College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Careers

What is a liberal arts education and what are the career options?

A liberal arts education is rooted in the four discipline groupings of fine or performing arts, humanities, natural sciences & mathematics, and social sciences.

We understand that a “Liberal arts education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.” American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

That combination of the skills is the mark of a well-educated citizen who is able to fully participate in our society, economy, and democracy. Likewise, liberal arts graduates are ready for the widest array of career options.

Our graduates are successful in establishing such a wide range of careers and becoming leaders of their organizations because of the core set of skills at the heart of our liberal arts education.

The infographic below shows the percentage of our living (undergraduate) alumni who are working in the major groupings of the economy.  We can see that the highest percentage of our alumni are working in business/finance, healthcare, higher education, government/military, IT/science/manufacturing, and law.

 

Infographic showing the percentage of alumni working in different sectors of the economy

 

 

From our 37,000 living alumni, we have many examples to share. These following lists sort our alumni’s employers into economic sectors in order to show the wide variety of places that our graduates take their skills and talents.

Business/Finance

  • President, Citizens Bank & Trust
  • Vice President, Merrill Lynch
  • Regional Field Manager, National General Insurance
  • Business Process Analyst, JP Morgan Chase
  • Senior Consultant for Talent Management, KPMG
  • Associate, Chism Strategies
  • Workforce Solution Consultant, Kronos
  • Agency Marketing Director, MassMutual North Carolina
  • President, Touchstone Strategic Consultants
  • Vice President of Administration, Orgill, Inc
  • President/CEO, Mississippi Health Partners
  • Owner, Square Books
  • Director of College Sports Marketing, Nike
  • Owner, Sledge & Company Financial
  • Graphic Designers and Creative Directors for Gap Inc, Marriott Hotels, Orca Coolers
  • VP for Design, Land’s End

Healthcare

  • Team Physician, Carolina Panthers
  • Veterinarian, Scenic Hill Veterinary Hospital
  • Chief Medical Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Pathologist, Mayo Clinic
  • Pharmacist, Greenwood Drugs
  • Physician, North Mississippi Medical Center
  • Dentist, Parker Family Dentistry
  • Executive Medical Director, Cherokee Nation
  • Oncologist, Alabama Oncology
  • Nurse, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
  • Pediatrician, Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children
  • Fertility Specialist, Fertility Associates of Memphis

Higher Education

  • Associate Professor of Microbiology, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Chairperson of Science Department, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
  • Professor of Philosophy, University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • Development and Alumni Relations, Vanderbilt University
  • Academic Mentor, University of Mississippi
  • Pediatric Genetic Counselor, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Clinical Research Nurse, Duke University Medical Center
  • Associate Provost, Belhaven University
  • Coordinator of Testing, Jackson State University
  • Professor and Chair of Psychology, Rhodes College
  • Instructor, Itawamba Community College
  • Assistant Professor of Ceramics, University of Utah

Government/Military/Protective Services

  • Prime Minister, Dominica
  • Director of Youth Services, MS Department of Human Services
  • Federal Agent, Department of Justice
  • Microbiologist, US Food and Drug Administration
  • Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy
  • US Secretary of the Navy
  • Staff on many committees in the US House and Senate
  • Flight Commander, ICBM Targeting, US Air Force
  • International Development Specialist, US State Department
  • Press Secretary, Office of Senator Roger Wicker
  • Aide-de-Camp, Office of Governor Bryant
  • Systems Analyst, US Army National Ground Intelligence
  • Mississippi State Auditor
  • Secret Service, White House
  • CEO, AAA Ambulance Service
  • Policy Analyst, US Department of Homeland Security, Office of the CFO
  • Facilitator of Development, City of Denton
  • Analyst, MS State Legislature: Joint Legislative Committee on Performance
  • Deputy Sheriff, Hinds County
  • Psychiatrist, National Institutes for Health
  • Biologist, MS Department of Wildlife & Fisheries

IT/Telecomm, Science, Engineering, Manufacturing, Energy

  • President, Duke Energy
  • Molecular Technologist, Arbor Diagnostics, Inc
  • Sales Representative, Stryker Spine
  • Director of Application Support, Coca-Cola
  • City Planner, City of Portland
  • Senior Vice President of Finance, C-Spire
  • Clinical Research Associate, IQVIA Human Data Science
  • Systems Engineer, IBM
  • Senior Radiochemist, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station
  • Rehabilitation Specialist, Sea Turtle Hospital
  • Research Scientist, Proctor & Gamble
  • Energy Systems Engineer, Lockheed Martin
  • Executive Sales Representative, Eli Lilly and Associates
  • Environmental Associate, Georgia Pacific Corp
  • Systems Engineer, Amoco
  • Senior Health Care Fellow, Mathematica

Legal

  • Associate Attorney, Brad Morris Law Firm
  • Victim/Witness Program Assistant, Charlottesville Attorney’s Office
  • Assistant US Attorney
  • Staff Counsel, MS Public Service Commission
  • Partner, Butler Snow
  • Law Clerk, US Court of Appeals
  • Field Representative and General Counsel, US Senate
  • Judge, 12 Chancery Court District
  • Assistant Attorney General, State of Tennessee
  • Investigator, Jackson County Public Defender’s Office
  • Attorney, North MS Rural Legal Services
  • Judge, US Court of Appeals

