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Liberal Arts Degrees Could Lead to CFO Career

Liberal Arts Degrees Could Lead to CFO Career

While the standard career path towards becoming a financial executive involves majoring in finance or accounting in college, obtaining a graduate degree and earning a CPA, reports that liberal arts graduates may now have an opportunity as well.


According to a blog post written by David McCann of, the fact that the CFO job description has begun to take on more responsibilities, including strategic planning and human resources, suggests that liberal arts majors may be in higher demand.

The mix of broad knowledge of a number of fields and specific intelligence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is something that ultimately makes a CFO successful.

"It's an ongoing debate," Dr. Jane Robbins, a senior lecturer at the University of Arizona, told McCann. "Steve Jobs thinks it's all about the liberal-arts degree, and Bill Gates thinks it's the STEM fields. What Jobs is saying is that it's not enough to learn narrow, domain-specific content, that you want people who have a more liberal way of thinking and the kinds of generalist analytical skills that come with it."

One example of CFOs using their liberal arts degree to make it to the C-suite is Alison Clark-Hardesty, the regional and affiliate CFO for UMB Bank Colorado, who majored in English with a minor in education, according to the Denver Business Journal.