The Power of an English Degree: Jim O’Connor (B.A. ’93/H&S)

February 5, 2020

Jim O'Connor photoAlumni Jim O’Connor (B.A. ’93/H&S) likes to credit an unlikely source for his success in business—his VCU English degree. “In the business world, you’re constantly consuming information—everything from customer data, technology research, survey feedback—and you need to cull through that data and try to interpret it. As an English major, that is what you do year-in and year-out. You’re reading these poems and novels, and you’re interpreting the message and the subtext in that material,” he explains. “My literature classes prepared me for the business world more than anything. I draw from my English degree all the time. I’m absolutely convinced my liberal arts background has been a great point of leverage for me.”

Following a 20+ year career at Capital One, Jim recently became head of US operations for Allianz Travel, a division of Allianz Partners, the multinational financial services company whose core business is insurance and asset management.  For more on Jim's story, please see the recent news article at the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.