The other day, I saw an article on Bloomberg on what I took to be a pretty unusual business degree: an MBA in Wine. It’s offered by Sonoma State University (which makes plenty of vineyard-y sense). Across the pond, there are a couple of business in/of wine degrees offered, including one from the Burgundy School of Business.
For those looking to own or run a winery, the degree from Sonoma State makes sense, as it’s very focused on networking with wine biz execs.
John Stayton, executive director of SSU’s graduate and executive business programs, points out that many of their graduates are now in executive roles, or are even winery owners.
In other words, the courses are a good way to skip the traditional ladder-climbing in learning to run a winery, which usually starts with pouring wine in a tasting room or working in the office. For owners, they offer a quick way to gain essential knowledge, whether their wineries are tiny startups or entail lavish investments. (Source: Bloomberg)
MBA’s didn’t used to offer such pinpoint concentrations, at least not when I was in business school. Not that I actually have an MBA. When I was at Sloan/MIT, ahh, nearly 40 years ago, they didn’t offer an MBA degree. You got a Master of Science in Management, which no one in the hiring world understood unless they’d also gone to Sloan. My class was a big advocate for normalizing the program, and shortly after, Sloan started conferring MBA degrees.
My concentrations were completely geeky: Applied Economics and Applied Marketing, which set me up perfectly for my first post-
MBA MSM job developing forecasting models for the corporate world. Talk about geeky. (Talk about nonsense…)
Anyway, the article on the wine MBA got me wondering just what other out-of-the-ordinary degrees there are out there.
The Google brought me to a piece on Fastweb on “weird-but-cool” college majors. As someone with a decidedly non-weird/non-cool undergraduate degree in Sociology (with a Political Science minor), I was naturally intrigued.
To get a degree in Adventure Education, I wouldn’t have to go that far. Just up to New Hampshire to Plymouth State, where I could take courses in fundamentals of rock climbing and canoe paddling.
There are a couple of schools where you can get a degree in Astrobiology, which is an “exploration of life outside of Earth.” Since we’re currently on the glide path to wrecking this Earth, I’m delighted that there are students studying planetary habitability.
There’s a community college that offers a degree in Auctioneering. Among other things, you learn the “auctioneer’s chant”. Forget economics. This is something that my husband could have easily taught. No, he never actually worked as an auctioneer, But he went to plenty of tobacco auctions when he worked on his uncle’s tobacco farm in Western “Massachusetts. (Yes, there are tobacco farms hereabouts. They grow shade tobacco used for cigar wrappers.) And Jim had a fast mouth. One of his parlor tricks was doing a tobacco auction spiel. “Gimme twenty-dollar bid…”
Carnegie Mellon offers a degree in Bagpiping, which qualifies you to work as a bagpiper or teach bagpiping. As long as there are Irish-American cops and firefighters in particular, and Irish-Americans (and Scots-Americans) in general, I suppose there’ll be a demand. Last Saturday I did a walk for ALS run by one of those Irish-Americans, and we had a piper (kilt and all) piping for us at the halfway mark.
Bakery Science is offered at Kansas State, where you can take a course in flour and dough testing. Which seems a lot more practical than getting a degree in Beatles, Popular Music and Society. It’s gear! It’s fab! It’s offered at – where else? - Liverpool (UK) Hope University. And it sets you up to become a Beatles historian. (This is a career path?)
Hipsters aside, I’ve read that bowling is on its way out as an activity. So it might not make all that much sense to study Bowling Industry Management and Technology and take courses like pinsetter maintenance. Job prospects would be, I imagine, pretty grim. A stat I found in USA Today from a few years back says that:
From 1998-2013, the number of bowling alleys in the U.S. fell to 3,976 from 5,400, or by about 26%.
There will, I suspect, always be a demand for a Citrus degree, however. So Florida Southern College will likely keep offering courses like citrus grove management.
At Duke, you can get a degree in Canadian Studies. They have a program that “seeks to provide the student with an understanding of Canada.” Talk about something I’d like to understand. We look an awful lot alike. So how’d they get to be them while we got to be us? The degree qualifies you to teach or work in a museum. I propose that they add a course in why Canada gets Justin Trudeau and we get Donald Trump, and another course in applying for immigration. Eh?
Chemical Hygiene and Safety seems like a safe career bet, as there will always be science labs to run. At least I think so. Science still exists, no? At least it must in Canada.
Plenty more interesting degrees where these came from. Pink Slip will be back with a few more of them on Monday.