Searching for the meaning of life doesn’t have to start with a pilgrimage to some unfamiliar land. For Ben Robinson, it starts with the humble arts degree.
“Learning often leads to more questions than answers,” he says, good-naturedly as he remembers his time majoring in philosophy at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to be “fun, engaging, and challenging.”
“It has a great reputation for Arts and the humanities,” he explains of his decision to study at the University of Sydney. “And a really wide range of courses.”
For some, the path of majoring in philosophy to landing a gig at one of the world’s largest consulting firms might not seem the most conventional career trajectory. For Ben, it was a volunteering stint at The Ethics Centre in Sydney that steered him to the multi-faceted role he holds now at Deloitte.
“I helped on several of their consulting projects looking into the ethics, culture and governance of different organisations,” he explains. “I think this experience was quite useful in getting a job at Deloitte, as well as my university studies.”
As a Senior Analyst for Deloitte, Ben works with clients on a range of various projects, looking at and resolving issues in sustainability, human rights, culture and governance.
“In my role, I support with project delivery and increasingly, project management,” he says.
There is often a lot of ambiguity in the client brief or the best ways of delivering solutions, meaning critical thinking and problem-solving skills are needed, as well as good written and verbal communication, which my studies prepared me for well.
Each day brings its own new set of challenges, but for Ben, this is what drives him out of bed every morning.
Ben is upfront on the valuable lessons his arts degree has shown him.
“The future of work will require skills that humanities degrees cultivate,” he explains when asked about the impact of his study. “Stuff like critical thinking, creativity and dealing with ambiguity.”
While the conventional degrees favour specialist skills to pursue your typical career path, Ben says the issues that emerge in the future are ripe for solving with the help of an education in humanities.
“Many of the 'traditional' degrees where you rote learn from a textbook don't cultivate these skills as well as arts degrees,” he shares. “So I think there's actually a strong argument why arts degrees should be prioritised.”
Students… should be confident that what they are doing is important, and will help them contribute in a unique way to many of the problems of the future.