Peter Chen

M.S. in Commerce 2010 (Marketing & Management), University of Virginia

B.A. in Psychology and Music  2009, University of Virginia

After: Target, Executive Team Leader (Minneapolis, MN)

Now: Dish Network, Business Operations Manager (Denver, CO)

Leveraging psychology and music with business

I have always envisioned myself to be a strategic thinker who solves problems with both creativity and a good grasp of human behaviors. Combining my music and psychology studies with an M.S. in Commerce degree from McIntire has set me up well for this aspiration. From my very first job, I have been proud of my ability to improve business processes by consistently thinking outside of the box and drawing insights from the human factors. My liberal arts degrees contributed to the creative approach I possess, but the M.S. in Commerce Program prepared me with the solid skills I need to excel in the dynamic business world, especially in a volatile industry like telecommunications.

Most memorable class: Customer Equity

Customer Equity taught by Professor Trey Maxham was my most memorable class. I have a passion for finding the best ways for consumer-facing businesses to engage customers effectively, both online and in person. Both positions I’ve held after getting my M.S. in Commerce degree also centered on this goal. This class was a great overview of how the best players in consumer business interact with customers and build long-term loyalty. The down-to-earth discussions in every class helped me build a mindset that puts customers first while taking profitability and efficiency into consideration. 

What makes the job great

I really enjoy talking about customers every day. Whether it’s about improving business processes or developing training programs that empower our customer service agents, we always strive to make smart, profitable business decisions that will eventually deliver top-notch customer experience. We are all customers of services that we use every day but don’t really think about. Analyzing customer issues and implementing process changes to improve customer experience give me a great sense of accomplishment.

Advice for future students

Find opportunities to experience and connect with different brands, and you may gain a better understanding of why certain brands thrive while others decline. Always challenge the current processes you see, and never assume things are perfectly fine with a seemingly successful company. There are countless ways to impress the customers. Companies that are able to go above and beyond for the customers while maintaining profitability will win in the long run.

Most memorable GIE company visit

The visits to Procter & Gamble in Shanghai and Guangzhou were my favorite. Company representatives accompanied us to different stores and helped us understand the company’s reasoning behind different packaging for their products. It was helpful to see how an international corporation utilized local insights to engage a certain population. 

Biggest take-away​

“Opportunity is for the prepared.” Throughout my time at McIntire, I witnessed my classmates working tirelessly to network and meet new people. You never know when you are going to get a phone call or an introduction to someone in your dream company, so always be ready to show your passion and articulate what you can bring to the table.

Importance of the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) 

McIntire provides a world-class education at a world-class institution, and the M.S. in Commerce is worth every second and every penny. The global immersion experience truly unique and one of the program’s biggest selling points. UVA’s reputation and the hard work McIntire faculty and staff consistently put into building relationships around the world allows students to experience international business firsthand.

Life after graduate business school

I’m still involved in music, as I was during my time at UVA. I play keyboard, guitar every now and then, and I sometimes write songs. After moving to Denver, I fell in love with hiking and so far have conquered three 14ers, with plans to do more.

Favorite Charlottesville activity

Jefferson’s Monticello is always a fun and peaceful place to visit whenever you feel like connecting with the founder of the University of Virginia. Also, the school has one of the best gyms in the country. I still miss the Aquatic Fitness Center!