Site icon off campus

Episode 6 with Dr. Stuart Theobald, managing a company while completing a PhD

Episode 7 with Rachel Taylor, from magic-in-new-religions researcher to Technology-as-a-Service consultant Off Campus: Humanities Scholars In Alt-Ac Careers

In this episode, I interview Dr. Stuart Theobald, chairman of the financial research and consulting firm Intellidex, about the value he sees in a philosophy PhD, and the challenges of working while in graduate school.


Transcript

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:00:00] So there’s a synergy there and that’s quite important. It’s not like my professional career has nothing to do with academia. The synergy is enables one to continue research work that’s academically linked. And it works both ways because my professional career is driven by high quality research, maintaining some connection to the academic world and how methodologically you come up with new research projects. There’s a good synergy for me between the professional and the academic at the moment.

Kino: [00:00:32] You’re listening to Off Campus, a podcast about humanities scholars in our tech careers. I’m your host, Dr. Kino Zhao. This is episode six, where our interview with Dr. Stuart Theobald about his experience managing a company while completing a philosophy PhD.

Introduction

Kino: [00:00:51] Dr. Theobald received his PhD in philosophy from the London School of Economics, where he currently is a research associate working on foundations of theoretical finance. Additionally, he is a co-founder and the chairman at Intel Index, a consulting firm specialising in African capital markets and financial services. Dr. Stuart Theobald, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:01:16] Thanks for having me.

Going to graduate school

Kino: [00:01:17] I usually start by talking about graduate school experience, but I see that you co-founded your current company before going to the PhD program at LSE. So I wanted to ask you what made you decide to get a PhD in philosophy?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:01:31] I think it was mostly intellectual curiosity, I suppose. I had done my master’s in philosophy some time before and after doing my masters. I went and did a qualification in financial markets and this was at the time of the financial crisis. So 2007, 2008. I remember studying this qualification in financial theory and thinking how the financial crisis was disproving most of the theories that I was learning. And I’d done my master’s broadly in philosophy of science. It struck me that the crisis was a paradigm shock, if you like, or some kind of falsification of theoretical finance. And I was just really interested in exploring that idea further. That philosophy had something to say about what the financial crisis meant for theories as we did them in finance. And it was curiosity about that question that led me back to the LSC, where I’d done my masters and I wanted to explore that in more depth.

Kino: [00:02:45] So was that the research that you did for your PhD? Did you venture outside at all?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:02:51] I spent some time in the early stages of the PhD, just tying down what my research questions were, developing some broader reading around philosophy of economics, philosophy of statistics, the limited work that had been done in applying ideas to finance, particularly through that work. I guess my research focus centred down on the ontology, ontology in financial systems. So how it is that financial institutions emerge from their constituent parts and then the epistemology. So how it is that we make theories about financial systems, how it is that those theories evolve and develop over time, and what, what causes change in those theories and to what extent the financial crisis might be a source of some change for those theories.

Kino: [00:03:56] Just out of curiosity. Why did you decide on philosophy as opposed to economics or possibly political science?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:04:04] I guess my academic history had always kind of bounced between economics and philosophy. I was really interested in in more foundational questions, trying to take theorizing and understanding of the world, I guess to a to a meta level, as we like to say. And in philosophy, I wanted to understand the reasons behind the way things work. That leads one to philosophy. I also think first principles are just fundamentally powerful to understand the world. Since studying philosophy, I recognize that more and more that many of the hardest questions that we need once are about the world rely to a large extent on reducing things to first principles, to to gain some understanding. And I think philosophy really teaches one how to do that. So I have always just found philosophy a good way to engage with topics the way I wanted to. Now, I think to do philosophy properly, you really need to also develop expertise in the areas that you want to apply philosophy to. If you’re doing a kind of applied philosophy as I was. So I think it is important to to have that expertise as well. If you’re going to do philosophy of physics, you need to be very familiar with contemporary physics. And in the same way, if you’re doing philosophy of economics and and philosophy. Money supplied to finance. You do need to understand existing practice, but the philosophy gives you an ability to to ask the questions. Why? Why the existing practice is what it is, which it discipline on its own very seldom does. And I think that’s the the value add of philosophers, of science is to is to constantly ask the question why and to to try and dig into the foundations and how they’re evolving in tandem with practice.

Kino: [00:06:05] I came from a philosophy of science department and think what you said is very common to a lot of philosophy science. I started wanting to do psychology and ended up gravitating towards philosophical questions about the science of psychology.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:06:23] Right. And I guess, you know, and I guess that that reflects maybe an inclination to to try and understand the the foundational roots of of a discipline and why it is the way it is.

