Why is a liberal arts degree useless? 21

I like Kevin. I really do. He is absolutely cold & harsh assxxxx but you know what I like about him? He is honest and straight to the point. Whether he is right or wrong is your decision to make. People want to believe what they want to believe so this video is maybe bitter to swallow for some people. He does not care about your feeling or anything but may make us at least look into the mirror once.

I love music and wanted to be a musician when I was younger however I think I made a great decision not going to that route and took the music as a hobby. I like my current job in the accounting field and I love and enjoy my hobby for more than anything and glad that I am able to support my family and invest for the future from the money that I earn from my current job.

My wife has a typical liberal arts degree, Master of fine arts in Sculpture so she did not really like the video and seemed to be upset at first when watched the video but she kinda agrees with Kevin. What about you? What do you think about the statement that Kevin made? Do you agree with him?

The original link is from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/video/video-ask-oleary-why-is-a-liberal-arts-degree-useless/article22829634/

Leave a Reply

21 thoughts on “Why is a liberal arts degree useless?

  • No More Waffles


    Liberal arts BA and MA reporting in!
    (Before I commence though, I should note that I also hold two other MA degrees and that university education nearly isn’t as expensive over here.)

    People saying that “liberal arts degrees are useless” are dead-wrong. Yes, from a financial standpoint it might not make much sense because society strongly undervalues these degrees, but they are absolutely essential to a thriving and vibrant society and community. Look at how first France and then Germany have been a major international player simply because of their cultural presence. On top of that, many liberal arts students are some of the nation’s brightest and most critical minds.

    Now, if you had to take on a lot of debt without any clear job outlook, that would be a different story. Maybe first study something that gets you a decent job, then follow your dreams. Or don’t, and just be really good at what you do in the field of liberal arts and you’ll always find a job.

    Thanks for bringing this controversial topic to attention,

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Thanks for stopping by No More Waffles. I completely agree with you. Liberal arts degrees are absolutely essential to a vibrant society and the people with the degrees have positively creative mindsets (including my wife Haha) that help its culture flourish. I feel that the society we live in is structured unfairly and financially value more on businesses (or business related degrees) but we should never forget that the businesses exist because of the vibrant cultures that we built through diversity.

    • Holiness in HistoryDanny

      Bright, critical minds caused scurvy epidemics, puerperal fever epidemics, and need I bring up the biggest mass poisoning product of the world, the element lead? Rome fell due to Christianity and lead poisoning.

      Germany has been a major player because of their OCCULT influence. Read the bible, they lose out as a “goat” nation. France could not figure out scurvy, took an Iroquois who saved Jacques Cartier to reintroduce the correct concept of the “Tree of Life.” You say “culture” as if epidemics, holocausts, and the French revolution were……speed bumps. Minor hitches.

      Critical thinking is just that-critical of every truth handed down by God and oblivious to the spiritual elements of His laws and His creation. Of course, it is okay to disagree, “critical” Marxists programmed thinking demands it.

      I would rather shock someone with truth than coddle them with a delusion. There is a God, His name is Jesus, and he loves you.
      @vitaminCbible on twitter

      Most liberal arts could be de-funded and the world would be a better, safer place. Go to trade school, my boss is a Jewish carpenter!

  • Tawcan

    I think having an Arts degree is fine, it’s what you do with it afterwards. Some people I know end up getting a law degree to pursuit a different career. While some people used the Arts degree to pursuit their dream and have made pretty good money.

  • Vivianne

    That’s pretty much what my parents preached when I was younger. My Dad wanted me to get a title degree nurse, accountant, plumber, welder, etc. they discouraged us to learn to do art works, encouraged us to do well in math and science. Anyhow, I think arts would fulfill me. As I grow up, I pick up piano, and language.

    But western culture, we let our kids do whatever they want to do. So ehhehehe it would be hard to change this mind set.

