Class of 2023

Photo of Lixuan (Ellen)  Chen

Lixuan (Ellen) Chen

Graduate StudentEmail Lixuan (Ellen) Chen

In May 2020, Lixuan (Ellen) received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Reed College, where she majored in Mathematics - Economics. She graduated with the Gerald M. Meier Award for Distinction in Economics. During her time at Reed, her interests in research included econometrics, labor economics, development economics, and economics of technologies. Her senior thesis used two 2SLS IV models to estimate the causal effect of education on wage returns. Her work as a mathematics and economics teaching assistant, tutor, and summer research scholar allowed her to hone in her quantitative research, communication, and leadership skills.

Upon graduation, Lixuan joined Dell Technologies (Austin, TX) full-time as a program/project management analyst. As a member of the Data Analytics and Automation (DAA) function, her team launched several major digital transformation/data-infrastructure projects throughout Dell’s Global Operations organization. On her team, Lixuan served as a Scrum Master, where she educated and reinforced Agile methodologies to ensure effective and punctual deliveries of the team’s key milestones. She also leveraged her quantitative skills to develop an automated reporting process for senior leadership. She was also a member of the Dell SCGP (Supply Chain Graduate Program), for which she later served as a project lead and pilot-launched the SCGP mentor program. Working side-by-side with data engineers, data scientists, and developers, Lixuan became increasingly unsatisfied with the level of her technical capabilities. She eventually decided to leave Dell and return to school for a new career path as a data professional.

While applying to graduate school, Lixuan moved back to China after 9 years of living in the US, and she took the opportunity to explore the financial services industry. In Beijing, Lixuan joined CEC Capital for the TMT sector. Collaborating closely with the Executive Director and her mentor, Lixuan performed extensive industry research and drafted pitch books for technology startups, and she worked closely with client founders to prepare for road shows and investor meetings. Throughout this experience, Lixuan gained a unique financial perspective on the value of data/digital services and products, and she learned invaluable lessons in client-facing skills and stakeholder management in high-stress environments. Lixuan is very excited about the MSiA* program and the people she will meet in Evanston. She hopes to sharpen her technical edge further for her future endeavors.

*later renamed MS in Machine Learning and Data Science