When Kimberly Bloomston chose to major in philosophy at Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, she was planting the seeds for a future in an unlikely field—technology. Today, as the Chief Product Officer at LiveRamp, a growing San Francisco-based data and marketing company, Bloomston’s path exemplifies how a degree traditionally seen as abstract and frivolous can profoundly impact the disposition of future leaders and the fast-paced industries they join.

Graduating from Baruch in 2005, Bloomston’s plunge into syllogisms and metaphysical systems was sparked by an intrinsic curiosity about human behavior and the nature of thought that she started exploring in high school. “I was young and full of teenage angst, so what can I say? I just found it fascinating.” This intrigue only grew as she took more courses in college—first at Nassau Community and then at Baruch. It was her terminal degree.

Bloomston still credits her philosophical training with laying the foundation for her critical thinking and problem-solving skills. “I began to see philosophy as so foundational to how we change as humans and grow as humans and work as humans,” she noted, emphasizing the discipline’s comprehensive scope. These skills, too often classified as over-specialized and impractical, translated seamlessly into her career, especially in roles that required understanding the inner workings of complex systems and improving the web of human interactions that make them up. 

Her first significant role after college involved training programs in retail operations, where she quickly advanced to VP of Operations. Bloomston’s ability to connect with staff and enhance operational efficiency was surprisingly influenced more by her background in the humanities than anything else. “There was so much of what I learned at Baruch that helped me think carefully about how to connect with people, and how you teach them to think differently without losing what’s special about what they already have. It’s a whole way of communicating, a way of thinking about thinking. That’s the best way I can describe it.”

At LiveRamp, Kimberly has likewise leveraged the essence of critique to bring innovations to yet unarticulated industry-wide dilemmas. “I’ve made my career by being a divergent thinker, by questioning why things are happening the way that they are at any given moment and how to improve them. For me, it’s all about having a unique perspective, having a critical eye for things so that I can form that perspective, and drawing on information, whether it’s the text that’s in front of me, knowing how to use that text to do research, or to think about what’s surrounding that text, or what exactly has informed that text.” 

Bloomston credits her initial ignorance about a philosophy degree’s real-world applications. “Honestly, just not knowing about job prospects was helpful for me. I was able to be like, ‘Yeah, I can focus on this and I’ll be fine.’ It never even occurred to me that it would be a problem” she laughed, acknowledging how her background allowed her to take risks and explore opportunities she might have otherwise avoided based only on the taken for granted truisms of career advice.

Even now, after nearly 20 years of experience in the tech industry, Bloomston insists that the skills she developed through studying philosophy—critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and effective written and verbal communication—are more vital than ever for our evolving relationship to the digital world. “When you see something like generative AI pop up everywhere, you have to be able to understand the context of how that can actually change thinking and transform human behavior. The framing of ideas in this way is so central to being able to work in software.” Her distinct trajectory speaks to the enduring relevance of the humanities in understanding and shaping even the technological landscape. Proof: a degree in philosophy can be as practical as it is enlightening.

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