Business and the History Major

History on the Hill

“History on the Hill is a new Holy Cross newsletter published by History majors in order to highlight the range of work, experience, and reflections of history majors. It supplements the existing student-run journal, Of Life and History: The Undergraduate History Journal of the College of the Holy Cross. Professor Rupakheti, who played a pivotal role in initiating the journal, is also shepherding this new project. But, unlike the journal, History on the Hill is run by first-year and second-year students. We hope it provides opportunities for history majors to share their experience, knowledge, and reflection on various facets of their academic and non-academic life as history majors. At the same time, we also see this project serving as an information resource for the prospective majors.” – Mission statement from the first edition of the newsletter, written by Dennis Liu ’22 and Holly Tente ’23.

Spring 2021: History on the Hill Article “Business and the History Major”

If you are a History major interested in learning about business, consider the Ciocca Center’s Business Certificate Program! Alumni, staff, and faculty have united to form the structure of the 1) Certificate in Business Fundamentals, 2) Certificate in Finance and Banking, and 3) Certificate in Entrepreneurship Programs. Students can embark on any of these three tracks and learn about business experientially by interacting with alumni, industry professionals and some faculty through several workshops. In addition to completing these workshops, you will take three Holy Cross courses from a provided, extensive list, participate in an internship and job shadowing program, and finish an advanced Excel tutorial. All of these modules provide a crucial business foundation, especially for humanities students.

The Certificate in Business Fundamentals students are able to improve their presentation and decision-making skills in general business through experiential learning. Students attain a solid business foundation by learning technical skills in global supply chain management, marketing communications, decision-making, and presentation. This is an especially valuable certificate for History majors that would like to dip their toe into business but would prefer to avoid accounting and economics courses. The Certificate in Finance and Banking students take a deep dive into the institutional framework and career specializations of finance and banking by visiting top banks and investment management companies in New York and Boston with alumni professionals as their mentors. They learn how to leverage their liberal arts background for this competitive industry and convey their value proposition to future employers. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship students explore innovation. They have the opportunity to build on their liberal arts curriculum while learning the fundamentals of starting a venture and keeping a company relevant in this fast-changing world. Common Questions About the Business Certificate Program:

Q: How can you make the certificate work for you and fit your potential career aspirations?
A: Each certificate offers ways for you to showcase to future employers that you have skills and experience that go beyond the classroom. The workshops provide you with a basic level of business literacy as well as the opportunity to polish your business competencies, skills, and professional traits. These programs will also help you to leverage your liberal arts education and connect it to the world beyond academia.

Q: How will this program prepare you for the world of business?
A: There are multiple ways in which the certificate programs will help you in the business world. Apart from gaining great insights into your chosen program and how business works for that specific industry, you will gain access to a professional network of alumni and coaches. The different workshops will help with presentation and public speaking skills, teamwork, as well as how to effectively disagree. Overall, you will feel prepared, and will have the confidence and knowledge essential to land an internship or job in today’s competitive market.

Q: Why is it better to come from a liberal arts school than to go to a business school?
A: Holy Cross being liberal arts encourages you to explore and engage within numerous fields, which can prove to be useful in connecting with people from different academic and career backgrounds, contributing to the diversity of thought which is crucial to a well-balanced workplace. Additionally, a liberal arts school teaches you to think critically, articulate yourself well, and solve problems by “thinking outside the box.” These positive attributes of a Holy Cross education, combined with the skills and experience you gain through the workshops offered in the Ciocca Center’s certificates, will give you a strong foundation to build upon once you enter the workforce.

Q: Does my choice of academic major matter to business employers?
A: Employers primarily want to hire people who show interest in their business, are intelligent and willing to be trained, can work well with others, and are motivated to improve. What you major in college is less important in comparison (unless you are interviewing for jobs that require specialized training, such as accounting, engineering, etc.). It is important to be able to articulate “transferable skills” that you’ve learned from your major (writing, reading, research, attention to detail, oral presentation, etc.).

Q: How early should I get involved in the program?
A: Starting as early as freshman year, you are encouraged to get involved and participate over the course of your four-year college career. Not sure where to start? Consider the Fullbridge Professional Edge program, an introductory immersive workshop, as the first step in completing the certificate. If you are considering this program as a sophomore or junior, there is still plenty of time to complete the requirements. Seniors who want to participate in specific programs should contact the Ciocca Center ( to discuss registration because acceptance is typically given to students who are in a certificate program.

“As a History major interested in pursuing a career in the film industry, I wanted to make sure I had a solid foundation in business before leaving Holy Cross. The Certificate in Business Fundamentals has opened my eyes to so many possibilities as to how I can utilize my History major skills in case documentary work does not become my ultimate path. I urge all History students to consider this program because it truly helps to transform your resume and make it much more well-rounded.” – Holly Tente, Class of 2023, History major, Film Studies minor, Certificate in Business Fundamentals

“Incorporating the Pre-Business program with my History major and wider Holy Cross education has served as a means with which to utilize my developing skills and unearth new abilities, both of which will be essential to any direction in which I travel after my time on the Hill. I’ve been able to apply my writing and research skills to practical dilemmas from across the business world, as well as collaborate with many of my peers for projects and presentations, which in turn has allowed me to hone my abilities in communication and teamwork. While my exact career trajectory remains a work in progress, connecting with the Ciocca Center, and supplementing my academic program with these valuable workshops, courses, and experiences, has unmistakably instilled skills which will serve me well in any professional environment.” – Alex Kanya, Class of 2022, History major, Rhetoric and Composition minor, Certificate in Business Fundamentals

Check out the Holy Cross History department web page to learn more about where History majors end up following graduation. As you will see, many enter business roles!