Entrepreneurship and the Liberal Arts

Students at the Claremont Colleges are proactive, innovative, and forward-looking. They choose liberal arts, in part, because they want to develop an intellectual foundation for thinking critically and globally, while seeking exposure to multiple disciplines and a diversity of ideas. They are attracted to an environment that challenges them to reach outside their comfort zones and provides opportunities for impactful leadership.

Consistent with this profile, the goal of the CIE and the entrepreneurship program at the Claremont Colleges is to build on the consortium’s tradition for cultivating entrepreneurial students across all majors and disciplines.

While it is obvious that specialized degrees in engineering, science, and business can be leveraged into entrepreneurial careers, the history of the Claremont Colleges suggests that a liberal arts background is similarly conducive to entrepreneurship. The CMC mission, to educate students for thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership, is one that resonates with students interested in pursuing new ventures. One never knows where new opportunities and ideas will come from. By studying philosophy, history, literature, and mathematics, etc. students acquire skills and reasoning abilities that translate well into an entrepreneurial world that rewards resourcefulness, creativity, critical thought, and an appreciation for culture and context.

There are hundreds of CMC alumni who have started businesses and who lead highly innovative companies. These alumni have literally transformed industries, created thousands of jobs, and changed lives for the better. A quick perusal of the alumni network shows entrepreneurs in a variety of sectors—healthcare, asset management, private equity, pharma, consumer products ranging from golf clubs to high-end chocolate, internet search technology, clothing design, telecommunications, and the list goes on. The men and women leading these ventures were educated in a liberal arts environment where no single major dominates. The scale and success of their accomplishments is amazing and the correlation to the liberal arts is clear.