Dina Dommett (PhD ’93, Italian)

What did you study at Yale, and what is your current profession/job?

I am currently at Oxford Saïd Business School working as Associate Fellow, St Hugh’s College, and Director of Student & Programme Services at the Business School. I was recruited to Oxford two years ago to integrate Admissions, Programmes and Career Development into an exciting new unit to deliver a memorably meaningful Oxford experience for all our students and executive education clients.

For the past twenty years my career has focused on management education at business schools in the US (Columbia and NYU Stern) and UK (London Business School, the London School of Economics and now Oxford University) and in the London office of two global companies (Marconi plc and the Monitor Group).

At Yale I studied Italian with the dynamic Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta and graduated in 1993 with my PhD.

What do you like most about your current role? What do you find most challenging and/ or rewarding?

After all these years, I still enjoy student interaction most of all. I also love the fact that I have been able to leverage my love of different cultures – especially Europe but also the Middle East and Asia – in a job that requires me to work comfortably with and enthusiastically serve people from around the world.

How did your time at Yale shape your career trajectory?

For me the Yale Italian Department was a warm and supportive environment. At Yale I learned to recognize and produce work of the highest quality, to embrace and celebrate diversity and gravitate toward excellence in the varied and very different cultures I have since joined as an employee. Being a graduate student at Yale gave me the wonderful opportunity to teach top Yale undergraduates and to study alongside the best and brightest students and colleagues in the world. It taught me humility but also gave me the courage to try my best among the best.

What are the main skills that you acquired as a PhD student which help make you successful in your current career?

Critical analysis and persuasive writing, experience of and sensitivity to different cultures, transferring my experience as a teacher to coach and manage students and staff rather than formally teach them, use my research skills to understand and collaborate with faculty at the business school and across the university.

Did you acquire any professional experience related to your line of work while in graduate school?

Yes – in addition to teaching at nearby Connecticut College as an adjunct instructor of Italian language and literature, I took the leap of winning an unpaid but highly sought after internship at the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media) in mid-town Manhattan, next door to the Twenty One Club. This fantastic experience served as the bridge between the purely academic world and the more practical application of the research, teaching and presentation skills I began to develop at Yale.

What advice would you offer PhDs who are interested in your line of work?

I highly recommend that humanities PhDs seek internships and external apprenticeships outside their graduate  studies. I talked my way into the internship at the Museum of Television & Radio because I admired that particular institution. I never dreamed it would lead to a full time job there as it did and where I stayed for three years. That positive and unexpected first job after graduate school paved the way for my current career as a senior leader looking after students at one of the world’s greatest universities. In a charming twist, Oxford Saïd Business School has just been invited to join Yale SOM’s Global Network. It’s nice after all these years to feel even more that I am part of the extended Yale family.