Beth Cobert, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management, spoke at length with the Daily Princetonian in a May 30 Q&A about her academic interests as an undergraduate, her career at McKinsey & Company, and her work at the OPM. The interview started,
Daily Princetonian: What made you interested in coming to Princeton?
Beth Cobert: I grew up in New Jersey, and my mother grew up right around the Princeton area, so I had always heard about Princeton. When I was in high school, I originally thought I wanted to be a math major, and Princeton had a great math department. I actually wanted to move Princeton to Massachusetts so I wouldn’t have to be an hour away from my parent’s house. I couldn’t persuade anyone to do that, so I came anyway. It was a great chance to go.
DP: What was your major, and what kinds of activities were you involved in?
BC: Academically, I was an economics major, and I focused on the quantitative side of economics. But, I took probably the minimum number of economics courses you needed to qualify for the major, and since they didn’t have the dual major and certificate programs that they do now, I sort of took advantage of taking all sorts of things. I took a bunch of art history, I took architecture, I took Russian history, I took chemistry, so I had a pretty eclectic curriculum, which was one of the things I loved about the place, since I could do all these different things. Outside of academics, the thing I was most involved in was Outdoor Action. I had gone backpacking before I came to Princeton, and I had gone on a freshman trip and then signed up to be a trip leader. I led freshman trips every year after that, and I taught a canoeing class with Rick Curtis ’79, who is the current head of OA. I probably spent most of my time on Outdoor Action.
The complete interview can be found here.