Alumni Spotlights
MS Business Analytics Student
May 8, 2020 |

Grad Pursues Passion for Data and Psychology

Lynn Zhang is the winner of the Outstanding Student Award for the MS in Business Analytics. Relationships with professors and service to others gave her the confidence she needed to realize her ambitions.

By Jenny McKeel

Lynn Zhang came to GGU from China for an accounting degree but switched to business analytics when she realized that she could use analytics to help companies forecast trends and business outcomes. The predictive power of data excited her. At GGU, Lynn thrived in all of her courses and pushed herself far beyond her comfort zone when she decided to serve as the president of the Business and Data Analytics Club. She invited professors and other industry professionals to speak to the club about technology disruption, organized campus events, coordinated a tour of technology company Accenture, and encouraged members to join her at countless networking events. She made a point of attending every event she could and stepped up to share her experience with anyone who needed help.

Service to the Community

“Because of my perspective as an international student, I knew I had to start networking from day one,” said Lynn. “I wasn’t comfortable with networking, but I pushed myself. I started in the classroom with my professors and then sought out networking events in the community.”

Lynn’s dedication to the GGU community and the relationships she built with professors gave her the confidence she needed to pursue her ambitions.

“I’ve always had this inner critic, but my professors encouraged me and my confidence has really grown,” said Lynn.

Career Opportunities

She interned with startup Verablock and currently serves as a volunteer with Sana Healthcare, where she is able to combine her love for psychology with data analytics. Her goal is to secure a full-time analytics position working in the fields of marketing or psychology—two areas that inspire her.

What led you to choose GGU? At first, I was attracted by GGU’s famous accounting department. Most of the professors are actively working in major companies around the Bay Area and I was eager to gain leading-edge knowledge from the industry.  Another reason I was drawn to GGU is the easy application process and super approachable staff who helped me with the application process.

Please describe your accomplishments at GGU. I sourced and invited industry leaders in IT, AI , and big data to share their experiences and insights on technology disruption; successfully organized more than 10 campus-wide events related to data analytics; engaged in 15-plus professional events and participated in discussions about data-driven business innovations; and encouraged 50-plus students to build their network with professors and industry professionals and pursue their career dreams in technology.

What courses have you taken at GGU that have proven most valuable to you? The PLUS Program (language training) built up my initial confidence at GGU and served as a stepping stone for having successful communications with professors and classmates. Practically, the Python and machine learning part of MSBA 320 and MSBA 326 helped me on-the-job using Python. I learned how to do coding and gained the basic knowledge which encouraged me to develop AI products. Additionally, the instructor of the big data course gave me solid lessons about leading-edge knowledge about cloud and computer science.  After taking this course, I am inspired to have a big-data-related career.

How did your participation in clubs and activities contribute to your experience at GGU? Serving as the president of the Business and Data analytics club and the networking ambassador encouraged me to do what I never thought I could and I became a more of a doer. I learned to handle the stress of multitasking and learned critical lessons about leadership and marketing.

Have any of your professors been especially supportive or helpful to you at GGU? Professors Judy Lee and Mona Sabuco are two of the most supportive professors I’ve known. Professor Judy helped me both with academics and my career. I am very grateful that she connected me with startups and I was able to practice my skills while discovering my own potential. Another person I really want to thank is Professor Mona Sabuco. She always encouraged me and supported me to find ways to either improve my club leadership or my career searching process. She is like a good friend to me. I feel lucky to have met her and wish to have her as my lifelong mentor.

How do you think your experience at GGU will help you succeed in your career? I have gained fundamental skills and the confidence to be a data analyst and I have gained interpersonal and leadership skills for my career. I am not afraid to do things that I previously would have thought impossible, which means I will do what I aspire and dream to do.

What are your career aspirations for the future? I want to be a data scientist who helps psychologists or marketers solve problems.

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