Commencement Spotlight: Jing Chen

Meet Jing Chen, a Class of 2021 Trojan graduating with an M.S. in healthcare decision analysis from USC Mann. Here, she talks about combining her background in data science with targeted training in the healthcare industry, juggling her classwork while raising a newborn and gives advice to those looking to follow in her footsteps.

What originally attracted you to your field? 

I used to work for Goldman Sachs in New York as a wealth management analyst. In practice, I was selling offshore funds to high net worth clients. In this way, my background in data science wasn’t truly being utilized. With the hope to better utilize my data analytical skills in my future career, I was determined to apply to a master’s degree to get more targeted training in one specific field. Since a majority of my former clients were older in age, I always paid close attention to the healthcare industry and I realized that this field has a big need for data science professionals. That’s when I decided to get a master’s in healthcare decision analysis from USC Mann.

How did you come to the decision to pursue your degree at USC?

My friend from USC’s PharmD program recommended this program to me. After 10 years of living in New York City, I was eager to move to Los Angeles and enjoy the beautiful weather here.

Your daughter was born while you were completing your master’s degree. How did you manage juggling a newborn and your studies?

Raising my daughter while getting the master’s degree has been hard, but it’s all been worth it! Thanks to the support from Dr. Ken Wong, Michelle Ton, and everyone in the program, I made it happen. The distance learning class format helped since pregnancy didn’t stop me from opening my camera and interacting with lecturers and classmates. Weekend class schedules also made it easier for me to find a balance. When I finished my first enterprise consulting project in spring 2020, I was only 10 days away from my delivery date. After delivering my daughter, I held her in my arms while taking classes. If I occasionally missed class material to take care of my daughter, I could always go back to the recordings on Zoom and catch up.

Can you tell us about your post-graduation plans? What are you most looking forward to?

I will start my career at IQVIA as a health economics analyst under the Real World Evidence team. I am looking forward to continue learning throughout my career. I hope the knowledge and skills that I’ve gained in the HCDA program can help me optimize the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) system in China and help more Chinese people have access to the best drugs and technologies in the world.

Do you have any advice to the students who are following in your footsteps? Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This is the best healthcare decision analysis program in the world. Upon graduation, you will receive offers from Johnson & Johnson, IQVIA, PwC, Deloitte, and many more, just as I did. So please come and study hard. Don’t hesitate to network with people, including but not limited to our alumni and industry leaders. Let them know that you are from this program; show them your knowledge by telling them the courses that you’ve taken; ask for suggestions and always reply with your updates. Build your own work portfolio starting from your first in-class project in the program. And last but not least, stay in touch with your lecturers from every class.