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Philosophy Alumni Spotlight PHIL McWILLIAMS

Phil began his studies as a biology major, but was also interested in exploring courses in communications and religious studies. As a means of fulfilling a general education requirement, Phil took an upper division Philosophy class and was "quickly hooked."

I was looking for underlying truths, truths behind appearances. The dialectical process was incredibly appealing to me and I still believe that it is a superb method for getting closer to "truths"-- or at least getting better explanations.

Phil considered Law School after graduation but decided upon a very different and somewhat unorthodox path for a philosophy major: he went to work for an oil drilling company. The pay was good and there was plenty of overtime, something important given that Phil had a new family to take care of.

It became clear very early that Phil's training in Philosophy was a unique advantage in the world of business:

First, I could write a clear and organized memo. Think that's a simple skill? Believe me it isn't, and many don't possess the ability to do it. Along with critical thinking and writing skills I had acquired the ability to change my perspectives, to "think outside the box". For employers these are highly valued skills. I was promoted, and promoted, and promoted again.

Phil offers some advice for prospective majors who fear that a major in philosophy might not be marketable:

You may have heard the old saw that "Philosophy bakes no bread". Well, it's not true. You can make money being a Philosopher. I did. Over the years I used my philosophical training and skills to succeed as a manager, a vocational school Administrator, and in my own business as a Grant Writer. It even gave me an edge in trading stocks and commodities.

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