Where They’re Headed: Tai Nguyen ’19

The economics major will be joining IBM at their Burlington, VT., location as a data scientist.

Tai Nguyen ’19 is headed for a change of scenery following his graduation. In a move from the intimate college campus he’s called home to one of the world’s largest and most technologically innovative companies, the economics major, from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is relocating to Burlington, VT., where he’ll begin employment as a data scientist for IBM.

“I will help design analytic tools to support product development for IBM semiconductor chips and data warehouses,” he said. “My job requires me to work closely with electrical engineers and customers alike.”

Nguyen’s position will see him working with both old and new concepts, allowing him to hone the abilities he’s acquired from his coursework in a new environment. With a minor in statistics (as well as Chinese language), his interest in the Economics Department has always been oriented towards the numerical side of things. 

“Some classes that were particularly impactful to me were “Applied Multivariate Statistics and Advanced Topics in Probability, both of which were taught by Professor Weiwen Miao this past spring,” he said. “I love these classes for their combination of mathematical concepts and applications.”

It follows naturally that Nguyen is anticipating more of the same during his time at IBM, where he’ll be using his statistical background to confront real-world problems.

“I look forward to getting to work with terabytes of data on a daily basis,” he said. “During my time at Haverford and previous internships, statistics and its applications have become my passion. Getting to apply what I learned right away will be an amazing learning opportunity.”

Despite a grounding in the statistical field he’s grown to love, Nguyen’s job will expose him to many of the new modes of thinking that IBM pioneers. He’s excited by this challenge, knowing that he can rely on his aptitude for learning and collaboration that was fostered both by his academic experience and time on the men’s rugby team

“I really enjoyed the academic rigor that exists in the classroom,” Nguyen said. “In my senior thesis, I received a lot of ideas and help not only from my professor, [Assistant Professor] Giri Parameswaran, but also from many others in statistics, coding, data gathering, and writing. As I am entering the unfamiliar field of electrical engineering, an emphasis on learning and working with others will be skills that I carry with me post-Haverford.”

In the future, he aspires to continue down this track towards whatever opportunities might surface.

“In the short-term, data science—using data and stats to solve problems—continues to be my career focus,” he said. “I’d love to be at the intersection of tech and big data, fields that have great potential in changing social welfare.”

Though he is embarking on a path that will expose him to new surroundings and forms of problem-solving, Nyguen hopes to keep where he’s already been close by in his mind.

“I will miss many things at Haverford, including my teammates, friends, professors, and the Honor Code,” he reflected. “Regardless of my field, I look to bring with me Haverfordian values and try to foster a similar environment of ‘trust, concern, respect’ for my surroundings.”


“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.