Copied from USA Today Website, published in USA Today 2/18/99
 

                  02/18/99- Updated 09:59 AM ET
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                 Hot asset: Anthropology degrees

                 By Del Jones, USA TODAY

                 Don't throw away the MBA degree yet.

                 But as companies go global and crave leaders for a diverse workforce,
                 a new hot degree is emerging for aspiring executives: anthropology.

                 The study of man is no longer a degree for museum directors. Citicorp
                 created a vice presidency for anthropologist Steve Barnett, who
                 discovered early warning signs to identify people who don't pay credit
                 card bills.

                 Not satisfied with consumer surveys, Hallmark is sending
                 anthropologists into the homes of immigrants, attending holidays and
                 birthday parties to design cards they'll want.

                 No survey can tell engineers what women really want in a razor, so
                 marketing consultant Hauser Design sends anthropologists into
                 bathrooms to watch them shave their legs.

                 Unlike MBAs, anthropology degrees are rare: one undergraduate
                 degree for every 26 in business and one anthropology Ph.D. for every
                 235 MBAs.Textbooks now have chapters on business applications.
                 The University of South Florida has created a course of study for
                 anthropologists headed for commerce.

                 Motorola corporate lawyer Robert Faulkner got his anthropology
                 degree before going to law school. He says it becomes increasingly
                 valuable as he is promoted into management.

                 "When you go into business, the only problems you'll have are people
                 problems," was the advice given to teen-ager Michael Koss by his
                 father in the early 1970s.

                 Koss, now 44, heeded the advice, earned an anthropology degree
                 from Beloit College in 1976, and is today CEO of the Koss headphone
                 manufacturer.

                 Katherine Burr, CEO of The Hanseatic Group, has masters in both
                 anthropology and business from the University of New Mexico.
                 Hanseatic was among the first money management programs to predict
                 the Asian crisis and last year produced a total return of 315% for
                 investors.

                 "My competitive edge came completely out of anthropology," she
                 says. "The world is so unknown, changes so rapidly. Preconceptions
                 can kill you."

                 Companies are starving to know how people use the Internet or why
                 some pickups, even though they are more powerful, are perceived by
                 consumers as less powerful, says Ken Erickson, of the Center for
                 Ethnographic Research.

                 It takes trained observation, Erickson says. Observation is what
                 anthropologists are trained to do.
 
 

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