Ari Jadwin '10

I received a BA major in philosophy. Graduated summa cum laude, with honors in Phil. Never did MA program. I was a UDR.

Grew up in the city of Chicago. Came to Brandeis to because I wanted to study Philosophy undergrad.

My greatest hero in the department is Yourgrau. To this day, I think about his courses and ideas. Smiley and Samet were the other 2 professors I was closest with. It wasn't until my last year that I took a course with Prof Greenberg, but it was immensely memorable and profound in its influence over how I think. And of course, Julie, you are also amazing and responsible for my fondness of the Phil Dept.

My main focus was philosophy of language. Analytical and rigorous guided my coursework. I chose classes based on professors, not on content, and that is exactly the advice I'd offer any and every student that is willing to listen. Every time I deviated from this simple principle, I suffered; every time I chose courses based on professors and NOT on content, I learned, I was fulfilled, I was challenged, I was happy, I loved learning.

Now, I run a business in China sustainably raising trout and salmon in China, and marketing them online for sale across China. Business is growing and I am about to set up a factory to start smoking salmon in China.

I always planned to enter academia, but was warned away by some loving guidance from Philosophy professors at Brandeis. "[Being a Phil professor] is the job for you, if and only if, you cannot imagine yourself doing anything else." Simply put, I had other interests. Relatively, last minute, I aborted my effort to pursue PhD in philosophy. Went into management consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Beijing and Hong Kong, and then after 2+ years, I left to start my own business in the fastest growing part of China. In my interview for the consulting job, I was asked how Philosophy gave me any kind of background to solve business problems for big companies. My answer: "Philosophy is the best business training anyone could have. In it, you take problems. Big problems, overwhelming problems, abstract problems. You break them down and It is a discipline which trains you how to take an abstract problem, which might seem overwhelming, and break it down into bite-sized chunks, pushing away the chaff until you have hit the core of the problem. All problems are just 'cores of problems' wearing complexity's clothing." True or false? Sensible or non-sense? Not for me to decide. It convinced the hiring manager to give me the job. 

That said, I am firmly committed to the belief that Philosophy Dept. at Brandeis trained me to think philosophically, to question established practices and beliefs, to demand rigorous justification in my own beliefs. This foundation has been crucial for the success of my business in a very tricky part of the world (Western China). 

When I hit 40 (now I'm 28), I would love to put my hat back in the Philosophy ring and pursue a PhD; this plan was the result of the advice of another Brandeis Phil professor: "Philosophy isn't going anywhere, go out and learn what's in the world, and then come back when you're 40; perhaps the field will have more integrity then and be less hyper-specialized."