Paul Chen

Why did you major in econ?

Ken Elzinga. Through my economics major, I gained a teacher and friend in Ken. Ken also officiated my wedding at St. Paul’s on the corner. My true intellectual love is math, which I also majored in.

In my current position as senior investment manager at Alibaba,

I frequently travel between China, Europe, and North America. My investment specialties include artificial intelligence, Big Data, personalized medicine, computer vision, autonomous driving, and other emerging technologies.

Having transitioned into new places many times, I have gradually realized my calling to build bridges across cultures. This is why I am excited to get up every morning to join others who recognize our common humanity to make the world a better place.

How did you find your way to your current position now?

I was born in Chengdu, China (home of pandas and spicy Sichuan food). I lived through the 1990s and early 2000s in China as a teenager where I witnessed how cultural waves of liberalism and liberty first re-entered China. At almost 16, our family immigrated to the U.S. (in Norfolk, VA). Since then, I studied / worked in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Virginia. I became in love with investing at UVA. But banking took me through a long detour away from investing. Two years ago, a recruiter reached out to me about the tech investing opportunity at Alibaba, I grabbed it.

Some advice for current students seeking internships and jobs?  

Depending on your risk preference and economic situation:


Risk Seeking

Risk Averse

“I need to put food on the table”

Work at a fast-growing organization

Interview for banking and consulting

“I want to chase my dream”

Chase your dream

Work at Goldman. Save $1mm, and then chase your dream