Raquel Rodriguez Shifts From Social Science to Business With Summer Business Edge Program

Raquel Rodriguez wanted to move from the social sciences to business. Having graduated from Columbia University in 2013 with a bachelor’s in anthropology, she worked as a clinical research assistant in Mt. Sinai’s department of psychiatry and became fascinated with consumer psychology. She decided to pursue her curiosity while building her business skills by enrolling in Business Edge, an intensive six-week summer program offered by Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies in partnership with Columbia Business School. We spoke with Rodriguez about what she learned in Business Edge, what she felt was the most valuable part of the program, and why she loves marketing.

Tell me how you found out about Business Edge and what made you interested in enrolling.

First, I studied anthropology as an undergrad here at Columbia University. I was working for a while as a clinical research assistant at Mt. Sinai in their department of psychiatry. What I did there was kind of what I later learned was called consumer psychology. But I wanted to move a little bit away from social work and understand the theoretical parts of business a little bit more.

I decided that I wanted to have a better idea of what marketing was and how it fits into the business landscape. So I quit my job and I decided to enroll in Business Edge.

What I liked about Business Edge was that it was basically an intensive taste test of all the different parts of business taught by incredible faculty who teach at the Columbia Business School. I knew that it would be a quick skills enrichment in a field that, at that point, I didn’t really understand.

So now I have a better perspective on that world and can figure out how to navigate it and make my next move.

What do you think was most valuable about Business Edge?

What I really wanted to build were my quantitative skills – specifically in accounting and finance. What I valued most was the way that we went through each module and incorporated a strong understanding of strategy: We started with strategy, we learned the various modules, and we came full circle and ended with strategy with a much better idea of the forces working both internally and externally in the business world.

How is Business Edge helping you reach your goals?

Business Edge is helping me to reach my goals by giving me a much better idea of the landscape of the business world and the breadth of things that one can do with these skills. You go in thinking that you know what a career in finance or marketing is like, and then you get exposed to the breadth of opportunities that are out there.

Do you know what you ultimately want to do for your career?

I’d like to do some finance and move into marketing. I think that multicultural marketing in the United States is becoming really important. There’s a lot of opportunity in multicultural marketing as America becomes more diverse. And I think that bringing my social science background into the business world in that context has a lot of potential.