"If you want to succeed in business, don't get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead."
- Matthew Stewart, "The Management Myth" (The Atlantic Monthly, June 2006)
It is sometimes said, "Philosophy bakes no bread." After all, how many Fortune 500 companies are advertising for philosophers? So, naturally one might wonder, what are my career options if I study philosophy? The answer here is simple: almost anything.
Many students of philosophy go on to pursue advanced degrees. A major or minor in philosophy serves as excellent preparation for pursuing advanced degrees in law, theology, business, and of course, the humanities.
In addition, studying philosophy is arguably essential for continued success in a career. This is because the study of philosophy develops two general skills that are vital for success in virtually any career field:
- the ability to think through a problem clearly, and
- the ability to communicate a solution effectively.
Whether one manages a small business, sets up computer networks, serves in law enforcement, or cares for terminally ill patients, these skills are crucial. Yet studying philosophy not only provides general career preparation, but in many cases specific preparation as well. Here are just a few examples:
- the student pursuing medicine will benefit from studying bioethics,
- the student pursuing art, film, or music will benefit from studying aesthetics, of the philosophy of music,
- the student pursuing literature will benefit from studying the philosophy of literature,
- the student pursuing law, or political science will benefit from studying the philosophy of law, or political philosophy
- the student pursuing business will benefit from studying business ethics,
- the student pursuing theology, or religion will benefit from studying the philosophy of religion,
- the student pursuing some arena of science will benefit from studying philosophy of science,
- the student pursuing computer science or engineering will benefit from studying logic, and
- the student pursuing psychology will benefit from studying the philosophy of mind.
In many ways, what you can do with philosophy is merely a matter of what you can do. A major or minor in philosophy is an ideal complement to almost any academic or career pursuit. Nevertheless, whatever career pursuit one chooses it is important to insure that one is making the right preparations. For more information on career preparation contact the FSU Career Center.
In the meantime, consider the possibility of studying philosophy and see what you can do with it! For more information contact the Undergraduate Advisor.