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Yeah. Exactly. I remember most of the parents back in Korea want their kids to be doctors, lawyers, accountants whatnot however I realized that in Canada the pressure is a lot less and parents want their kids to choose whatever they want to rather than stereotypical money making careers to be miserable. Hoping the mindset continues in western culture.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Kunal

        My parents luckily were different. They told me to do what I loved which is automotive work (custom, welding, paint) and now im in Mechanical Engineering doing a technical degree, as well as opening my own place and starting my own company. I feel that much of my generation isnt motivated to be creative or do what they like. Its kind of expected at least where I live (Toronto) to be a doctor, engineer, CA, etc. But i know the majority of students dont understand how money and real life works. An arts degree is fine if you really love it, but you shouldn’t expect it to repay your educational debt, at least not immediately. Kevin is completely correct on what hes saying.

        • Be Smart Rich Post author

          Thanks for stopping by and share your opinions with us Kunal, I appreciate it. People will learn when they actually live in it. People will make mistakes and take many wrong turns but what distinguishes between successful people and not is whether they enjoy what they do, make a living and support their family. I am glad you shared your personal experience which I really enjoy reading. Come by often so that we all can learn from your insights.



  • George

    Yeah. Liberal arts degrees are generally useless when it comes to return on investment though there could be one off exceptions for very successful people. Im thankful that I came from a third world socialist country where my parents and even my stupid young self saw how useless these liberal arts degrees were to escape the rat race (my mom majored in english) and instead got me to focus on engineering and staying competitive. My skills were so much in demand that I was fortunate enough to have an american company pluck me out of that socialist hit home 8 years ago when k was just 25. Today I’m a happy immigrant with plenty of cash flow and increasing networth. And my wife? Nope…she didn’t do an arts degree either. . went for a professional degree and pursued being a surgeon. She is 100k in student debt but the RoI has already covered that part.

    Liberal art degrees can be pursued after you pick up real skills and if they cost of tuition is free or a few pennies. Sorry, just being real. Life is hard.

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Thanks for your excellent and honest real life example George. I truly appreciate it. I agree on so many things that you said. I don’t want to admit it but it is a bitter and cold truth when it comes to money. This is just way this society has shaped up which is unfair. That being said, people with liberal arts degree make this society vibrant and colorful that results this world to be a little more interesting place to live. I love watching my wife working on her art projects as I often think she is a pure genius and crazy.

      • George

        I have no issues with liberal arts and I’m fine with people taking it. I enjoy some forms of art too but what I can’t stand is when people aren’t real and complain that they can’t get the job they wanted or pay off student debt or make ends meet and then blame everyone else except themselves for their career decision. They think that having a college degree in anything somehow makes them entitled to a job. Then they start talking in terms of a job being an entitlement society owes them and the need for living wages and like one guardian article i read, the guy wants a stipend from the government to pursue free lance writing and musc because he can barely make ends meet and it’s artists like him that add to culture or some self ego boosting nonsense like that. Hey, take ownership of your decisions! Life is hard! My first job after I completed software engineering paid me nothing. Zero. ZERO. I had to work, gain experience and then prove that I’m worth paying for and if they still didn’t pay me, I would seek greener pastures. That’s the real world out there…Americans have it so good here. Sorry, just being real again. That’s what I went through to get a job and move up the economic ladder because I started with nothing. I learned a few things in life along the way

        10-18 is when you learn and discover what you want to be and you get moulded by your upbringing

        18-25 is when you should invest in yourself. If you don’t do anything stupid and work hard while also enjoying life, you are set in the right direction for life ahead. If you do stupid things (chase dumb women, drugs, crime, stupid friends, rack up debt etc), you set yourself back by 5 years or more on every count of stupidity.

        25-30 by now, your value system is largely entrenched in you and you know what it takes based on what you invested from 18-25 and if you make the right decisions without goofing off – you are set for life and will be guaranteed for success unless some catastrophe beyond your control happens

        If you goof off at this time, you are screwed and messed up for the rest of your life. You made bad decisions and will have to struggle your way out of consequences that could have been avoided by using consequences. You may recover but you lost lot of time and reaources trying to patch things up.

