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Tech Entrepreneur Michael Ortner Offers Advice to TAC Business Club

Tech Entrepreneur Michael Ortner Offers Advice to TAC Business Club

Posted: February 1, 2019

Prominent software entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Ortner visited with students of Thomas Aquinas College on Monday, presenting a talk entitled, “How to Connect Your Liberal Arts Education with IT Software & Business.”

The founder and former CEO of Capterra, an award-winning technology firm that connects buyers and sellers of business software, Mr. Ortner was quick to assure students that a liberal arts education is good preparation for the business world. “I did not go to college here, but I am a huge fan of the College,” he began. “So the first thing I want to do is commend everyone for not majoring in business. That was a great choice! I believe it’s completely unnecessary.”

Indeed, he continued, he was speaking from experience. “I learned more in each month on my first job than I did in my entire four years as a business major,” he continued. “So, to me, if you’re going to spend four years studying something, study something like this, what you guys are doing.” Among his current endeavors, he is chairman of Cana Academy, a nationwide organization which supports classical educators at all levels with resources and training.

“The beautiful thing about the liberal arts is it feeds into a couple of huge skills that are greatly needed, particularly in the business world, particularly in the tech world,” said Mr. Ortner. “The more you can understand the nature of humanity, that is only going to help you in building products that better serve man.” Likewise, he continued, the skills learned in the College’s classroom discussions are directly applicable in the marketplace. “Communicating well, verbally and in writing, is a hugely valuable skill that can be translated into the sales side, the client-service side, project management, product development, so many areas.”

The key, he stressed, is for liberally educated job-seekers to find those companies whose missions and cultures are best suited to their values and talents. “The business world needs liberal arts graduates,” he said. “There’s great opportunity if you’re smart about it, and you join the right companies that have good cultures and missions and products that you can get excited about. You can make a difference — and have a very fulfilling career.”

Mr. Ortner’s visit was sponsored by the Thomas Aquinas College Business Club, which brings in various speakers throughout the academic year. “You’re a thinker when you’re here at school,” he told the group of aspiring entrepreneurs. “Now you have to convert yourself in to a doer, being a person of action. To me, the ideal person of action is also a person who is a good thinker.”