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Deb Peterson

Learning to Think: Liberal Arts vs. B-School

By January 12, 2010

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Some of my fondest memories of college at St. Olaf are my hours in philosophy class, learning to think. I was almost 40 before I truly recognized, and appreciated, that I had been taught to think.

Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, noticed that successful lawyer and an elementary school principal were thinking in the same ways:

"The 'Eureka' moment was when I could draw a data point between a hotshot, investment bank-oriented star lawyer and an elementary school principal," Mr. Martin recalls. "I thought: 'Holy smokes. In completely different situations, these people are thinking in very similar ways, and there may be something special about this pattern of thinking.' "

Lane Wallace wrote about Martin's "Eureka!" for The New York Times. Martin advocates that business school students start thinking like liberal arts students in order to find creative solutions to the current economic situation.

This is news for non-trad students of all kinds because it's a heads up that thinking in wide-open ways can put you at the top of the class. Challenge your beliefs, your automatic responses to everything.

Think creatively.

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