell that story however. According to Jeffrey Simpson in an article in today’s Globe and Mail,  94 percent of graduates of fine and applied arts had jobs two years after graduation. The rates for engineers were 95 percent and for health grads, 94%. Yes there is a difference but it isn’t great. As to money, having a BA was worth $17,000 a year more than just having a high school diploma.

Humanities grads understand people better than technology grads

So the stats say there is still a benefit to having a BA but what is being missed is the value to the grads career down the road and my claim that BA grads make better managers than left brained grads. If you’ve got a BA, you’ve taken literature, sociology, philosophy, psychology, sociology and all sorts of Humanities related cources. See that word? Humanities. Unless you didn’t notice, it contains the word Human. The Humanities are all about studying the human condition, what it means to be a human. The trials, tribulations, emotions etc of the human experience.

Leadership skills are enhanced when you really understand what makes people tick and that comes from studying the humanities

Why does this relate to managing? Well to be a good manager, you need to get work done through other people. Doing that means you have to have a good understanding of how people thinks, what moves them. You need to know how to motivate them, change their behaviour, communicate with them. These are not easy things to learn and they are rarely taught to left brained professionals. Thus the chances are that a humanities grad will make a better manager than a left brained professional who has never had to figure out how to communicate, motivate, inspire and lead.

Think about your past managers. Who was a better leader, the Humanities grad or the left brained grad?