As many Dickinson graduates have proven, a career in business is not necessarily the result of a major in business. While Dickinson has strong programs in international business & management and economics, we have found that the depth and breadth of a liberal-arts education, regardless of the official major, is the best foundation for any career.
Robert Brasler ’58, business
Principal of Brasler Properties; founding president of National Constitution Center in Philadelphia
"Looking back, Dickinson is perhaps responsible for preparing me for three distinct careers. I believe it was the combination of extracurriculars—playing on an unbeaten swim team, freshman football, president of my fraternity and chair of the college social committee—and non-major interdisciplinary experiences in biology (physiology), theatre, constitutional law and a one-year immersion under the combined Dickinson School of Law program. The small population of students and faculty made my experience very personal, allowed me to lead and prepared me for the real world of small entrepreneurial enterprise."
John Stafford ’59, English
Retired chairman and former CEO of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (previously American Home Products)
"I think Dickinson has done a great job over the years in preparing people for successful lives. If you look around, you’ll find that there are many Dickinsonians successful in their professions as lawyers and doctors, in business and as entrepreneurs."
William Lowe ’67, political science
Arbitrator for William H. Lowe Inc.
"My experience at Dickinson has opened many doors for me both in my career as a public servant and in my second career as a labor arbitrator. It gave me the skills and abilities to contribute to society in ways I never dreamed possible. I believe Dickinson is the future and that Dickinson’s students will continue to make their mark in the world and leave this world a much better place."
Tom Kalaris ’76, economics
Chief executive of Barclays Wealth Management, London
“Growing up, I lived in Southeast Asia, and my career has taken me all over the world. A Dickinson education develops the aptitude necessary for operating in the global marketplace. My field is not just about numbers—you have to understand and anticipate the effect of world events and trends on your business. A liberal-arts education cultivates a curiosity to understand how the seemingly unrelated are connected and the skills to apply that knowledge usefully.”
John Jones ’77, political science
U.S. District Court Judge
“When you have a broad-based education that you can build upon by continuing to learn, by engaging, by questioning things, I think that makes you a much more well-rounded person and really sets you up to be a leader in whatever you do in life. I could not have functioned as I hope that I did in the Dover trial and indeed every day as United States District Court Judge without the superlative educational experience that I had at Dickinson. I hope that I am an example of what you can do with a useful education, and that you can bring that to bear in everything that you do in life, and that you don’t duck or avoid an opportunity to think in a big way or to tackle large issues in the world.”
Joe Watson ’87, history
CEO of Without Excuses, nationally recognized author, strategic career advisor, media personality, public speaker and business leader
“The great thing about Dickinson was my tremendous exposure to a wide array of academic disciplines—from classical history, to meteorology, religion, foreign language and beyond. That knowledge has provided me a tremendous foundation to make decisions and achieve my goals. The world of today is rooted firmly in one thing—change. And I strongly believe that it is my liberal-arts education that prepared me to effectively manage those changes and ultimately thrive in this dynamic environment called ‘work.’ ”
Jessica Piscitelli Ward ’93, history
Director of Managed Reservation System for Ground Travel Technology Team Inc.
“I was given the opportunity to meet and interact with students from across the country and around the world without ever leaving campus. Without Dickinson’s generous financial-aid package, I would have probably ended up attending a state university, and I don’t think that I would have had the same experience. I want to support the college in its endeavors to attract the best and the brightest high-school seniors who apply to Dickinson but may not have the financial resources to attend.”
Bill Tine ’96, economics and policy management
Vice president/publisher for BuildingGreen LLC
“I believe that being a graduate of Dickinson College gave me prerequisites to just about anything—a true liberal-arts education. I’ve always been impressed with the varied careers of my classmates and other alumni. I assume that part of this variation is due to the intelligence of the students. I also assume that a big part of the variation is due to the college experience—the curriculum, the student life, the study abroad program, and much more. I’m grateful that I’ve had these experiences and I think they’ve shaped who I am. The fact that Dickinson College graduates do go into such a variety of career directions also puts a lot of pressure on the college to prepare the students appropriately. That’s where I think the dedication to sustainability plays such an important role. Whether an alum is working for a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, practicing law, working with the Peace Corps, teaching middle school students or running a multinational business, they all need an education and a global perspective to make the right decisions. The actions could be as small as starting a student run vegetable garden at a local school or as big as advising real estate purchases for a national bank. Either way, they all make a difference. So, I applaud the work the college has done and I hope to continue to see the college pushing the limits.”
Shannon Lee ’02, East Asian studies and environmental studies
Graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law; received a Fulbright scholarship to research environmental NGOs in Beijing, China
“Dickinson pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me in¬dependent and self-sufficient. I was introduced to environmental studies and science, which put me on the path to become an environmentalist. I also was introduced to East Asian studies and Mandarin, which was useful while I was living in China. I rely heavily on those core skills that were fostered at Dickinson. I find myself utilizing them whenever I take on a new challenge. I think it’s that feeling that I essentially could do anything that has helped me move forward with my education and career.”
