New master’s degree in College of Liberal Arts provides business focus

Lazaro Hernandez

A new master’s degree program at the University of Texas will offer business students insight into the human side of their profession.

Human Dimensions of Organizations, a new Master of Arts degree offered through UT’s College of Liberal Arts is a four-semester degree plan which draws on Liberal Arts disciplines to teach students in business and nonprofits how to better understand the people inside and outside their organizations.

“There is growing recognition that the disciplines of liberal arts provide a great springboard to enter the business community. However, most business education programs do not provide much background in this area,” Arthur Markman, UT professor of psychology and marketing and founding director of Human Dimensions of Organizations, said. “Our program is the first of its kind to craft a rigorous curriculum for business that is rooted in the disciplines of liberal arts.”

The degree program will receive its first group of students in the fall of 2013. Classes will be offered twice a month on Friday evenings and Saturdays at the UT campus.

According to the program’s website, most graduate students will be employed full time with most having five to 10 years of professional experience.

“The program is geared toward people who are looking to move up to significant management positions within their companies as well as people who serve as consultants and have to be able to develop a quick and accurate understanding of an organization,” Markman said.

The degree will be the first in the United States to offer this type of specialized training, a fact Richard Flores, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts, said will benefit the University.

“We will be offering a very unique, cutting-edge degree,” Flores said. “It will provide an opportunity for the college, and the University as well, to be seen as a viable pathway to managing positions and executive positions.”

Global business leaders at companies and organizations including Procter & Gamble, ING Direct and scholars in the liberal arts field provided assistance in creating the degree program.

“What Professor Markman has done is taken what I think are key liberal arts curriculum — sociology, psychology, anthropology and English — and is working to take those courses and have them taught with a focus toward understanding people in complex organizations and structures in the business sector,” Flores said.

Marketing senior Alma Colmenero hopes to work for KPMG, a company specializing in audit, tax and advisory services, after graduating. She said she believes having a Master Dimensions of Organization degree could provide her with a competitive advantage when applying for bigger jobs.

“We live in a very diverse country,” she said. “The more a person can diversify him or herself the better chances of them to get a good job, especially in the business world.”