Studying an MBA After Humanities | Student Reviews & University Rankings EDUopinions

Studying an MBA After Humanities


Now that you have done your undergraduate degree in Humanities, you must be wondering whether you should or if you could pursue an MBA? This is a question that many business schools and students ask themselves. Most MBA colleges don’t look for one particular thing while picking students, they often look for a story. They want a sum of many things, your background, your story, who you are, your statistics. And a resume doesn’t tell them that, it’s the essays, interviews and recommendations that actually reveal the person who is applying.

Of course, that is not what you are told by the coaching institutes as they egg you on to study more and more. Not that grades aren’t important, but your personality and your other achievements are also important. Your work experience can even be the difference between an acceptance and a rejection. Many faculty professors also say that if MBA programmes and universities are truly serious about their candidates, then they should focus on candidates with leadership potential, who are curious about the world, and who can navigate complex nuanced issues.

When we see businesses and understand the role of an MBA then the prime importance of a manager is to solve human problems. Managing a team means to understand the complex human systems that a humanities student might be able to understand more than an engineering student, for example. This system may take the form of a major corporation or a small, family-run enterprise, but, regardless, all businesses succeed or fail on the strength of their relationships, both internal and external.

So, as a humanities student who has learnt the complexities of human behaviour, one can really apply their knowledge of human behaviour, values and culture in a business context.  To understand why students can and should pursue an MBA after humanities EDUopinions will dive deep into what is humanities, the importance of humanities and what streams of humanities can help an MBA hopeful.

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What are Humanities?

Humanities is a discipline where one studies aspects of human and society. The students are given general knowledge about subjects like English, arts, psychology and history. One also studies archaeology, classical languages, linguistics and fashion as well.


The Importance of Humanities

Unlike popular opinion, humanities students are highly employable. Over two-thirds of Humanities majors get jobs in the private sector. Also, almost 60% of U.S. CEOs have degrees in the humanities. Startling facts, aren’t they? But it is true! Humanities is known to benefit society, individuals and employers.

Here are a few points to justify the importance of humanities as a subject:

  • Not everything can be reduced to technology or maths: While today speed and definitive answers are given more importance, it is only the humanities students that ask questions to cultivate the citizen. Thinking and asking complex questions is one area that today’s world seems to forget. For example, history is studied to think about the context of choices made in the past, and the consequences of those choices for the future.
  • Technologies are bending towards a more human experience now: Technology only works when it makes the user feel good or make them feel important. How does Facebook make you feel good? What do you feel when you order clothes online immediately? Does the ease comfort you?

Another important part of this is UX or UI. How easily you interface with technology to have an easy, friendly, productive experience with every interaction you have with technology.

  • Interpreting the world in different ways: Humanities deep dives into history to give you perspective about the world. An education in history enables you to understand the world, learn through past mistakes and implement things in future.
  • Humanities help us become creative: Let’s be honest an engineering degree or a maths degree offers no output for creativity. But for a humanities student who is pursuing art or even English literature, there is so much space for creativity. A blank canvas, a blank paper is anyone’s playground. And only humanities can help you nuance this skill for a more creative outlook on life as well.


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Diversity in MBA Programmes



These days business schools really try to enrol a diverse cohort of incoming MBA students. This helps the MBA schools to boast about their diverse culture and also is a great environment for students to study in. These programs emphasize practical skills, and diversity in the student body improves learning outcomes.  Students who come from different nationalities and different graduate background learn from each others’ strengths, working together toward a common goal.

Also, this kind of diversity promotes a real-world vibe where one encounters all sorts of people from many different backgrounds. This work-experience diversity strengthens an MBA program’s primary goal of conferring business and management skills.


Streams of Humanities That Can Help an MBA Hopeful

While one might think that a BBA degree is the best base for an MBA graduate, even humanities degrees can really help students understand the world of business better. Whether it is a small corporate or a family run one, all the businesses run on relationships. The knowledge of human behaviour, values and culture in a business context can really help a business reach newer heights. It is no wonder that most of the CEO’s in the world have a humanities degree. Even Steve Job’s most loved subject was calligraphy. That is probably why you can see so many beautiful fonts in your phones and laptops these days.

Humanities also help business leaders have a more creative outlook to not only business matters but even their products. And let’s be honest, in this cut-throat world it is only those who think differently who succeed. If you are a humanities major interested in applying your knowledge of human behaviour, values and culture in a business context, how might your non-business degree prepare you for the intellectual rigours of the MBA?

