How great is a philosophy major in the finance world?

I'm a rising senior in high school and did my first ever internship at a tiny hedge fund (1b AUM) this summer, working with a lot of 25-30+ yo's. One studied astrology in college and is now an outstanding commodities trader. Another one majored in art history and is now a well-paid healthcare sector analyst. The one finance major I talked to around the office actually regretted their degree, saying all they did was learn useless modeling and that they didn't use a single bit of learned material at their job. Just FYI, all three came out of T20 schools in the US. I hear the problem with a finance major is that it's way too narrow and common for much "wow" factor in the job application process. Makes total sense... I guess. This obviously upsets me a little, since I had always been deadset on majoring in finance in college - now, not so much. I've been looking at viable alternatives to diversify my skillset and am considering philosophy, seeing as some hedge fund greats (eg Soros) got their start there. What are your guys' thoughts? How useful is philosophy for finance? Would love it if philosophy majors could share their thoughts. TIA!

Comments (10)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Aug 8, 2022 - 10:11pm

So you're saying the prestige is really all that matters? Not the degree itself?Β 

Most Helpful
Aug 12, 2022 - 1:51pm
throwawaybadabing, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Unless you are going to be a quant or going into a very technical type of HF - I think a liberal arts degree is pretty beneficial AS LONG AS your basic quantitative skills are also up to par. Actually many philosophy majors are extremely strong in mathematics and the sciences.

Investing zoomed out is a combination of the application of inductive and deductive logic applied to the real world. That's why thinking at a systemic level tends to be helpful.Β 

  • 3
Aug 12, 2022 - 3:04pm
Isaiah_53_5 πŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’ŽπŸ™ŒπŸ’Ž, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want to do philosophy, do a double major in finance and philosophy.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in HF - Other
Aug 13, 2022 - 1:41pm

Philosophy teaches you not to accept things at face value and challenge things you read. Really useful when going through like 7 years of 10-Ks if you already are versed in reading some obscure medieval philosophy texts.

Investing is something that should come naturally to philosophers bc you can logic it out if something is going to succeed or be a failure, but not in a mathematical sense in that you always get the right answer but you have a general feeling if something is right or if it's off.

My previous PM was also a philosophy major, people usually see it as a "smart" major in the liberal arts compared to something like gender studies and environmental science. I can't tell you exactly how to lever and unlever beta but I do know what debt does to a company, if it's sustainable from a company's cash flow to its interest payments, or if management is lying through their teeth.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 17, 2022 - 4:16pm

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