Working while in grad school

Kino: [00:06:35] Right. So as I mentioned before, you already co-founded a company before you started your PhD. So were you managing that while you were in graduate school? Did that change your graduate school experience at all?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:06:51] It was an interesting time. I started out doing my PhD full time. So you’re right, I had founded the company and a few years later I decided to do my doctorate. And and I guess what had happened is I had become quite excited about some of the research ideas in the process applied for funding, but I wasn’t sure whether I’d get the funding and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without it. So I was still focused on working on building the company. And then of course the funding came through and then I had to make some difficult decisions. And what I ended up deciding was to basically ask my colleagues to keep the company going and for me to go off and do a full time PhD. Now, that is easier in theories than practice because of course the company, while being managed, needs you and suffers from not having you focus on that. But at the same time you’ve really got to focus on your academic work. And I think it was extremely difficult to do that to get that right. So I kind of found it a challenge and so I stuck with the PhD, I finished my first year of it of the coursework, but it was a real battle because I was having to spend some time on the company in between doing it full time. And I sort of have to develop routines of focusing on academic work at certain times of the day and then business work and and of course one of the one of very useful kind of tricks you play in yourself to get yourself to make the mental shift between academic and commercial workers change venues.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:08:43] So I have two places in my flat, one where I do work work, and one where I do academic work, and I’d switch between these to try and manage it. But it was really difficult. And what I ended up deciding to do just to be able to manage both is after the after I’d finished the coursework phase and moved onto the research phase of my PhD was to switch it to part time, which was a very hard decision, but it was realistic because it enabled me to to keep the level of attention I needed to show to the business as well as maintain my academic work. And that did make things easier. One has to develop new disciplines though, because when you doing it part time, the temptation is to lose focus that I think the risk for anyone working on a part time PhD because you’re now given space and you can lose touch and lose touch with the department. So I think to your question, what was the experience like? I think that changed. Part time has quite an impact into the level of engagement you have in the academic world and your colleagues in the department and and so on. For a while I sort of felt the loss of that, that access and that routine of engagement. But it came back towards the end of my research as I was kind of finalising my writing and starting to test and present ideas and so on. But there was a phase when you did feel a little bit remote and distant from from the academic department.

Kino: [00:10:15] That’s interesting. I didn’t know you did some of it part time. And I’ve always been thinking about how like what the experience is like doing it part time because I know many people cannot do it full time for various reasons. And doing it part time just is one for one. Saying, you know, when we and you surely know this, when we do it full time, we don’t work 40 hours a week. No graduate student work exactly 40 hours a week. So always work more than that. But cutting at half time like, you know, do I work half of what I would work as a full time, like 6 hours cut and a half. Do you have any other. So you already mentioned one lesson that’s more common now with the pandemic, people working from home to to carve out workspace. Do you have other tips for for people who have to do it part time?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:11:06] Yeah, I think I mean, it seems kind of silly, but changing a physical space I found super useful and I used to use the library on campus a lot to write because I really want a distance from all of the distractions. And the other things I did was try and go away. Like I would find an Airbnb or something for long weekends and just go and disappear into like countryside and just focus on writing for a few days, giving yourself that time to have really dedicated focus on on your academic work I found really helpful. The other thing and I this is true of full time as well, is remaining in touch with the conference circuit. Getting yourself out there and presenting some of your ideas creates kind of mini deadlines for you because you’ve got to get a paper ready and it forces you along. Because if you don’t have that, particularly in part time, it’s very easy to kind of lose focus on a schedule. Part time gives you a it gives you a longer set of deadlines, right, but a less structured routine as a result. And you’ve got to re-impose some structure. Otherwise you can, I think, drift into oblivion. And a lot of people don’t finish those. Those that study. That’s been the important that some of the techniques I used to do it.

Choosing one’s own path

Kino: [00:12:29] I also wanted to ask about other aspects of your graduate school experience. Did you teach as part of your grad school training? Did you enjoy teaching?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:12:39] I did a little bit of teaching. I generally didn’t encourage it. There’s loads of opportunity to do it, but my thought was I need to deal with the business side of things as well. And if I’m going to use time in kind of earning money, it’s more effective for me to use it that way. But I did do some teaching and I really did enjoy it and I always wished I had more time to do to do more. And it, I guess, was a missing part of the PhD experience to some extent because I didn’t do it as much of it as as my other contemporaries in the course. So yeah, I enjoyed it, but I kind of kept my hours to a minimum because I thought that time is better spent on on my business career.

