Originally Posted by kxk
You could say something substantially similar for most college majors, including business. outside the fields where you need equipment/facilities, the substantive stuff can easily be learned on your own, and even through lectures of "famous" professors through the use of iTunes U or MIT's opencourseware (and I think a few other schools do something similar).
If anything, liberal arts education is what should be taught in a college setting precisely because it's not about "What year did the WWI begin?" or the impact of using LIFO or FIFO in keeping track of your inventory. Shoot, even my public high school didn't teach history that way. The entire point of liberal arts education isn't to teach you the material, but rather the pursuit and the process--something that is abstract (and yes, in and of it self, useless) to a point that one does stand to benefit from dialogue and debate from professors and classmates.
No, numbers and sciences aren't easy--and they do hire math and science majors for positions that actually require hard numbers and real science skills. On the other hand, most business positions require a lot less mathematical ability than some would have you believe. Even less important than ability, depth of understanding--at least the kind that requires one to fill his entire undergraduate curriculum with "business" classes.
So you're saying the point of college then, is to engage in scholarly debate and dialogue and develop skills in that manner. Great--I'm on board, however I challenge you to find universities where most classes are structured in a manner such as this. I went to a halfway decent university (USNews ranked it in the top 50, anyways) and I would say only 1/3 of my liberal arts classes were structured this way. The rest were simply lecture, paper, test, lecture. My business classes inspired debates about ethics, social responsibility, and creative problem solving, where as my liberal arts classes rarely inspired anything beyond sleep from the other students.
If this is the philosophy that provosts of universities stand by, they are doing a piss poor job. I will never forget my Philosophy of Ethics class when my prof would basically run through a series of 10 questions and we were supposed to debate them. Question asked, no hands raised, just bored looks on student faces. Uninspired. Sad, but participation is perceived as lame and talking in the back of the class is cool. Students come out of college learning how to cram for tests, how to conduct self-serving research for their crappy papers, and how to drink. Well, one of those important.
Lastly, I acknowledge your point about about many business jobs not needing as much math as you think. I wasn't trying to prove the worth of a numbers-based degree as much as I was trying to disprove the worth of a liberal arts degree.