Chess Instructor & Master-level Player; Statistical Analyst

My time in high school

Attended high school in the

Overall high school experience
7/10. I did not try hard enough in high school, but seeing as I cannot redo my past, what I learned about myself is that I am stubborn in some regards, and need to be interested in what I am doing in order to be motivated to succeed.

Grades in high school
Mostly A's. I had what most people would consider good grades, but definitely didn't try nearly as hard as I could have. Considering the competitive atmosphere at my high school, I did relatively poorly compared to my higher achieving friends, and did not get into any top-tier universities.


Favorite subjects
Math, Science

Struggled with...
Probably economics because I did not have much interest in it, and as a result, put in probably about as little effort as I could to do decently in the class by my standards, which meant getting a B- or higher.

Favorite extracurricular

Life since high school

I got completely burnt out by the time I completed my bachelor’s degree, despite my excellent grades. However, it was not a mistake in the sense that I probably had to have this negative experience to make me think twice about my choice of career.

Attended college / university at
I attended UCSD, where I majored in NanoEngineering with a focus in Materials Science.

Places lived in US

Current occupations / past occupations
I have a full-time job working as a Statistical Analyst for a law firm in SF. However, I also work as a Chess Instructor for the Berkeley Chess School, and for Bay Area Chess. If time permits, I tutor high school and college students in math and sciences (mostly calculus).

Industries I've worked in
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (e.g. Law, Accounting, Interior Design, Graphic Design, R&D, PR, Advertising, etc.)
- Educational Services
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Did your education prepare you for your career or occupation?
My current occupation is pretty much unrelated to my major. However, minoring in mathematics (my best subject in college by a lot), and some statistics coursework helped me get my job as a statistical analyst. Working as a calculus tutor for the UCSD Mathematics Department for over 2 years also made me realize how much I enjoy teaching.

Has your education or career/occupation trajectory ever changed? How?
Yes. I knew that without a graduate degree in Nanoengineering or Materials Science, it would be difficult to find a job specifically in this field, but I still had my sights on an engineering job. I applied for quite a lot of engineering positions in the last few months before graduating, but kept get passed over for more qualified applicants with higher degrees or more experience. I broadened the range of jobs I applied for, and got my current jobs as a statistical analyst and chess instructor, both of which I enjoy very much.

A little introspection...

To me, being successful means...
Being able to relax and enjoy life. Specifically, not having a high stress career, and having friends that are similarly laid back.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to think of success in terms of being able to make a lot money and probably having some kind of high tech job. But it's a big world out there with a lot of time to find what you are passionate about.

My greatest accomplishment to date and what I’ve learned from it
I would like to think that my greatest accomplishment is yet to come, though I don't anticipate much of an accomplishment career-wise. Maybe becoming a master-level chess player, from which I learned that effort is more important than talent.

My biggest mistake or regret so far and what I’ve learned from it
Unfortunately, probably my choice of major in college, which is not exactly something pleasant to admit. While I enjoyed engineering and materials science, and my work in a medical research lab, at least initially, I got completely burnt out by the time I completed my bachelor's degree, despite my excellent grades. However, it was not a mistake in the sense that I probably had to have this negative experience to make me think twice about my choice of career. 

An unexpected event that significantly changed my life and how it impacted me
I got hired by the Berkeley Chess School shortly after I graduated. This both got me back into playing chess, and teaching various chess programs around the bay area.

This alumni is open to your questions and follow-ups.
In order to protect anonymity, we will pass along your message and they can choose whether to respond.

My favorite spot in or around Palo Alto

I enjoyed going to Cubberley Park to play sports with my friends. University Avenue is also a nice place to get food.