Today, we continue our MBA/MSDS spotlight series with a conversation with Bochao “Karen” Li. Karen is a member of our Class of 2019, and she spent her summer as an Analytics Strategy MBA intern with Electronic Arts. After graduation, Karen will be working with McKinsey & Company’s Digital practice, and we caught up with her to chat about her decision to pursue the dual degree and her experience so far. Read Karen’s answers below! 

New to the series? Check out our Applicant FAQ and our earlier Q&As with Winfred Hills, ’20 and Marcelo Costa de Sousa, ’19

Why did you apply for the MBA/MSDS dual degree?

In my first job after college, I worked as a consultant, and my team was constantly dealing with huge amounts of data, deriving values from really granular information and generating reports for our client’s business intelligence department. These experiences sparked my interest in data, and when I heard about Darden’s MBA/MSDS dual degree, I knew it was the exact opportunity I was looking for.

How’s the experience been so far?

It’s been great! In the summer before Darden, we had Data Science coursework in which we began developing our programming skills in Python, R and other languages. This experience gave me a unique skillset to highlight during recruiting, and it also made me more confident in Darden’s Data Analysis class and Data Science in Business elective. Moreover, I love my dual degree cohort so much – we’re like a gang of “nerdy cool kids” commuting between Darden and UVA main grounds for classes.

How do you feel this experience/training will set you apart in the marketplace?

My recruiting experiences for both my summer internship and my full-time job have proven that pursuing the dual degree at Darden is one of the best choices I’ve ever made. The current job market is desperate for candidates who can speak the languages of business and of data science. In addition, I am an international student, and the STEM degree provides employers with more flexibility.