The hip-hop dancing coding superhero at Amazon

August 10, 2020

When Karen Chen ’20 isn’t rooting for her favorite Marvel superheroes, catching up on the history of Hsian-T'ung, China’s last emperor, or learning dance moves, she is busy at Amazon headquarters playing with data.

By Marlen Lebish

When Karen Chen ’20 isn’t rooting for her favorite Marvel superheroes, catching up on the history of Hsian-T'ung, China’s last emperor, or learning dance moves, she is busy at Amazon headquarters playing with data.

Karen, who believes anything is possible through determination and grit, is currently working at Amazon as a business intelligence engineer where she and her team help clean data, automate data pipelines and build dashboards to answer all sorts of business questions. In their spare time, they dabble with replicating J.A.R.V.I.S (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System), the artificial intelligence used my Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Karen’s motto: “Work hard and play hard is my way.”


 Name: Karen Chen

 Degree Earned and Year Graduated: Master of Science in Business Analytics, May 2020.

Tell us about your work at Amazon. And, how did you land a position with such a big-name company?
I have always wanted to join Amazon – it’s my dream company. I watched Jeff Bezo’s talk and I admire his leadership principles and ideas. I’m an optimistic and ambitious person with goals I believe I can accomplish, so in April, despite a global pandemic, I started applying to jobs at Amazon. I submitted hundreds of applications and reached out to hundreds of recruiters and hiring managers on LinkedIn. I was a superhero of submitting job applications! Inevitably, my persistence paid off when I got a call from recruiter! Ginger Baxter and Evan Oster at the Ziff Career Development Center helped me prepare for the interview process. They were amazing coaches, and I learned a lot from their insights.

Why did you decide to pursue an MS in Business Analytics at Miami Herbert?
I enjoy working with data. It’s so exciting to see what the data analytics bring to the business world. Miami Herbert Business School’s Business Analytics Program was a perfect option for me. 

What was the most surprising thing about the MS program?
I was surprised at the plethora of opportunities, especially opportunities in internships and capstone projects. Almost every student had the chance of either intern at an interesting company or work on a real-world problem. The experience I obtained during my internship at Baptist Health and my capstone project at Deloitte was key to landing my job at Amazon. I really appreciate the faculty’s hard work and devotion to student success!

Was there a class or professor that was particularly meaningful or influential during your time at the School?
Programming for R and SQL with Professor Doug Lehmann were the most meaningful classes to me because R is what I learned from scratch at Miami Herbert and I nailed the exam! At least, I think I did! SQL is query language that I am using a lot in my job.

Best experience, memory from your time at Miami Herbert?
I absolutely loved the learning atmosphere at Miami Herbert, both in interactive Q/A classes and team studying sessions at Fishbowl (the Rosa de la Cruz Study Center at Miami Herbert).

What is your advice for current Miami Herbert students?
Always believe you can make your dream come true! Coding and communications are equally important. Network with people and learn from them!

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