Kino: [00:13:24] Did you ever consider getting a lectureship or professorship or are you just like you already started something? It was going well and she focus on that.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:13:34] I always feel torn in that I really enjoy the academic world. And if if I could somehow maybe there’s a sort of modal realism in which there’s another world in which I’m a philosophy teacher and professor and, and that would be a very, very cool world. And I’m very tempted by that kind of future. But the choices I’ve ended up making have other exciting reasons for them, and I do maintain a connection to academia. So I’m a visiting researcher at LSC and also at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and those are largely research focused. But I do often think I would like to go back and teach a bit. Maybe it’s a kind of single course or something, and I have no doubt that at some point in my future I will do a bit more of that.

Kino: [00:14:29] Since you mentioned it, and I was also curious about the research affiliation and visitorship. Can you tell me a little bit about kind of what it is and how one goes about getting it?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:14:41] It’s a relationship that allows you continued access to the research community and it’s largely up to you on how you use that. So it’s an unpaid relationship, but you’re plugged in and it means you have access to seminars and so on, as well as journals and a research community, and that allows you to continue the conversation, the work that you’re doing. I think what is useful for me is that my professional career is also very research oriented. So we work in consulting and research and there’s a lot of work that we do that that has a kind of academic spinoff. We do a lot of primary research that has interesting implications for for some of the the theory that that we’re working on. In as academics. And so there’s a synergy there and that’s quite important. It’s not like my professional career has nothing to do with academia. The synergy is really enables one to continue some research work that’s academically linked, and it works both ways because my professional career is is really driven by high quality research, maintaining some connections to the academic world and, you know, just keeps, I guess, one a bit sharper about how you think about research and and how methodologically you come up with new new research projects. And so there’s there’s a good synergy for me between the professional and the academic at the moment.

Philosophy in the business world

Kino: [00:16:20] Can you then tell me a little bit about your company, what it does and what you do within it?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:16:25] Sure. So so we’re a company, we’ve got offices now in in London and Boston and Johannesburg, and we focus on research and capital markets and financial services. A lot of our work is for investors and banks and asset managers about investment opportunity. But there’s also a great deal of our work, which is about financial systems and how you develop them and regulate them and and manage them effectively. And we do lots of work for big development institutions like the World Bank and for governments to advise them on how to regulate financial systems to achieve certain public objectives. And that work is certainly heavily influenced by the work I did in philosophy. The work I did in ontology and social ontology really does lend itself, I think, very well to understanding what makes systems work better or less worse, or what makes systems achieve desirable outcomes, and what kinds of evidence should we rely on to make decisions about how we should regulate systems? And so that area of what we do as a business is is very heavily influenced by my philosophy, philosophy, training. And then we also have a much more practical area of work where it’s a mix of market research, pounding the streets, doing surveys and interviews, and then more typical financial analysis, building financial models, making predictions about earnings and valuing assets and so on. So these three things, I think, come together that position us very well as a consulting business. So we now have, I think, 25, 30 people working with us and we do really exciting work and and I really enjoy it. It’s the kind of work that feels that we really making a difference, that we’re we’re helping countries understand how to improve the way they do things and how to mobilise investment and capital to achieve public policy goals. It’s very exciting to work on those questions.

Kino: [00:18:40] Aside from the content of the research itself, are there other aspects of graduate school training or experience that you find helpful in your current work or your managing of other people’s work?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:18:53] I think there is a kind of discipline of thought that’s really important, at least in the kind of work we do. I can, and I’m lucky to have colleagues who have also done their PhDs and and even in very diverse fields, not necessarily philosophy. And it’s the rigor of sort that you can see from someone who’s done a PhD. They don’t make lazy assumptions or lazy leaps of logic. There is, in their writing a very clear connection between ideas, very clear understanding of the degree of corroboration that those ideas present for a proposal. And those come from good graduate school in philosophy as well as other disciplines. I think that those habits of thought of understanding when an argument is a good one, understanding how to articulate in writing very clearly the logic of an argument is is a very important skill that philosophers and others can can take with them into other careers, and it positions them well, especially in a world that is that is changing. And it’s that change that I think philosophers. But I must be careful not to be too setting my own book as a philosopher because there are other disciplines which are easily as good at getting people to think rigorously. And when it comes to unexpected or when it comes to sort of uncertainty in public life and in economies, that rigorous thinking really comes. Into its own. And I think people who have been trained in more technical skills and applying those technical skills to a given set of assumptions about the world, I think that they struggle with dealing with uncertainty and unexpected change. And I think sort of senior academic research skills bring really great skills to to managing uncertainty and figuring out how we should all work through it as a society.

