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When I asked a recent applicant about the steps he has taken to further his education, he said he completed classes in pottery, acting, and art history. None of those classes has anything to do with our business, and I thought he should have been taking more business-oriented courses. Should applicants on a management track be eliminated for taking these kinds of classes?

It could be argued that humanities classes are more important than business classes, since management focuses more on humans than business. These kinds of classes can enhance a student's perspective and open up his or her thinking to more creative strategies for approaching and solving business problems.

Most successful managers already do a good deal of reading on management and attend management seminars. Many companies also bring in experts to speak about a broad range of managerial and technical issues. These sessions can be quite valuable in bringing the managerial staff up-to-speed on changes and developments in their fields.

However, the fact that this particular applicant has taken some artsy classes does not point to a lack of interest in business or management, but rather shows a desire to think outside the box and pursue areas in which he truly has additional interest and passion. This kind of thinking can be a fresh addition to many companies. Rather than eliminating an applicant for taking these classes, you will be better served by eliminating any bias you might have in this area.

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