When Phil Leathers graduated from Denison University in 2009 with a degree in Economics, the country was reeling from the financial crisis of 2008. Finding a job in that field was incredibly difficult.
“I was trained to work for companies that were not hiring,” he explained. “So I worked some odd jobs but wasn’t satisfied with what I was doing. I was looking for a big challenge.”
He found that challenge in 2011 when he enrolled in Southwestern’s part-time day program. He saw an immediate benefit. His analytical skills and ability to think on his feet and articulate improved. He learned to manage his time in a way that helped build his confidence.
While at Southwestern, Leathers worked for two and a half years at a boutique law firm in downtown Los Angeles. He also clerked for a judge. “With these experiences, I got a taste of the legal profession. I became competent in law, but I saw my passion was really for business,” he said.
Learning the ways to achieve goals and manage time at law school helped him excel in business school. After completing his J.D. degree, he entered the J.D./M.B.A. Program with the Drucker Graduate School of Management in the Fall of 2015.
“Business was a skill set that I was always interested in,” Leathers said. “Drucker gave me all the basics and fundamentals to engage academically and practically.”
"Being able to apply all of the academic skills I fostered in law school really allowed me to excel once I got to business school."
He also believes the J.D. he earned at Southwestern gave him an edge to land interviews and get a proverbial foot in the door. His education was instrumental to procuring his current position as a Senior Director at Crest Point LLC, a search fund, which is a way for aspiring entrepreneurs to raise a fund from investors, facilitate the acquisition of a small- to medium-sized business, and actively manage that company. In this position, he manages the company’s Alta Dena office, hires the interns, oversees deals, and assists in matters of analysis, strategy and due diligence.
“When I applied for the job, I had just completed my first semester at Drucker,” Leathers said. “I hadn’t taken any finance classes yet, but my boss was willing to entertain me as a candidate because of my law degree. Once I got in, my passion, energy and drive set me apart from the other candidates.”
He began working at Crest Point LLC in January 2016 and finished the Drucker program last December. He advises those who are considering a dual degree program to have a clear plan and idea of how such a program will help them accomplish their goals.