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Why Philosophy?

Why Philosophy?

The following is a statement from Jordan Kotick when he was Vice-President of J.P. Morgan Chase:

After four years and a Bachelor of Arts Degree under my belt (with a major in philosophy), I realized there was more philosophical work to be done. I decided to go to Graduate School. You can only imagine the reaction I received when I announced that I was going to spend the next two years beginning and hopefully completing my Master of Arts Degree in Philosophy. They shouted “Philosophy? What are you going to do with that?”

…of late, I have been pursuing a top job at one of the leading investment banks in the world. This position was “short listed” to 150 people as interviews went on concurrently in various countries around the globe. At the end of the process, I received the offer and am now working in New York as a Senior Strategist at one of Wall Street's leading firms. After accepting the offer, I asked the Board, who ultimately made the final decision, why I was chosen above the others. Without blinking an eye, the Head of the Strategic Hiring Committee stated a list of reasons, the very first of which was “Out of all the people we considered, you were the only one who studied philosophy, not to mention having a master’s degree in it. That told us immediately that you can think outside the box.”

  • Philosophy explores fundamental issues about truth, ethics, God and human nature, and it helps students work out the foundations of their faith and rationally defend it. It also teaches students logical reasoning and reading comprehension skills, both of which are essential to success in nearly any desirable career.
  • The ability to think carefully and logically is a great personal benefit in a student’s personal and spiritual development. It expands students’ views of the world, helps them make sound, well-reasoned decisions and helps them live consciously with a power of rational self-governance instead of merely absorbing the beliefs and opinions of those around them.
  • A philosophy major provides ideal preparation for law school or seminary, and for careers in business, education, medical school, computer science, public service, management, or any other profession requiring careful thinking and problem-solving skills. On average, philosophy majors score higher than any other major except Mathematics and Physics on the LSAT and GMAT graduate admissions tests. They also outscore any other major on the verbal and analytical sections of the GRE. Philosophy majors similarly outscore any other humanities major, and any major in education or the social sciences except for economics, on the GRE quantitative section. As a result, philosophy majors’ overall GRE scores rank fifth out of all majors, bested, in order, only by physics and astronomy, mathematical sciences, materials engineering, and chemical engineering.
  • While the starting median salary for graduates with philosophy majors is only a fairly standard $40,000, the mid-career median salary is a very solid $76,700, which is well above the norm. Accordingly, regarding preparation for graduate school and career preparation, philosophy fares very well.
    [Data from http://www.payscale.com/2009-best-colleges/degrees.asp, 2009]
  • The requirements of the philosophy major and minor are well-suited to combining them with other majors, such as business, pre-med, history, English and computer science.