Interview with Tamara Groman

What do you remember about being a PPE major? In terms of classes or your motivation for deciding to major in PPE?

Oh, that's a hard question, because that was a long time ago. I think what really drew me to it was the philosophy component. I was always really interested in political philosophy, and so that piece of it was really appealing.  To get beyond the basic political history major.  I felt the philosophy piece and then I felt the economic piece was very practical, so I just felt like it was a very well rounded major.

Did PPE play a role in your decision to par, pursue particular career opportunities and if so how?

I went to law school after college and I ended up clerking for a judge but then I worked for Legal Aid.I worked for an organization called the Legal Assistance Foundation.  Part of my desire to work there was incorporating my understanding of the moral philosophy.  And I felt like my obligation was to do good in the world but I really needed that economics information because I was working with a low-income client base. So, understanding the basics of their lives and the fundamentals of economics was important. I felt like really the philosophy, the moral philosophy was a big piece for me in that job.

Did you know when you were doing PPE that law was what you were trying to do or did you fall into that?

Yeah, I sort of knew law school is where I would end up, but I wasn't sure what I would do with my law degree.I mean a lot of people go to law school to be litigators or just because they wanna do commercial work or make a lot of money and that was never my goal.

What do you wish you knew about life post college as an undergrad? If you could go back and give your younger self any advice in terms of job search or post grad careers, what would it be?

It would probably be to try something out before you dive in head first.  Law was in the end a great choice for me, but I have many friends who became paralegals for a couple years and then discovered that they absolutely did not want to be lawyers. I think it's okay to take a few years after college and try out different jobs or spend your summers trying out different jobs and exploring different venues. A lot of people are more than happy and willing to talk to you about what they do and how they got there. Don't feel like you have to just dive right in.  Now, I’m 15 years out of college and I'm looking to take my career in a completely different direction. I don't think you realize that as an undergrad that your career can take lots of twists and turns.

The other thing I would say is to write a PPE thesis and put your thesis topic on your resume.  Mine is still on my resume today.  It makes for a great talking point in an interview. A lot of people do not know how to interview, and they're looking for something in your resume to talk about because they literally don't know how to ask good interview questions and so if you build your resume with interesting talking points.  I wrote on Lincoln's second inaugural address but it makes for an easy chat during an interview, on an interesting subject you already know all about.

What did do with your interim year between undergrad and law school?

It was nice because I got to really enjoy my senior year because I wasn't spending it doing law school applications, which is stressful.  For my gap year, I went to Israel. I studied in a school there, in a Yehudafor a year.  I hadn't wanted to go there for a study abroad.  I went to London for a study abroad.  But, I felt like I just needed a little more time.  So, it was a great year to be away and because I was on my own schedule it was not so stressful to get my law school applications out. Yes, I was a student. I did it for personal growth. Not for a masters degree or anything.

But even as an undergrad I spent a semester in London. That was one of the best classes I took.  That helped me as far as my PPE major.  I'm fairly sure.  It was a poverty law class. It was actually on poverty in Colombia, I think. So, that was amazing to be abroad and to study what else is happening internationally and that certainly applied to me later on.