Getting down to Business in Greenwich

Just back from a terrific trip to Greenwich, Connecticut where we continued this year’s “Dialogue Tour,” focusing on our strategic planning process and engaging alumni, parents and friends in the discourse. As usual, there were too many great ideas to capture in one blog so I’ll summarize just one area of concentration in the evening’s conversation – Swarthmore and the business world.

Several alumni who attended have pursued successful careers in business and finance and wondered how they can help the next generation of students also interested in entering this changing field. There was enthusiasm for creating even stronger mentoring connections between alumni in business and students and a specific suggestion to form an alumni advisory group to focus on this area. Of course our Lax Conference on Entrepreneurship and extern programs both speak to our commitment to develop leaders in all areas, including business. But there is also growing interest in supporting our students to explore the changing environment for business and finance as the world gets more interconnected, as innovation and collaboration are more necessary, and as doing good and doing well become integrally intertwined with global needs.

My sense is that we need to do a better job spreading the word that a fine liberal arts education prepares graduates for leadership in all areas, including  business, finance, and investments. I also think the skills developed during the four years spent at Swarthmore inspire and support all students with entrepreneurial skills, whether they apply them directly to the business model, non-profits, or higher education. The world needs the ethical, compassionate, and innovative leadership that distinguishes our alumni. From what I heard in Greenwich, as I have heard expressed elsewhere, there would be no shortage of alumni volunteers willing to help advise students who express interest in a career in business.