Christopher Marquez

Class of 1994

Current Position: President & CEO, National Capitol Contracting
Majors: English
Other Degrees: MBA, Indiana University Kelley School of Business
Current Location: McLean, VA

There are a lot of people with engineering, accounting and management backgrounds in the world of business, but it isn’t as common to have a background in the liberal arts. The number one advantage my liberal arts education provided me with was the ability to communicate. A lot of people are good oral communicators, but when it comes to writing I’ve found that people haven’t had as much experience and are more challenged in that department.

If you’re looking to enter the business arena right out of college, it can be a challenge having a liberal arts degree. However, if you’re smart and open to understanding the business principles that are out there, you really bring a unique set of skills to the table. In the business world, people are looking for a diverse set of talents, capabilities and viewpoints. A liberal arts background really helps differentiate you from the competition.

From an academic perspective, my liberal arts education gave me the opportunity to hone important skills, especially those involving critical thinking and writing. From a non-academic perspective, William & Mary provided me with an environment where I started to learn freedom and independence and how to operate on my own.

From a social standpoint, I made a lot of friends and kept a lot of those connections. Everywhere I go there is someone from William & Mary. People who I went to school with are getting into the upper echelons of government and business now, so those relationships are really bearing fruit today. Those true friendships that you have the opportunity to develop during your time at the university can be a great asset later in life.

My liberal arts education helped foster my desire to understand new topics and allowed me to develop an innate interest in talking to others about what things are, how they work and how they could be better. This way of thinking helps you connect with other people and understand their motivations — all very important in the business world.