English: An English major is taught about effective communication, whether it is oral or written. After a business is born, the business takes shape and life in the form of mission statements, articles of incorporation, contracts, position descriptions, organizational charts and other documents.  Once all this is done, effective communication between team members, investors, management and senior management is crucial. Without effective communications, employees cannot act on directives or share knowledge throughout the organization, making consensus impossible.

An English graduate has an advantage over an MBA in terms of effective communication, syntax, knowledge of human complexities et all. A regular MBA with a math degree might not have such a complex understanding of communications and narrative. Which is where an English major will have an advantage over a regular economics or commerce graduate.



Psychology: The role of business is to communicate with their clients and understand their needs to deliver the service or the product. But understanding customers can be a challenge. How can we predict the customers next move or understand what they want? As a psychology student, one can understand the psyche of the other person and then also work towards that as a business. An effective communicator and a person who understands the other person’s psychology is deeply respected in office scenarios. It is these people who move ahead and work efficiently.

Psychology is also an important part of understanding employee management. As a manager, one needs to understand the team’s needs and pre-empt it. Understanding their grievances and solving them requires some amount of psychology and understanding of the other person’s psyche. What motivates employees? What incentives are most likely to inspire peak performance? Knowledge of psychology can help answer these and similar questions about human nature, which can be an asset to any number of business operations.

History: As a commerce graduate one is only taught to analyse statistics. But only stats don’t tell the entire story. Qualified people must contextualize and analyze data before it will yield insights. Historians are experts in doing the same. As a historian, you are taught to analyse the past and then only contextualise the data.  History is an attempt to meaningfully integrate our knowledge of the past with our understanding of the present and our expectations for the future.  Operations such as business accounting which involves making an informed decision can benefit from historical data and analysis.



Philosophy: Philosophy is all about ethically treating people’s dilemmas. Many universities also teach their MBA grads about ethics and philosophy. Candidates who possess a strong grounding in the philosophical tradition are well-equipped to engage in the discussions that inform principled leadership. Economics is also a philosophical discipline, and it is a core component of the Baylor MBA’s Common Body of Knowledge (CBK).  If we look at some statistics provided by Baylor University, then we see that humanities majors were able to boost their lifetime earnings by 89% with an MBA.

Fine Arts: Representing business plans in a visual form is also a big part of running an organisation. PPT, marketing collaterals, logos- all of this needs a creative input.  From the graphs and charts filling internal reports to the photographs of products that drive clicks (and revenue) on your website, aesthetics matter. Even the most successful business of the world such as Apple, focus on really clean UI’s, good design skills and also encourage their employees to develop their creative problem- solving skills. A fine arts graduate can really help in all these areas and can be a huge asset to the company.


How Much Weight Does an Undergraduate Degree Hold?

If you’re a humanities student, this question might seem obvious. Experts say that a background in business is certainly helpful, but not mandatory. MBA was intended to develop business skills and philosophies that students weren’t earning in their undergraduate degree, so anyway it’s not going to be a continuation of studies. However, a business background has some prerequisites like accounting, finance, econ, and statistics which really helps. Without any background in these areas, a student might get frustrated while pursuing an MBA. But, instead of going through a whole BBA program, one can certainly learn these skills elsewhere as well.  There are companies that offer remedial education in business. There are many online courses as well, that any student can enrol in and learn about. Even YouTube videos are pretty helpful these days, one just needs to have a will to learn.

Other than this, even if the student is a humanities student, they can bring a lot of diversity to the class and even understand and approach certain methods differently and creatively which can be quite an asset to the university.


How can a student without a business degree best approach the application process?

A good approach is to speak with the admissions contact and faculty. They can give you an idea of how many people in their program have a background in business and how many do not. They will also be able to help to understand what prerequisites are required for a non-MBA grad to ace the MBA degree. Since they have seen many students pass out, this will ultimately be the best guide for you. Also, if an applicant or prospective student doesn’t have a business education, that doesn’t always mean they haven’t had experience in business. Their family may own a business or they may have landed an entry-level position at a corporation right out of college. If you show some sort of expertise in this area, then business schools really do consider it. As they do care about the background of a student.  If you studied something in the realm of liberal arts to become a well-rounded member of society, then went into business, then most business schools would value that diverse background and experience.


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Nikita is one of the main authors at EDUopinions, specialised in Higher Education and focused on business studies analysis. She is a digital nomad who works while travelling.

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