Blair Mumm

Philosophy honed Blair’s skills in critical analysis and understanding diverse points of view, leading to work in justice and studying Law.

Blair Mum with High Court and Parliament in background

I enjoyed learning about philosophical themes in a range of novels for a high school English project. Philosophy also seemed to pose the biggest questions of all the majors I was looking at, and I was really interested in how those would be approached.

I was surprised at how analytical and technical some parts of the Philosophy courses were, and how fun it became to approach ordinary topics in a more analytical way. I studied Psychology as my second major alongside Philosophy. One highlight of that was learning to know how and when to be sceptical of scientific research (including my own!).

I currently work in the Communications and Engagement Team at the Office of the Chief Justice of New Zealand.  A large part of my role involves ensuring that media organisations and courts have the resources they need to effectively inform the public about the work of the courts. The way in which we do this has changed significantly over the last 12 months. We are reaching out to our counterparts overseas to build on what we learned over this time. The rapidly changing media landscape is another factor that is influencing our work.

I am now studying part-time towards a Bachelor of Laws at Te Herenga Waka. Having studied Philosophy, especially the engagement with scholarly debates and classroom discussions, has helped me appreciate the adversarial nature of our legal system. It is also probably what makes the thought of working as a barrister so appealing to me.

Being able to stand in the shoes of others to fully appreciate, analyse, and engage with unfamiliar and challenging ideas is a skill that Philosophy teaches in spades. This has set me up well for all the roles I have had since graduating. Assessing what other people need and what they value is crucial to the spirit of service that the public sector fosters.

For those considering studying Philosophy, it is as much a way of thinking as it is a subject, and it can pop up anywhere in work, life, and further study. It is fascinating to learn about on its own and it is powerful when applied as a deeper lens on any other subject.

For those transitioning from a Philosophy major to work, make sure current and potential employers recognise your ability to think critically. You will have much to offer when your role requires analysing different kinds of information, evaluating information from different perspectives, and communicating persuasively.