Kino: [00:21:02] That’s an interesting point that you made, maybe not philosophy in particular, but I think definitely humanities trained scholars are especially used to I don’t know if we’re especially good at, but we’re especially used to dealing with uncertainties in a way that perhaps some of the very rigorous sciences aren’t.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:21:21] Yeah, absolutely. And I guess I don’t know if it was maybe just my tradition within philosophy, but I like to think I came out of it with with a level of epistemic humility. I mean, the idea that we don’t really know the right answers to anything, we just have degrees of belief based on the evidence that we’ve been able to access. And that epistemic humility, I think, positions you well to deal with change, because you can throw out ideas about assumptions you had about the world more easily than others. And hopefully that’s a that’s a comforting way to think about the world. I’m not I work on the assumption that it’s true. It’s useful.

Kino: [00:22:02] Yeah, it is pretty wild to think about it because we’re like, we don’t know what the answers are. We don’t know what the questions are either. And we’re not entirely sure that we don’t know. We might know and we don’t know how we would know if we find out, but somehow the discipline makes progress.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:22:19] Yeah, well, and the thing is, you’ve got to make decisions, don’t you? So you know what I like. And in Alessi in particular is a very strong tradition in in decision theory. And what I like about decision theory is that it does give you some technical training in the fact that you’ve got to make decisions in the face of massive uncertainty. What is the best way to do that? And I think philosophy can tell you that false certainty is something to be wary of, but it can also tell you that you’ve nevertheless got to make decisions in the face of that uncertainty. And here are some good ways or bad ways of doing that. And that’s also a very helpful, helpful skill from philosophy.

Kino: [00:23:02] Right. So we talked a lot about how wonderful philosophy is or the graduate school training in philosophy or humanities degrees might be. Are there other things that, you know, skills or content that you weren’t trained in but think would be helpful and also should be the sort of thing that graduate students are trained in?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:23:23] So a lot of graduate students are trained in methodology in social science. And I, in retrospect, wish I had had more of that. We definitely, in a philosophy of science course, obviously do a lot of methodological thinking. But the basic training of how does one undertake good surveys, how does one structure the data from those surveys and analyse them? And so it’s a real practical methodological skills. You see them in political science or sociology and so on, but we didn’t see much of that in philosophy, although certainly you do get it, get to it through really thinking about methodology. But at least in my experience it was at a too theoretical level and I and in retrospect, I’ve had to upskill myself in learning about how to just apply good, rigorous methodology. I think that was maybe a gap. What other gaps were there? I mean, of course I kind of am guilty of setting my own experience and I chose to do the philosophy I did because it was what I’m interested in. And I think the first decision should always be what you’re interested in. I think that there’s a risk, and I’m one of those people who’s maybe a bit critical of certain kinds of philosophy, that there are certain kinds of philosophy that have no sort of usefulness. From my perspective. Now, I think it’s absolutely fine to do theoretical work that has absolutely no apparent usefulness because you can’t anticipate what might one day be useful. But I do think it’s important to have as a value that usefulness is desirable. And I think there is an unfortunate trend in some departments, a culture in some places where sort of usefulness is rejected as a as a kind of horrible interference in the purity of our discipline. I’m quite resistant to that sort of approach. I don’t think it’s helpful. I think ultimately all we can aspire to do with our lives is to make the world a bit of a better place. So if there’s no. Desire to apply philosophy in a way that could be useful to the world. I think we’re a bit poorer for it.

Kino: [00:25:39] I’m laughing because, when you said that, my immediate reaction was, that is a very LSE way to frame it.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:25:46] It is. It is. And that’s probably why I ended up there, because I knew that’s how I wanted to do philosophy. So I guess people are attracted to the to the particular ways of doing things and thinking that they want to do.

