I completed an MA in Philosophy at Otago in 2006, and now work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I was posted in South Korea for a few years, covering political issues. The New Zealand Embassy in Seoul is also responsible for North Korea, so my work covered the political situation in both countries.
Dealing with political issues in North Asia is a long way from my thesis on the metaphysics of time. But the analytical and writing skills I got from postgraduate philosophy are useful everyday. Philosophy gave me a grounding in applying different ways of thinking to a diverse number of topics. Classes and conversations ranged widely, from politics to time to truth. Right from first year any topic was open for discussion, with lecturers emphasising that the important thing was to be critical, while remaining open-minded.
Before my Masters, I did honours degrees in physics and philosophy, both at Otago. Both departments were great environments for encouraging learning for the sake of learning. And that was important for me – Uni doesn't always need to be about training for a specific job or future, it can also be about learning to think critically in a range of ways.