Forté Fellows

Forté Fellow Spotlight: Dolimer “Doli” Rodriguez

Forté Fellow and Bronx native Dolimer Rodriguez is working toward an MBA at Columbia Business School. Get to know her through this Q&A with Forté, in which she discusses her reasons for pursuing an MBA, the ups and downs of b-school, her career goals, and important lessons she has learned in her quest for an advanced degree.

Forté: Where did you live and what were you doing before b-school?

Doli: I’ve worked in a variety of roles across the education and nonprofit sectors. I taught middle school math in Denver, Colo. Later I moved to Oakland, Cali., where I managed technology and engineering career readiness programs for high school students on behalf of Intel®. My most recent role was at the Kapor Center, where I had the opportunity to work with community partners, including on designing and managing a two-year student engagement program to increase low-income student participation in advanced computer science courses.

Forté: What’s one fun fact about you?

Doli: Last summer I converted my mother’s first apartment in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic into an Airbnb and am now a Superhost! 

Forté: You have undergraduate degrees in politics and Spanish and Latin American literature and cultures from New York University. Why did you decide to further your education and get an MBA? 

Doli: I would attribute my professional experiences in helping me solidify my decision to pursue an MBA. I’ve had the pleasure of working with and being inspired by incredible women who have led teams and organizations throughout my career, all of whom had a masters or doctorate. During my time in the education sector, I also witnessed a need for strategy and operations. I thought business school would be the best avenue for me to develop my skills and network to one day become a leader who can support the improvement of the U.S. public education system. 

Forté: What is your major/concentration and what do you plan to do post-MBA?

Doli: Though I do not have to declare a major or concentration at CBS, I do intend to take courses that build off my favorite class at the moment: managerial statistics. I also want to prioritize developing my technical skill set while at CBS. For these two reasons, I plan on taking electives that build on the core course such as business analytics and introduction to programming. 

Forté: What is your favorite part about business school so far? What is the most challenging? 

Doli: My favorite part is the people. Students and professors alike are always willing to connect. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my professors more in small group lunch settings and during their office hours. The most challenging part has been time management, especially as we pivot back to in-person learning. I have gotten accustomed to working from home for the past two years. Setting a morning and night routine has been helpful to getting me back on track. 

Forté: What’s on your b-school bucket list?

Doli: One of my goals is to participate in Columbia’s Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) Graduate Program. The semester-long program is taught in conjunction with Columbia Law School and Teachers College. CPRL participants develop and apply change management research while completing a consulting project with a client in the public education sector. I see it as the perfect opportunity to apply my previous experiences and passions with my more recently developed business school skillset. I would also love to study abroad in Japan!

Forté: Where do you spend most of your time when you aren’t in class?

Doli: If I’m not getting work done at Dear Mama Cafe, a locally owned coffee shop next to CBS’s new campus, you can find me in the Bronx spending time with loved ones. 

Forté: Are there one or two important professional lessons you’ve learned so far that you always keep top of mind?

Doli: Never be afraid to ask for help. Earlier in my career, I tended to work in a silo and avoid asking others for help to not seem like a burden. However, one person can’t do it all. By asking for help, it can not only help you streamline the work but also bring in diverse perspectives that could improve the overall outcome. 

Forté: What is your forté?

Doli: I am a connector at heart. Whether it’s family, friends, colleagues or neighbors, I try to find connections between people and/or resources that can support them in their endeavors. I deeply value community and know I would not be where I am today without mine. 

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