Tamara DaCosta had been 12 years into her career when she decided to apply for Columbia’s Technology Management Executive M.S. program. At the time, “I was finding it extremely difficult to get hired into a managerial position. I did not have the contacts or the understanding of how to make the transition into a supervisory role,” she says. Now a Director for HR Reporting and Analytics, DaCosta credits the Columbia network of peers and mentors with helping to take her career to the next level. She recently spoke about her experience in the program.
What was the most rewarding part of your overall Columbia experience?
When I enrolled in Columbia, I was a Business Systems Analyst at the nonprofit, Sesame Workshop. Twelve years into my career, I was confident in my abilities as an individual contributor, but I needed contacts and a strategy for transitioning into a senior business role. Building relationships with my cohort, some of whom I still am in touch with today, and my mentor, Margaret Miller, was the most rewarding part of the experience for me. I learned so much from the individual feedback I received on my master’s project in particular. I found the master’s project to be the key to applying what I had learned into something tangible; it helped me to understand how to build an "idea" into a viable solution within a company.
Who was your mentor, and what was it like learning from them?
My mentor, Margaret Miller, was amazing. She gave me great advice, which I used to help land a manager-level role with Estee Lauder Companies after I graduated. My start date was actually only one week after I walked in the graduation ceremony!
Tell me about your involvement in Columbia’s Technology Management program now.
I have been a teaching associate for several courses in the Technology Management program since 2019. I love how the program has evolved since I graduated. I personally learn so much from the students today by listening to them talk through their experiences and challenges.
How do you think the program has helped you in your career?
The program taught me how to navigate professional relationships and to understand how to think like a business leader. I remember when I was still a Columbia student, I read several books and articles and discovered how people around me may interpret that same text in a different way; that was a key moment for me. This perspective goes a long way if your goal is to build support for career growth within an organization.
Beyond the curriculum, what resources are available to future students if they enroll in the executive master's program?
The alumni network, library, and the events available are wonderful resources for students of the program. All have helped me with continuing my education and further developing my understanding of the field. The benefit of Columbia’s Technology Management program is that you will continue to learn and gain knowledge through the school, even after you have graduated.
Learn more about the Executive M.S. in Technology Management program.