K-12 Education

  • teachers of every subject at every level throughout Mississippi, this region, and nation.
  • Superintendent, Vicksburg Warren School District
  • Principal, Senatobia Junior High School
  • Principal, Holly Springs School District
  • Teacher of Gifted & Talented, Memphis Catholic High School
  • Vice Principal, Quitman County School DIstrict
  • Principal, Jackson Preparatory

Arts/Design/Entertainment, Media & Communications

  • Designers starring on HGTV’s “Home Town”
  • Creative Directors at CNN and at FOCUS Brands
  • Graphic Designer, Churchill Downs, Walt Disney World, Isle of Capri Casino, and other entertainment venues
  • published and award winning novelists, music producers and songwriters
  • Professional Football Player, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Manager, Galerie d’ Art
  • many professional artists and actors
  • Webmaster, Oxford School District
  • Multimedia Specialist, Daily Journal
  • Sales, Prentice Hall College Publishing
  • Talent Manager, FuseFX
  • Associate Publicist, HarperCollins
  • Content Marketing Specialist, Turner Broadcasting Network
  • Master Planner, Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Director of Learning and Innovation, Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Interior Designer, Melissa Lacy Design
  • Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Walter Anderson Museum of Art
  • Programmer and Social Media Buyer, Frontier Media Strategies
  • Scenic Artist, Denver Center Theater Co
  • Producer, Our American Network

Community Services and Non-Profits

  • Digital Media Relations Manager, National Restaurant Association
  • Director of State Affairs, National Association of Health Underwriters
  • Pastor, First Baptist Church
  • Community Health Educator, Shannon Health System
  • Addiction Therapist, The Oxford Treatment Centre
  • Assistant to the Chief Of Staff, Republican National Committee
  • School Psychologist, Keystone Central School District
  • Outreach Coordinator and PAVA Coordinator, Disability Rights Mississippi
  • Coordinator of Community Support, American Cancer Society
  • Director of Philanthropy, Heifer International
  • many self-employed behavioral health
  • Senior VP, MS Hospital Association
  • Executive Director, US Chamber of Commerce
  • Researcher, UNITE HERE
  • Clinical Social Worker, Delta Community Mental Services
  • Academic Coach, Sunflower County Consolidated School District
  • Camp Director, Aloha Foundation

Hospitality/Food/Recreation and Personal Services

  • President, Vail Valley Tourism And Convention Bureau
  • Chef, Ruth Chris’s Steakhouse
  • Hotel Division Trainer & Manager, Beau Rivage
  • Wedding and Social Sales Manager, Four Seasons Resort Lana’i
  • Life Coach, Victory Beyond The Game
  • Enrichment Leader, Belmont Village Senior Living
  • Camp Director, Aloha Foundation
  • Co-Founder, Emmett Till Interpretive Center
  • Communications Manager, East Coast, Lyft
  • Executive Director, Oaks on Parkwood Assisted Living
  • Owner, Indulge Skin and Body Care
  • General Counsel, Hilton Hotels

Construction/Trades, Agriculture, Transportation

  • Pilot, Delta Airlines
  • President, Sustainable Construction, Inc.
  • Owner, Bernet Agricultural Services
  • Certified Crop Advisor, Farmer’s Supply Co-op
  • Director of Landscape Services, Urban Greenscapes
  • Construction Manager, Future Green Studio

 

The 2019 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey of leading executives provides the list of top attributes or skills desired in job candidates.   What is the number one skills desired every year?  Written communication.  See the rest of the skills listed on the table.  These are precisely the skills gained in a liberal arts education.

NACE JOB OUTLOOK 2019
Written Communication 82%
Problem-solving Skills 81%
Ability to Work in a Team 79%
Initiative 74%
Quantitative Skills 72%
Strong Work Ethic 71%
Oral Communication 67%
Leadership 67%
Detail-oriented 60%
Technical Skills 60%
Flexibility/Adaptability 58%
Computer Skills 55%
Interpersonal Skills 53%

 

The 2018 report, Fulfilling the American Dream: Liberal Education and the Future of Work, by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) provides a survey of the most valuable experiences desired among college graduates. Responses among executives and hiring managers with over 50% support are shown below.

 

MORE LIKELY TO HIRE EMPLOYEES WITH THESE EXPERIENCES: EXECUTIVES HIRING MANAGERS
Internship with a company/organization 93% 94%
Project in community with people from diverse backgrounds 72% 83%
Research project done collaboratively with peers 81% 81%
Service learning project with community organization 71% 78%
Advanced, comprehensive senior project/thesis 80% 76%
Multiple courses requiring significant writing assignments 82% 72%
Study abroad program 54% 47%

 

 

This survey showcases how communication skills, critical thinking, and working with a variety of people are still at the heart of our world needs.  And, employers want graduates who have gotten off campus and learned more about “the real world” by being in it.  Plan those college experiences, which are part of a liberal arts education, no matter your specific choice of a major.