"A business man can learn a great deal from a study of Economics," declared D. F. Edwards, head of the SacoLowell Textile Company, in an interview yesterday. "Of course there is no substitute for an inherent ability to handle business, but a knowledge of economics enables one to get a broad view of our extremely complicated modern business system.
"A great teacher of English once said in effect that the only way to learn to write the English language is to write it. It can also be said that the only way to learn to be a business man is to go into active business and learn by experience.
"But the English student who does his practice writing under critical guidance and thus acquires some knowledge of theory and principles has an advantage over the man who is self-taught. It is the same in business."
Mr. Edwards, who took his Master of Arts degree in Economics in 1906 and was at one time an associate professor in the Business School, pointed out that a successful career as a student of Economics is no guarantee of an equally successful business career. "Energy, natural capacity, and qualities of temperament and character," he said, "are far more important factors in the determination of a successful business career than any kind of formal instruction. Many men, richly endowed in these respects but wholly without any formal training, have been and will continue to be tremendously successful. But, other things being equal, instruction in Economics should help a great deal.
"Through practical experience the beginner in business accumulates in piecemeal fashion a growing mass of concrete bits of knowledge. If this lies in his mind as a jumbled pile of more or less unrelated facts and experiences, it won't help him much or enable him to go very far. But if he has some capacity for generalization and seeing things broadly in outline and some ability to think in terms of principles and policies, he will in time be able to work out a pattern or program into which he can fit his accumulated fragments of knowledge in much the same way as the pieces of a picture puzzle fall into place, and thus give them far more meaning and value than they would otherwise have. The ability to do this is necessary for executive work in the planning and administration of the affairs of a business, and the study of Economics should certainly help to develop this ability."