The value of a philosophy minor from a business perspective

Photo Credit: Jack Straka
by Brooke Adam May 10, 2019

As an international business and finance double major, Jack Straka came to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to learn more about working with other cultures in the business world. However, after taking an introductory philosophy class he knew he needed to improve his reading and writing to round out his skill set. To hone those skills, he added a philosophy minor.

A philosophy course looks very different from one about business. As Straka said, “It was also the first time I have been in a classroom where the main process of learning has been a class discussion instead of lecturing or practicing equations.” Reading, writing, argumentation, and communication are all part of philosophy curriculum and translate into marketable skills after graduation.  

Philosophy courses develop many skills, but most of all they mold students into sophists. According to the American Philosophical Association, philosophy students learn to build their own viewpoints and defend them all while understanding the opposing argument and indicating why their own views are the better alternative. This develops students into better negotiators and salespersons. Straka can attest to this. “Hearing other people argue their points and defending my own has helped me grow in ways no other class has. This carried over to my other classes in the business college as I now defend my answers instead of stating them as a matter of fact. Through that process, I learn in a deeper way as I am able to see exactly where I went wrong when giving an incorrect answer as well as understanding that if I don't have a reason for giving that answer then there are gaps in my knowledge.”

Developing these skills are essential to future employers no matter what profession students chose. Philosophy students have gone into such professions as teaching at all levels, medicine, law, politics, computer science, management, publishing, sales, criminal justice, public relations, and many other fields. Straka plans to attend Nebraska’s College of Law and earn an MBA. “My goal is to work in international mergers and acquisitions. Working for a major corporation and applying the skills I have learned up to this point and those I hope to learn in the future will be satisfying and challenging.” Armed with the skills his business majors and philosophy minor bring to the table, Jack is sure to succeed.