A typical work day

Kino: [00:26:00] Can you describe to me this is a bit of a rapid change in topic, but can you describe to me what a typical workday is like for you?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:26:08] Ha Well, I’ve got two children and that affects my workday just as much as anything I actually have to do. So my typical workday is waking up when my children wake me up far too early and then getting them ready and off to school. And in the middle of that, trying to deal with WhatsApp messages and emails and everything else on my phone. So it’s a bit frenetic. I do quite a bit of travelling, especially before COVID and and it’s starting to ramp up again since COVID or I usually work from home. So around getting the kids to school, getting to my desk, by the time I get to my desk, I’m usually full on into meetings, calls, video calls, and then working on various documents, client work that we have to deliver, working and managing staff in the business. I can easily sit at my desk and not be able to budge until five, 6:00 PM. Then it’ll be dealing with the kids, getting them fed and bath and into bed and then often back to work and carrying on for a while so it can be quite hectic and then travelling. I usually once a month or so travelling to other countries, going to see clients, working on research projects, what have you, and that brings its own challenges. And again, kids are a material factor. They’re much harder to travel with kids. But luckily I have a very understanding wife who also has a full on demanding career. But between the two of us, we juggle it and don’t let the pieces drop too often anyway. So that’s a flavour of a day in the life.

The value of a humanities degree

Kino: [00:28:02] So earlier you talked to me a bit about your company and also what you do in it. Suppose a listener finds it interesting, like suppose it’s their first time hearing anything like it, but they thought they want to know more. How do you advise them proceed to either learn more or trying to move in this direction?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:28:23] I work in consulting and research. There is a lot of opportunity for graduates coming out of out of courses like philosophy and other social science and humanities in the wider space of of consulting and research. So I think the first bit of advice would be you have some self confidence that your skills of highly prized and valued in that world, the ways of getting into can seem quite difficult if you’ve been immersed in an academic environment just because the culture and language and sort of ways that you access the consulting environment can be hard to figure out at first. The best ways in are to start with what you really good at, which is going to be doing research and finding an opportunity to work on projects that are related to the consulting research area of of the economy. And there’s lots of work being done in development. There’s lots of work done in public policy, lots of work in in quite obscure areas of banking and investment where the questions are not ones that their existing skill set are good at handling banking are talking about climate change. Bankers have to understand and think about what climate change means to them in terms of how they model risk. Right? They used to understand what what credit risk meant, but now there’s a whole new set of concerns that are relevant to them and they’re trying to understand that better.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:30:04] And can you, as someone who’s worked in philosophy and and try to think about uncertainty and in modelling, bring some help to a banker who’s trying to improve their credit decision making? The answer is you can you might not realise it, the banker might not realise it either. So the hard part is is finding each other and and identifying the value that. So you can can offer and derive from from working on those those problems. But the value is there. And after a while you start to see them everywhere. So our problem now is, is just that we just don’t have the time and the people to be able to answer all of the great questions that we that we see there needing answering. So we’ve kind of been through that process. We’re now we now we see the questions everywhere. But when you start, it’s hard to understand how your way of thinking about problems that you’ve been working on in in graduate school, in academia. How that that way of thinking applies itself to the problems that that businesses are working on. But there is a way and I think start by picking up on a few research projects and that allows you an insight and understanding of that world.

Kino: [00:31:23] All right. So your suggestion is kind of like start with something. Start with the projects so you have something to present to people who might not know what they are looking for.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:31:34] Well, I don’t think it’s effective to say I’ve done some really cool stuff in my PhD. I want to come and tell you about it. The better way is to say, What questions are you guys asking? Let me come and apply my skills to help you answer them. You can get back to your specialist knowledge, but in order to break into the world, you need to answer the questions that people are asking in that world, not try and bring specialists inside. You’ve got so your specialist insight will come up and it will filter into the way you answer questions in a way that that is probably going to be really valuable. But the mindset you should have is let me understand your question and then let me understand your question. And that might take you into new areas that you’ve never thought about before, but you will find that your skills as a researcher will come, will help you out. We’ll ensure you succeed and your specialist knowledge will fill will find value, I have no doubt, but break into the world by answering the questions that people are already already asking.

Kino: [00:32:41] Right. I think one difficulty that you already talked about, but I also have encountered again, again with people who are looking to do careers outside of academia is especially humanities graduates, is not knowing how to package our skills in a way that makes sense. I feel like for a scientist, even social scientists, they’re often trained in some way make hard skills. Like I know statistics, I know how to code. In Python. You can list those and people know what it means, or more or less where. With humanities, it’s kind of like I know how to read long text. I can write a very long text and I can think very hard. And they’re valuable skills, but it’s kind of hard to say in a way that makes them sound relevant. Do you have any advice for for how people can, I don’t know, market themselves or describe themselves in a way that other people can understand?

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:33:38] Well, why can’t humanities do Python?

