College of Arts & Science at Miami University
"Study Something That You Love"
(with Robert Essner, September 2010)
A full text transcript of the video is available below.
(In this video Robert Essner (Miami, '69), former chairman and CEO of Wyeth Laboratories, talks about the connection between his history major and his career. Mr. Essner talks about securing that first job in a video on the CAS Advising website. Robert Essner was a February 2012 recipient of the Miami University Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award.)
"What's the connection between studying history and running a large industrial research corporation? And probably the content of the study of history had very little to do with it.
"You know, being able to know the date of something or why something happened or understanding ancient history (Greek and Roman history) probably didn't mean that much, but the skills that I picked up learning to be an historian probably helped me: the ability to find data, to amass data, to analyze data, to be critical of sources.
"In business, one person will tell you one thing. Someone else will tell you something else and, you know, with an historian's training, sometimes you can get to something that approximates the truth.
"So, I think my advice would be study something that you love, study something that you'll be good at and then just from all the people that I've known in my life and all the careers that I've watched closely, talented people with energy, with some skills and with a sense of how to make their way in the world can do very well, no matter where you start."