Teaching Business & Liberal Arts to produce Better Entrepreneurs

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Leading experts and academics in the field of Business, Liberal Arts and Humanities came together today at a major conference to discuss the possible advantages of incorporating facets of Liberal Arts and Humanities into business and management education, and how we can produce more informed and better entrepreneurs by lending them greater critical thinking and philosophical inquiry.

At the conference on “Business and Liberal Arts: Making the Connection”, organized by JGU at India Habitat Centre, entrepreneur, and theater artist Mohit Satyanand released the inaugural journal of Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH) in the presence of Prof. C. Gopinath, Dean, Jindal School Global Business (JGBS) and Prof. Kathleen Modrowski, Dean Jindal School of Liberal Arts and  Humanities (JSLH).

Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities is one of the five schools of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU). Founded in 2013, the school offers a syncretic arena of interdisciplinary study within an interrelated pedagogy and seeks to place liberal arts within the educational fabric of trans-national moments.

The realm of business and entrepreneurship is often considered to be more mechanical and systematic. On the other hand, liberal art is a realm which encompasses the study of more abstract domains of literature, arts, and philosophy. It becomes difficult for general masses to comprehend a connection between the two fields. At the academic conference, experts discussed the relevance of Liberal Arts education in augmenting business acumen and entrepreneurial resilience. They indulged in an exploratory dialogue to establish an underlying connection and overlap in the interdisciplinary study of business and liberal arts, and use of business skills in artistic spaces and vice versa.

Prof. C. Gopinath, Dean, Jindal School Global Business (JGBS) said business acumen and knowledge might not always be sufficient to bail out businesses from difficult situations as evident from the recent examples of Toyota and Volkswagen which had to recall their vehicles. Sometimes, a touch of critical thinking, along with an ethical compass and philosophical inquiry can be very useful, especially in the heavily interconnected and the inter-disciplinary world we live in, he opined.

“Business issues can often be resolved by minds trained in liberal arts. Interestingly, the discovery of oil by Norway and how best to exploit it was dealt by a committee headed by a philosopher who dwelt on how the region can best be exploited while obtaining a perfect match between profit and ethics. Likewise, many connections can be drawn between business, critical thinking, and philosophical inquiry,” said Prof. Gopinath.

Although considered to be two different poles of education, a close introspection proves business and liberal arts as having greater overlapping potential. However, there is need to bridge the existing gap in the education of these two domains through focused education and training.

“Business leaders are judged purely on the basis of monetary evaluation. The current system lacks the notion of acknowledging the ability to analyze changes and look into the future. While no one can answer or comprehensively apprehend concerns that might arise in the future, the learning outcomes of liberal arts inculcate creative and critical thinking. They also instill a sense of real civic engagement and induce the notion of including oneself into the society. As knowledge has become the science, Liberal Arts becomes an effective tool to inform you by giving a space to think,”said Prof. Kathleen Modrowski, Dean Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities (JSLH).

Speaking at the conference as keynote speaker, Mohit Satyanand, who is Chairman of Teamwork Arts, talked about how education in liberal arts can help entrepreneurs give better shape and direction to businesses, and even lend it a creative touch. He spoke about the relevance of knowledge in liberal arts in shaping the trajectories of businesses through logic and intellect.

“Liberal Arts encompass everything from philosophy and psychology to music and history. Another more convenient way to look at liberal arts is to define what kind of education it is not. It is not professional, certainly not vocational and it is not rhetorical. Hence, it produces no lawyers, no MBA, and no engineers. But, the study of Liberal Arts is very important in a society as it shapes thinking of individuals and gives them the intellectual depth to make the best use of whatever is available to them,”said, Mr. Mohit Satyanand, who is an entrepreneur, investor and theater artist.

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