Kino: [00:33:43] That is true. But, you know, I went into philosophy so I didn’t have to do Python.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:33:49] There’s loads of philosophy and that would be advanced by you can do game theory by building great computer models. And one thing I have learnt very clearly is that writing well is a fun is a really important skill in anything you do. I wish that engineers could write better. I work with some really gifted financial analysts who I just wish could write better. Humanities graduates bring that skill into a world that has technical capability, but a real struggle to articulate clear, well reasoned arguments in writing, particularly to a non-specialist audience. You know, we because we do a lot of work in policy, a key part has been how do you explain really complicated reasons for policy choices to a Democratic population, to voters who don’t have special skills or insights. And it’s really important to be able to think about how your message lands when you do that kind of work. I think pretty much every humanities graduate has got a sense, hopefully from some exposure to post-modernism and really thinking about the text and really thinking about communication. That background knowledge I find super useful in all kinds of communication in business. You know, we talked about teaching. One of the things I have taught in the past is to get business executives and teach them how to write because they really struggle. And so humanities graduates bring that. You know, I think many people already know that you don’t actually have to do the hard sell to and assume that these companies or corporate executives don’t understand what a humanities graduate brings. I think people do understand that, or you will find people in those organisations that do understand it because they themselves are humanities graduates and and they reach the top of their businesses and they appreciate the skills that that humanities brings to them. So first of all, don’t be insecure, your skills are valued. It might take you some time to identify the people who who do value them, but they are there. And fundamentally, your skills do add value to these businesses, a very important level of value. So go out and do it. You know, find the opportunities are there.

Advice for alt-ac

Kino: [00:36:21] Do you have any advice for graduate students who are thinking about leaving academia.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:36:25] So I think the first bit of advice I give people who leave academia is don’t leave it entirely. You don’t need to make a complete break. There are lots of ways of continuing to contribute to academia. Lots of kind of visiting roles and institutes, research institutes where you can remain a fellow or have some kind of connection. So keep those links. There’s no reason to sever them completely. Then the advice would be you have really great set of skills. It will take you a bit of time to understand the value systems that the business environment works to. So don’t assume that, you know, those two go in with a level of humidity, but also have some confidence that your skills are valued. Work on understanding the new environment you’re going into and what is valuable in those environments. And over time you will discover how your skills really do add a great deal of value in those environments and you’ll you’ll come to fine tune and hone your your skills and you will become you will be recognised for those. And and you can be very successful in a business environment, not despite having a philosophy training, but because you’ve had a philosophy training. And there are a great many very successful people working in business come out of a philosophy background and you can be that too. You don’t have to be very successful though. You can go into many careers where you can just add a lot of value to the world and make it a better place with your philosophy degree. So that would be my advice.

Kino: [00:38:04] I just want to say that your first advice I thought is super valuable for a variety of reasons, which is that you don’t have to completely sever the ties with the research community. I see a lot of people leaving academia, having a sense of loneliness because all their friends are friends they made in academia, and now they have to give up on those friends in the manner of speech, because I guess they have nothing in common anymore. And then people who stay in academia always say that we we would appreciate more insight from people outside academia, but it’s hard to get to those people. And there seems to be a strange assumption that if you’re leaving your your debt to us or, you know, either staying or you’ve completely left. But if people can find a way to keep that connection, it seems to benefit everybody involved.

Dr. Stuart Theobald: [00:38:55] Yeah, you make me think that maybe it’s just where I studied that is easier to maintain connections. But your connections don’t have to be to your your old department or your old academic world. Know some. Some of the academic connections I have are in completely different areas. So working on topics like inequality as a philosophy, inequality obviously is important, but you find researchers and political scientists who come at a totally different angle and you can find yourself in a political science department or something very different. So maintaining a connection to academia doesn’t necessarily mean maintaining your existing academic connections. You might find you evolve new ones as you go into business. You you might end up working in specialist areas in business that you want to then bring back into an academic context. Some academic environments will be easier to maintain connections to than others. I guess if you if your academic environment is entirely focused on specialist academic subjects, classical civilization and you go off and work in an investment bank, it might be a little difficult to to find synergies between those. Not impossible, certainly not impossible, but might not be as easy as if you worked in philosophy of science and then you go and work in research. Right. But whatever you work in, in a business environment, there are academics who care about the stuff you’re working on and you can probably find relationships back into academia that way.

Kino: [00:40:31] Thank you, Dr. Theobald, for sharing your insights with us.

Exit mobile version