Michella Chiu (B.A., M.A., A.B.D.) is a history major who went on to pursue successful careers in Marketing, PR, Business Management and Higher Education. She holds graduate degrees from Columbia University and Princeton University, and is a member of Columbia University’s Career Coaches Network. She also holds a certificate in Strategic Leadership Skills as Supervisors from University of Washington. She currently works as the Director of Brand Marketing at GREAT WINE, Inc.
1. Why did you decide to pursue a career in history?
At the very beginning, it was because I loved it. I decided to pursue history degrees when I was in junior high school. At the time, I already had a study group where every member wanted to become a historian or a literature professor. We became best friends on our academic path. Later, I left for another career but I am still grateful that I received training in history.
2. What do you think is an underrated benefit of studying history?
Many people think history is about memorizing facts and dates. In reality, history is perfect training for critical thinking. Historians are trained not to believe what they are told, to instead find facts to support an argument. It is always interesting to see how I myself, in my current role in marketing, still adopt “history thinking” to learn how people consume an idea in the commercial world. I always tell fellow marketers on my team that “every idea is constructed”, which is Strategic Communications 101. History is also the perfect training for writing with supreme organization. Besides training other marketers on my team, I teach college students writing.
3. What advice would you give to students who want to study history and go down the history career path?
Think about whether or not you would like to eventually get a Ph.D., or whether or not you would like to teach. A Ph.D. in History is largely training for academics and professors-to-be. If you are not sure if that’s the way you want to go, complete a lower degree first and get a job. Go for the ceiling degree only when you are sure about your career goals. Having said so, history training will benefit you for a long time.