“Why do I have to take Humanities for a business degree?” is a common question when I start advising students. This question is not unique to Strayer University, but common at most universities and colleges that require a diverse set of general education classes for their degrees. Even when I was doing undergraduate classes, my advisors would say, “The classes provide a well-rounded education.” Though this is true, there is a more practical side of taking general education classes especially humanities.
Look at your classmates both on-line and on campus. There is a great diversity in each class. Each one of you has different backgrounds as well as different cultures. In the business world, the same diversity exists and it is this point that your exposure to learning about different world cultures is extremely important. In your business classes, you touch briefly about organizational diversity, but not the in-depth coverage that allows you to understand the commonality and uniqueness of each culture.
I have traveled to several countries and have made some major cultural mistakes, which I could have overcome if I studied the do’s and don’ts first. In Turkey, my Turkish business partner corrected me when I showed the sole of my shoe to him. I was sitting crossed-legged, which many of us do. In Turkey, it was a sign of disrespect. In Korea, I thought I had learned my lessons of the correct bow, but I quickly learned I was wrong. My bow was too deep toward a peer at the work place and though he was not offended, he found it amusing I considered him my superior.
So, back to humanity classes and why are they required. As business leaders, you will be facing people with different viewpoints based on their cultural environment. One of the best ways to reduce the stress is to be aware of small but highly effective signs of respect. Knowing what individuals see as respect comes from understanding cultures. If the name of the course HUM111 – World Cultures I seems out of place for business, I suggest you think of it as BUS111 – Global Organizational Diversity.
Though you want your degree to focus on the specific core classes you are interested in, every class you take builds and supplements those classes. Once you graduate, you will have a better understanding of yourself and those you will interact with in the business world.