In a recent online article on Yahoo Finance, author Rick Newman posits that there is “one vital skill, however, that transcends many jobs and fields and may be every worker’s best shot at financial security.” He says that this one “uberskill” is conceptualization, which he defines as “the ability to see how the elements of an abstract whole fit together and to identify problems that need to be addressed before other do.”
This uberskill is essential for getting ahead, he says, even though it is very hard to actually define what a “conceptualizer” is.
“There’s no standard definition of a conceptualizer,” he writes, “but employers usually recognize them as creative problem-solvers who see the big picture and make insightful connections in ways even a supercomputer can’t. They might have technical skills, but they also tend to read a lot, write well and show curiosity in many unrelated things.”
Christendom College’s challenging liberal arts program has been helping to produce “conceptualizers” by the hundreds over the past 37 years. The alumni of Christendom College, armed with their abilities to see the big picture, analyze data, think critically, and communicate with precision, have found that everything that Mr. Newman writes about to be the case.
“At Christendom we dove into the WHY,” says alumnus Bennett Ellis ’92, a philosophy major who works as a chief software architect and programmer for IBM. “The world is obsessed with the who, what, where, when and the how, but not really the why. Christendom taught us to seek and understand the causes. In the practical world, this gives a Christendom graduate the edge. Often this helps us to jump to the heart of the issue, or understand the subject matter more quickly and thoroughly than our peers. Christendom students also focus on abstract concepts. Software development deals with abstract and logical constructs, which also gives a me an edge in the technical world.”
Johns Hopkins Neuroscientist and philosophy major Phil O’Herron ’00 agrees.
“While I did not pick up the background information I needed to do my day-to-day work at Christendom, I think I picked up something that is a lot harder to get in any other way: learning how to think critically through problems and process arguments. A big part of science is being able to see the big picture surrounding an experimental result. A scientist has to fully process all the assumptions that go into a result and then be able to interpret the finding in light of what else is known. The scientist then needs to decide what would be the next best thing to test. Without these abilities, technical expertise will not get you very far. I think in studying philosophy and logic at Christendom, I had a lot of practice at analyzing arguments to see if conclusions were justified and, if not, what was missing.”
Christendom’s core curriculum, with its depth and breadth of courses, gives students the ability to study many diverse areas, which in turn, gives them the ability to see the big picture and conceptualize the answers to big problems.
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Greg Townsend, encourages anyone seeking to be great to consider Christendom College.
“Come and wrestle with the same ideas that the truly greats did, like Aristotle, Aquinas, Newman, and Chesterton, so that you can be great at anything you subsequently do.”
The article by Rick Newman on Yahoo Finance may be foundhere.