Guangyu Chen

Guangyu Chen
Class Year
Shangai, China
Areas of Interest
Previous Education
University of Minnesota

What brought you to business School? Why did you choose Columbia?

I have always been obsessed with questions like why some customers pick Nike’s sneakers over Adidas, how Amazon understands our behavior like we’re best friends, or how Starbucks keep customers coming back to their stores with their loyalty program. My curiosity about purchase decisions propelled me to do a double major in economics and psychology, and a minor in statistics during my undergraduate years. While the curriculum was primarily focused on the theory and research aspect in social sciences, I was more interested in real-world applications and how to apply what I’ve learned in the business world. After researching the different curriculums between business schools, I realized I wanted a program that provided the practical tools and knowledge used in various industries as well as being able to expand my horizons through case-based learning in a group setting. Columbia Business School stood out because of its rigorous curriculum, cutting-edge faculty and research, and its close proximity to the city.

What has been your favorite part of the MS experience so far?

 My favorite part of the MS experience has to be the flexibility of the curriculum and the people. As the MS in Marketing Science program provides both PhD and MBA-level courses, it gives me the platform to understand not only the scientific method behind complex marketing models but also how companies apply them to drive business growth. For instance, in addition to the core courses, I am currently taking Economics of Strategic Behavior through cross-registration with the EMBA program, where I am challenged to analyze the problem with a more strategic view.

Besides the curriculum, the people are what make Columbia Business School an excellent environment in which to grow. Coming from different backgrounds, my classmates have brought so many different ideas and perspectives into the classroom. The topics of our conversation can range from sustainable fashion to the latest news in the global economy. The MBA students are also very welcoming and often share career advice and industry knowledge based on their own work experience prior to joining Columbia Business School.

What is it like going to business school in New York City?

Going to business school in New York City has been an unparalleled experience for me. It has provided me access to connect with so many aspiring professionals from all over the globe in different industries. I have been to New York Fashion Week and New York Advertising Week since my first semester started, and I am planning on participating in more events where I can have exposure to more industries. These amazing experiences in the city allow me to grow both personally and professionally.

Favorite faculty/courses so far?

My favorite course so far is the “Marketing Intelligence: The Art and the Science” taught by Professors Kamel Jedidi and Robert Morais. I am able to learn how to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand consumer behavior. As the first marketing course I have taken, this has been such a fantastic journey; I never would have thought a class could be taught by professors with two drastically different backgrounds. Besides the innovative format, this course also offers us the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by working on projects with clients. The experiential learning allows me to apply what I am learning in the classroom to solve complex business challenges, which has been invaluable for me. 

How has the experience/expertise of your professors impacted your learning?

I am currently working with Professor Jedidi to create content for the Applied Multivariate Statistics course so that my classmates can have a better learning experience. I have brought in some projects that I have worked on previously, such as “Eigenface – Facial Recognition,” to spark my classmates’ interest on how these algorithms can be applied in real life. After I submitted my waiving request, Professor Jedidi encouraged me to challenge myself not only to deepen my understanding of the subject itself but also on how to become a student leader by taking initiative.

What do you want to do next? How has Columbia uniquely prepared you for your future?

Marketing, essentially, is about understanding the decision-making process of consumers and being able to turn it into useful information to drive business growth. My goal after I finish the program is to work as a product analyst in a tech company. I want to leverage my experience in data analytics, human-centered design, and marketing research to develop successful products.  

As a fitness enthusiast, my long-term career goal is to become an entrepreneur and explore the intersection of wearable technology, fitness, and healthcare to empower people to have a healthier lifestyle. I am interested in building a wearable-enabled platform to help people make better decisions based on quantification, such as stress level and motion tracking, motivation digitization, and personalization.

To achieve my goals, I realize I need to grow in the following areas: an analytical mindset, strategic thinking, and networking. Columbia Business School provides me with access to these with many different resources. For instance, I am currently working with a fitness technology startup through the Small Business Consulting Program, where I learned a lot about the competitive landscape of the fitness industry and the hundreds of challenges that entrepreneurs face when their company starts to grow. These opportunities will prepare me with more tools to become a future business leader.

What will you take with you?

I am going to take the network, my curiosity, and the global perspective with me. The world is becoming so interconnected that it requires the next generation of leaders to recognize differences in each country and adapt to the new environment quickly. Columbia has been on the forefront of this change by inviting global leaders to the campus and for having a culturally diverse student body. I have learned so much from my peers in regards to cultural differences, opportunities, and challenges faced in many countries.