Jonathan Spilman ’04, international business and management and Spanish
Investment advisor, T. Rowe Price
“I would say that the most important thing I took away from the INBM major at Dickinson is the ability to apply problem solving and analytical thinking to real life situations. The Global Economy and the Capstone Seminar, among other courses, best prepared me in that regard. One thing that you will have to do no matter what industry or profession you choose, is innovate and provide a different perspective on how to improve current processes. The more complex subject matter will not seem so difficult if you are able to express your thoughts clearly and concisely, which is something that every major at Dickinson preaches. I was able to study abroad in both Spain and Mexico and find it key as I use Spanish on a daily basis to develop a better connection with my clients. If you can add a skill set such as a foreign language to what you already do, you will seem much more attractive to any employer. Don't be afraid to seek out your professors and get to know them, they are all good people and will appreciate the opportunity to help you.”
Razi Hashmi ’06, international studies
Executive director of the Oklahoma branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
“Dickinson has prepared me both consciously and subconsciously to engage the world each day that I work to defend the rights of American Muslims in Oklahoma. My experiences studying abroad in Egypt shaped my worldview and strengthened my personal connection to the many Arab Americans in the Midwest. My interfaith and multicultural work at Dickinson through the Muslim Student Association and CommServ continued beyond Dickinson, as I work to build coalitions of social justice and mutual understanding for the betterment of the community.”
Daiana Beitler ’07, sociology
Student at the London School of Economics
“Attending Dickinson was one of the best experiences of my life. By working closely with my professors, I had the opportunity to conduct meaningful research and to obtain an interdisciplinary perspective. I also applied what I learned in the classroom by participating in extracurricular activities and in several internships. I traveled abroad with faculty and other students, I interacted with scholars from different cultures and backgrounds and I acquired a global perspective on my own discipline and on the world as a whole.”
Selina Carter ’07, international studies and Spanish
Pursuing a dual master's degree in public administration and international relations, with a focus in international development administration, at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University
“I majored in international studies and Spanish and took advantage of Dickinson's amazing study-abroad opportunities in Cuba, Spain and Mexico. I then joined the Peace Corps and served 27 months living in a semi-urban banana plantation community on the coast of Ecuador. My proudest accomplishment was starting a Cultural Center project, which began a music education program for low-income children and teens, and also brought computers and Internet to my community's Public Library. I also focused on starting leadership camps for adolescent women, sports for girls, and HIV/AIDS awareness programs.
As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, I have started a Theater-in-English group, composed of members from over 10 different countries. The group is scheduled to perform a play on American stereotypes as seen on T.V. I have also enjoyed studying Portuguese history, language, and culture.
I am now pursuing a dual master's degree in public administration and international relations, with a focus in international development administration, at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. I have been awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Annual-Year Scholarship for the Turkish language, which covers my tuition and living expenses for the first year. I plan to study in Geneva next summer and in Turkey for the following semester. My goals are to gain experience in the inter-governmental and non-profit sectors, and eventually start and run my own NGO with a development focus.
I owe my enthusiasm for international affairs to Dickinson, which has helped me grow professionally and personally through its multiple study abroad and internship programs as an undergraduate, high-quality and demanding coursework, as well as professors and administrators who have acted as mentors to me.”
Bernadette McFadden ’07, policy management
Research associate at the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
“As a policy management major, I benefited from an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving and from the incredible breadth of knowledge of my professors. Dickinson’s classes not only fostered my social conscious, but they allowed me to better understand how communities operate and confront challenges. Inside the classroom, professors explained the economic and social repercussions of policy decisions. Outside of class—whether during their office hours or while chatting over coffee—these same professors helped me realize how my passions are linked to my career goals. So professors helped me get involved in the Carlisle community – learning about homeless service provision, working with the Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation, and serving on the board of the United Way. These experiences proved integral to my current position working for the Institute of Medicine (IOM). As somewhat of a health policy nut, the IOM has been a place I wanted to work since I read excerpts from the IOM report ‘Unequal Treatment’ during my sophomore year at Dickinson. So I’m thrilled to now be working on a several reports, one about how the Department of Health and Human Services can improve the dissemination of health care quality and disparities data; another about how the Food and Drug Administration can improve its process for evaluating health claims on food labels (such as what data the FDA needs to allow Dannon yogurt to claim it boosts your immune response and whether Cheerios can claim it lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease); and finally, a report about reforming the nation’s continuing education system for health care professionals. These diverse projects require all of the skills I learned in Professor Hoefler’s policy studies courses: thinking outside the box, considering all stakeholders, and managing time efficiently. It’s an exciting and interesting time, to say the least, to be working in the health policy field, and I have my Dickinson education to thank for being here.”