Monday, November 20, 2017

What is Integrated Business and Humanities

I have received a number of inquiries about what exactly Integrated Business and Humanities since my first post back.  I have decided to dedicate today's post to explaining the program, the idea behind it and the goals I have for it. 

This is the first year of the program being offered at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario). The simple concept of the program is that by adding humanities courses to a business program, it can help build better business leaders who have critical thinking and communication skills, as well as strong cultural perspective and intelligence.  The program has been years in the making but is off to a great start.

At the time it was tricky - I could go anywhere for a commerce program and frankly, they all looked equally fascinating but just that - equalMy parents and I did our homework and decided to attend the Ontario University Fair in Toronto in the early Fall.  Since McMaster was one of my picks, we elected to attend a short informational session. We picked up a Program Book at the front and skimmed through it trying to find the commerce section when suddenly I found it. The perfect program! I opened the book up to a page titled Integrated Business and Humanities and perused the description. When I went to lean over to my parents, it turned out that they were on the exact same page. From there on, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

The application process was intensive but not brutal in any means.It included the regular admission program as well as a video interview and a personal resume stage. Through these three stages, the goal was to find opportunity seekers, diverse minds, independent thinkers and life-long learners. It just so happened that I seemed to fit the bill.

"Well this is a nice story Emma, but what is the point of the program?" I will get there, I promise

When I decided to take a victory lap, I have several reasons to do so.  One was the fact that I had no clue where to go for university. I was a wild card of a student with math course, humanities, business all the way to computer science. I had options but I did not know which one was right for me.  I was always aware of what a wonderful school McMaster was and how comfortable the city Hamilton was, whether it was through my dad's tales, visiting friends or reading the Maclean's University Ranking. Subconsciously I think I always had McMaster as my top school, but I did my due diligence and scoped out other options.  

The Daily Campus recently wrote an article about integrated education and cited a poll from the Association of American Colleges and Universities that shows “nine out of 10 employers value thinking, communication and problem-solving skills more than the major a person studied in college. Over 75 percent of employers also prefer candidates who can understand diverse cultures. Humanities classes can help develop these skills through discussions in philosophy classes, along with closer studies of English texts.

You caught all that right? Insane statistics!

Now the obvious answer is to major in humanities but sadly there are few job opportunities for those without a bachelor of science or business. The IBH program at Mac solves that by creating a business major that can combine humanities classes that are directly tailored to the business culture.  

This semester I have three business courses and two humanities courses. The stellar part? After only 6 weeks, we are integrating skills learned from one class into another.  I am taking the skills from my Organizational Behaviour course to help build a team in Peace Studies or help build a strong research assignment in Accounting using research skills from Insight and Inquiry.  The result of this kind of learning is easy to see.  

The icing on the cake is truly McMaster itself. It is a beautiful campus with lots of amenities and opportunities. I have an apartment about half an hour away from Mac but the commute is easy and worry-free and I am never late.  The faculty and student population is all friendly and willing to help which makes a world of difference in your first year.  I look forward to graduating with my 49 fellow IBH peeps in 2021!

If you are interested in IBH, please check out the website or this article from The Atlantic.