John D.C. Miles

Independent Consultant, Self-Employed

Class Year


Professional Background

Business Development

How has being an English graduate from Duke University helped shape your professional success?

It enabled me to get my first job at Goldman Sachs, as a summer intern in 1999. I told them I could revise their cover letters and could write well but knew little about finance. In terms of analyzing businesses and product ideas, much of the branding or marketing language is full of verbose fluff that often leaves me asking an entrepreneur, "What exactly are you building and why?" Having had the English major experience, I can quickly help others get to more clarity when discussing their startup idea or business. Ultimately, buying products concerns emotion. That, indeed, is the essence of what we study as English majors!

John D.C. Miles