Katharina Best is an associate research department director of the Engineering and Applied Sciences Department and an operations researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research interests focus on applications of operations research and financial engineering methods in the areas of national security, strategic planning, risk management, and education. Best's national security work covers military force development and readiness, force planning and resource allocation, military manpower and workforce development issues. She is also interested in higher education finance, financial decision-making, and education technology, data management, and privacy.
Prior to coming to RAND, Best studied the dynamics of the college education market in the United States as well as the effect of loans and credit on decisions made by students, parents, lenders, and institutions of higher education. She worked as a corporate risk consultant at Oliver Wyman Financial Services. Best received her Ph.D. and M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan, and her B.S. in systems engineering from the University of Virginia.