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Advice for Choosing Philosophy Courses for Economics & Business Students

Philosophy courses can be especially pertinent to students majoring in business and economics.

Philosophy can provide excellent preparation for a career in business. It teaches one how to think critically and creatively, how to solve problems and communicate clearly – skills that help one excel in business. In addition, as the marketplace becomes more competitive, graduate degrees become more desirable, and that entails a strong performance on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the exam most business schools require their applicants to take. Philosophy majors consistently outperform other majors on the GMAT, including all business majors, all humanities majors, and all social sciences majors. Philosophy majors enjoy enormous advantages going into business. Assumption College

Large firms and MBA program admissions officers look for candidates with a strong command of analytical thinking, communication skills, and analogical reasoning. They recognize that students with a background in Philosophy are well prepared for the kind of logical approach required for advanced administration and long-range planning. Philosophy majors do extremely well on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). They score higher than all other majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences (including Economics majors), all majors in Business and Commerce programs, and most majors in the Sciences (only Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics majors score higher).  Duquesne University

The skills conferred by philosophy courses include:

Critical thinking and problem solving:

  • extracting the main points from difficult material, following and reconstructing arguments, and thinking questions through.
  • learning to analyze and solve problems, considering them from many points of view and assessing the pros and cons of different proposals.

Communication:

  • learning to express yourself clearly and persuasively.
  • skills in making decisions and then justifying your position in a clear, logical, and compelling way.

Creativity, research, and investigation:

  • proficiency at conducting investigations - learning to ask the right questions, and to develop and assess methods and standards for answering those questions.
  • solving problems using careful but innovative techniques and basing your conclusions on reliable evidence.

Theoretical learning:

  • appreciation of philosophical issues and their importance, and the ability to recognize philosophical problems and considerations in many contexts
  • the ability to recall, articulate and apply various approaches to philosophical problems, and to appraise for yourself the routes for dealing with important issues such as those that arise in econ and business.

Practical learning:

  • the ability to reproduce and compare various approaches to solving common human problems that have philosophical dimensions.
  • applying philosophical thinking to the “real world” – to everyday living, to specific problems and puzzles, to social issues, to challenges in your career, and so forth.

Throughout philosophy courses, students learn how to think for themselves – open-mindedly but critically – about philosophical theory and applications.  To do this, they learn about specific strategies, theories, concepts, and methods that are the special emphasis of philosophy.  Students may not come to final conclusions about issues by the end of each course, or by the end of their lives, for that matter; but they will almost certainly have made progress in thinking well about issues with philosophical implications. 

Although all philosophy courses offer opportunities for business and econ students, the following courses are most strongly recommended:

  • PHIL 105: Ethics
  • PHIL 107: Logic and Reasoning
  • PHIL 210: The Just Society
  • PHIL 307: Contemporary Continental Philosophy

By taking philosophy courses, business and economics students will encounter questions such as the following:

  • How can we analyze arguments as they occur in ordinary, informal contexts?
  • How can English-language statements and arguments be symbolized in terms of formalized languages?
  • What are the biggest logical pitfalls in reasoning and deduction, and how might these show up in business and economics contexts?
  • What methods of persuasion and rhetoric can be misused in economics and business contexts?
  • What is the nature of political legitimation and power?
  • How are social, legal, and political institutions interdependent?
  • How are boundaries shifting between individual, private, and public?
  • What are the grounding and theories of social-welfare institutions and the marketplace?
  • How do nation-states maintain autonomy within the global context?