What were your favorite philosophy courses at UCLA?

Logic, Kant, Aristotle, Plato, Computation Theory

Do you have a good story or two about the department?

The department itself is rather like a liberal arts school. In the hustle and bustle of a large, world renowned public university, the philosophy department at UCLA offers the intimacy, quirks, and depth of a small liberal arts college..

Are there any philosophical issues, readings, or topics that have stayed with you since graduation?

Game theory. My entire career evolved quite naturally from game theory. I got my first job in the engineering department and my abstract critical thinking skills came into play, no doubt. But as I started to pursue clients and projects that I enjoyed rather than for the money, I found myself aligned and intrigued by big picture corporate change. Organizational change management is largely a culture issue wrapped with faulty assumptions, beliefs, and behaviors that are rationalized as best decisions. Businesses need help and often fail to do so internally by their own blind spots. This is was something I got involved with naturally over time and I’m happy because I really do enjoy it. No day or project is the same.

What lessons or skills from philosophy do you use in your career?

How to be agile… I’ve been able to have the lifestyle I want and the career I want. I work whenever I want, wherever I want from my laptop. I feel like I’ve literally designed it from nothing. I think what philosophy taught me was to think “outside of the box” as cliché as that phrase maybe. But it’s true. I feel so safe being unconventional that I felt (& feel) safe to pursue being an independent consultant (and pitch and find clients as a relative nobody) and found and become the CEO of a fintech company I’m developing. Who does that? Why not go be a lawyer?

I also learned the value of self-efficacy. I have a high risk tolerance. As an entrepreneur, I don’t know what’s going to happen 3 or 4 months from now. But I think the fact that I’m so confident and self-assured that I can navigate and land standing that I feel safe and strong to pursue the riskiest of ventures for career satisfaction and intellectual fulfillment.

Do you have advice for current students or recent graduates about how to take advantage of and continue their philosophical education?

Do what makes you happy. Again, sounds cliché. But, so true. I could have stayed at my lush corporate job. I didn’t. Why? It didn’t make me happy. Sure, I do work a lot. But, it doesn’t feel like work. I’m happy.

Learn who you are, what makes you tick, what makes you angry, what makes you happy, what makes you feel fulfilled and appreciated, every little thing about yourself. When you choose a career, you are choosing the lifestyle. Think about that.