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ValueChampion Student Interview Series: Chandler Beyer, Yale-NUS College

Our student interview series highlights the accomplishments and aspirations of top university students in order to help future students learn more about the university experience. In this article, we interviewed Chandler Beyer of Yale-NUS College.

Chandler Beyer is a Mathematical, Computational and Statistical Sciences major at Yale-NUS. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Chandler was selected as a Google Women Techmakers Scholar, a programme which aims to promote greater gender equality in Tech. As part of the program she received an exclusive invitation to a week-long retreat at Google's office in Seoul, as well as a cash award and networking opportunities with other women in Tech. She’s also the co-founder of Yale-NUS Women in Business, a student organisation supporting undergraduate women to develop important networks and mentoring opportunities.

What influenced you to pursue your degree? What excites you intellectually?

Growing up, I always enjoyed math and the idea of computers intrigued me. My grandfather had started a successful computer consulting company in the late sixties and my mother was a computer programmer, so from a young age, I was surrounded by technology. I didn’t first explore my passion for computers until I was a rising senior in highschool where I participated in Girls Who Code’s seven-week technology immersion program hosted by American multinational telecommunications giant AT&T. Having the opportunity to explore different pathways of technology in a safe environment enabled me to truly uncover my love for computer science.

Did you consider any other schools? If so, why did you ultimately choose Yale-NUS?

I considered many schools in the United States with a comparable academic rigor to Yale-NUS. As an American, I had always imagined myself staying state-side for university—in fact, I did not even intend to apply to any international schools! I applied to Yale-NUS through a check-box at the end of the Yale University application.

When I was deciding between Yale-NUS College and another university in the US, a friend of mine asked where I would regret more not going? It was a no-brainer—I would have regretted not going to Yale-NUS. I ultimately choose Yale-NUS because of the unique opportunity to be a part of a start-up college in its founding years. As a member of the fourth founding class, I have had the opportunity to pave my own path and make my own college experience, all while laying the foundation of the college for future cohorts to come.

How would you describe your experience in the Computational and Statistical Sciences programs at Yale-NUS?

I came into Yale-NUS knowing I was going to major in Mathematical, Computational, and Statistical Sciences (MCS). Over the course of my first two years, I explored other majors and questioned declaring my major in something else, but ultimately knew MCSS was where my passions lie. My experience in the MCSS program has been incredibly challenging, engaging, and, quite frankly, fun! In addition to academically rigorous courses, the professors in the MCSS major have been instrumental in my positive experiences with the MCSS program at Yale-NUS. From meeting at office hours or over lunch to discuss the course material further, to meeting for ice cream to discuss future plans and aspirations, I have found continued support and guidance from my professors in both my academic and personal development. The opportunity to have this type of relationship with several of my professors is ultimately what I had hoped for in attending a small college.

How did you decide to found Yale-NUS Women in Business? What were the most challenging/rewarding aspects of getting this group started?

In 2017, I co-founded the Yale-NUS Women in Business (WIB) with a good friend of mine, Betty Pu. In October 2016, Betty and I, sponsored by the Yale-NUS Dean of Students Office, travelled to the Intercollegiate Business Convention hosted by Harvard’s Women in Business Student Organization at Harvard University. While there, we recognized the immense opportunity of having a WIB chapter at Yale-NUS would be for women pursuing careers in underrepresented fields. Upon our return from Harvard, we decided to host a Women in Finance conference in order to gauge the interest amongst the greater Yale-NUS Community. When the conference was a big success, we knew we needed to continue further with this initiative and decided to launch a chapter of WIB at Yale-NUS. WIB is focused on Welcoming a support system for women from all business sectors, Inspiring and creating a support network for future business leaders, and Bridging the gender divide in the fields of business where women are underrepresented. WIB has three specific areas of focus: Women in Tech, Women in Finance, and Women in Entrepreneurship.

Starting WIB is definitely the most rewarding thing I have done in my university years thus far. In the first year of our existence, WIB reached more than 2,000 people across three large scale conferences, formed partnerships with Google, Spotify, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, and many more, and won the Outstanding Student Organization of the year award at Yale-NUS College. The most rewarding thing for me is seeing the fruits of our labor continued with the efforts of the subsequent leaders of WIB and all they have put into the organization.

What other types of extracurricular activities are you involved with?

In addition to founding and being President of WIB, I served on the College Council of my Residential College Saga, was Head of Partners for the Yale-NUS Data Science Society, and was captain of the Women’s Soccer team. Furthermore, on my two semesters abroad, I remained very active in extracurricular activities. When I was studying at Yale University, I was the Co-Business Head of the Yale’s Women Leadership Initiative and when I was studying at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, I was the head of the International Students Inclusion Committee of the Math and Physics Society Delta.

Have you had internships? If so, how did you search for internship opportunities?

I have had two internships. In addition to working throughout the school year at Yale-NUS as a Tour Guide and at the Library, I also worked throughout the year as a Business Development Associate with Crimson Education. My two internship opportunities were in the Summer of 2018 and 2019. In 2018, I worked as a Product Management Intern at Apptio, a technology business management software company. I ultimately decided to pursue this internship longer and take a Leave Of Absence for a semester, where I paused my studies and was hired full-time as an Application Engineer. In 2019, I worked as a Product Management Intern at Vrbo, the most popular vacation rental site in the US. Next summer, I will be working as a Product Management Intern at Expedia in their new headquarters in Seattle.

I have searched for internship opportunities by exploring opportunities available through the Yale-NUS Centre for International and Professional Experiences (CIPE), reaching out to my professional network, and browsing job postings on LinkedIn. Furthermore, I found it particularly helpful attending conferences related to my interests as I was able to meet many like-minded peers and professionals who have supported me in my internship searches.

What are your career aspirations?

As of now, I strive to work in the technology industry as a Product Manager. Having done two internships in Product Management and with another one on the horizon, I am confident that this career path will enable me to leverage my two passions: technology and business. I hope to be challenged in my work and constantly engaged and learning new technologies in pursuit of developing the best products possible.

How has Yale-NUS helped prepare you for this type of career?

While every university is equipped to help students prepare for their career, I think what differentiates Yale-NUS is their immense focus on experiential learning and supporting their students to take advantage of every opportunity available to them. In my first two years of university, Yale-NUS financially supported me to attend a women empowerment conference in the US, a world youth business conference in Germany twice, and an international women’s day summit in London, amongst many other conferences and workshops locally in Singapore as well.

Yale-NUS has enabled me to truly expand my educational horizons by supporting and encouraging me in my external endeavors. Each of these experiential learning expeditions has resulted in immense personal and professional development and growth, giving me tangible experiences that will further excel my journey in pursuit of my career aspirations.

How are you financing your education? What resources did you use to learn about financing options?

I am financing my education with support from my parents, education loans, and the Tuition Grant Scheme of the Government of Singapore.

If you are using education loans, how did you learn about different lenders? Are you happy with your decision to get a loan to pursue a degree?

Ultimately, an education is an investment in your future. While the looming thoughts of loans unfortunately are at times present, I definitely think getting a loan to pursue a degree was definitely the right decision.

William Hofmann

William is a Product Manager at ValueChampion Singapore, helping consumers and SMEs find the best banking products through comprehensive analysis of data. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc, where he conducted a variety of research and economic analyses. He graduated from University of Vermont with degrees in Economics and Psychology. His work has been featured on a variety of major media such as the Straits Times, the Business Times, the Edge, DailySocial, the Entrepreneur and more.