❍ Year of graduation: 1993
❍ Field of current or former occupation: Consulting
Question: What is your current occupation and where do you live? Please briefly describe your duties and responsibilities. How long have you been at this position?
Michael Koppenheffer: I work at a health care and education research firm called The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., and I oversee our on- and off-line publishing—I’ve worked here (on and off) since I graduated from Williams in 1993.
Question: Did studying Russian language and culture at Williams help you in your professional and personal development? If yes, then how were Russian Studies were useful to you? What opportunities and challenges did the Russian major open up for you both specific to your current occupation and more generally?
Michael Koppenheffer: Yes, certainly…though I was by no means a particularly gifted student of Russian, the opportunity to explore a culture and a language other than my own certainly developed my language and critical thinking faculties overall. For what it’s worth, I was also struck by how many students of Russian I’ve ended up working with in my career as well—none of whom were currently using Russian in their day jobs.
Question: Please share your advice or recommendation about the Russian department at Williams to a prospective student who is considering taking courses or majoring in our program.
Michael Koppenheffer: It’s been so long that I imagine my advice would be entirely out of date, but I do think there’s a particular benefit to majoring in a subject that’s a smaller department—class sizes are smaller, and there’s consequently more camaraderie among students and professors alike.
If you would like to write to Michael Koppenheffer, please contact Baktygul Aliev.