        I’ve seen too many people on both sides of the equation to learn this.

        • George

          You made bad decisions and will have to struggle your way out of consequences that could have been avoided by using *consequences.

          *Should read “common sense”

        • Be Smart Rich Post author

          You are totally right George. People should be more accountable for the decisions that they made rather than complain about the jobs and careers that they chose. Life is tough and making money is tougher. People need to be smarter about the decisions that they make and more determined and harder working if they decide to choose to be an artiest or musicians. Ceteris paribus, tougher life will be ahead of them and they will have to make up for it by working really hard and smart.
          Thanks so much for your great opinions here in my website and hope to see you around here more often George.

          Keep cracking,


          • Iam Fearless

            “People should be more accountable for the decisions that they made”

            Why does this seemingly have to be a one way street though?

            When someone takes a decision and it really fucks up someone else’s life, why not bring the hammer down on them too?

            It’s like being in a car accident and letting the other driver walk away.

  • Larissa

    IA with Kevin that more people should be going to technical schools and college, but to push people away from liberal degrees and get them to pursue STEM degrees isn’t really any better. Unless you’re pursuing a career in engineering or computer science, science degrees are not any better. You can’t get a job unless you pursue graduate studies, and with the amount of time, money and work required to even get a tenured, research position (if you can find one!), people with science degrees can also be in significant amount of debt.

    Liberal degrees aren’t completely useless, I have friends with degrees in English and Communications who have gotten jobs and internships in large companies and big firms such as Penguin and Deloitte. They did this through internships and extracurricular work. The key message here is that high schools and universities need to stop brainwashing financially illiterate 17/18 year olds that getting a degree = job, and they need to start emphasizing the importance of co-ops and internships.

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      Thank you so much for sharing your opinions. I do strongly agree with you that science degree is as tough as other liberal arts degrees in getting a job that supports him/her financially better off than technical and business degrees. There are far too many people with liberal arts degrees and science degrees that are pursuing only limited opportunities. It is purely supply and demand and it will challenge them throughout their lives. I think Co-ops and internships are excellent way to prove themselves before getting into the job market as long as they are paid ones as I really don’t like the ideas of unpaid Co-ops and internships. Would I want to work for the company and start my career that takes advantages on students that are trying really hard to get their feet into the job market? My answer is no. The companies should be shamed. Getting back into the main subject, Co-ops and internships will also be challenging for liberal arts and science degree students if they are applying for is not what they have studied as technical and business degree students will get their first shots. I may have to admit bitterly that what Kevin said is right. Our societies have been built in a way that rewards technical and business degree students more than liberal arts degree students.


  • Dan


    I’m sorry, but Kevin O Leary makes noise for the sake of making noise. Plenty of fortune 500 CEO’s with Liberal arts degrees, including, Howard Schultz, Mike Eisner, Carly Fiorina, John Mackey, Steve Ells, etc.

    My grandfather used to have a great expression for people like Kevin O Leary, empty vessels make the most sound. Best to watch him on mute if you have to watch him.

    On the subject of super-investors, one of the super-investors profiled in “Value Investing: From Graham to Buffet and Beyond”, Glenn Greenberg originally got a Liberal Arts degree in English and was a principal for a number of years before venturing into fund management. His track record would put Kevin O Leary to shame.

    • Be Smart Rich Post author

      I totally understand how you feel on Kevin. He is noisy but at least he provides an opportunity for us to look back and make us think about it. It may be true that there are so many great people from art degrees but there are large percentages of people who are constantly rethinking of their career and not directly utilizing what they have learned in the university. I love arts and I have a huge respect for my wife who has a master of sculpture degree and I am very certain that the years of efforts put into learning arts are worth it but at the same time, I feel bad that our society’s unfairness of recognizing people with different artistic talents. Hope things improve. Thanks for your opinions on this. I really appreciate it.