Withrop Ruml '04
Thesis Title:“Rebuffing British Oil Imperialism: The 1932 Anglo-Persian Oil Crisis.”
Most departments at Harvard teach undergrads a lot in terms of writing skills, communication, rhetoric, and even specific, technical knowledge. The history department taught me a few additional lessons that I have found particularly applicable in a professional setting. At the UN and in two subsequent roles at financial companies, my work was analytical in nature, and I don't think that other departments would have done a better job teaching me how to accumulate, analyze, and synthesize large quantities of information to support written and oral arguments. I currently work as an executive recruiter. Headhunting means listening to dozens of prospects' stories and evaluating their points of view, biases, and interpretations. Consequently, my training in historiography has recently become helpful for my job. Lastly, ten years later, I still think that my senior thesis was the best part of college, and I have fond recollections of the professors and grad students who advised and criticized my research, the librarians who helped me find sources, and the administrators who helped me secure research funding. History also has the advantage of being easy to pursue throughout your life on an amateur basis (through books, museums, lectures, travel, etc.) whereas it would probably be harder to continue studying other fields after leaving an academic setting.