Joined USJ: 2007
Eric Chen is intent on teaching – especially students “who can benefit most” from his exceptional breadth and depth of business experience. That’s why he is at USJ, where students’ drive and dedication is particularly appealing. Chen spent more than a decade on Wall Street, where managing huge sums, making swift, consequential decisions and global travel is routine. He brings a passion for business and relentless determination to the classroom – to share his practical know-how and ensure that his students “learn how to make decisions from data.” Critical thinking, and the ability to effectively process data is paramount. “It’s like drinking through a fire hose. You have to quickly determine what’s important and what’s not.”
Chen has been a financial consultant for Fortune 500 companies, a venture capitalist, and guided corporations in streamlining operations. Today, that background not only informs his students, but is evident in his work advising nonprofit organizations close to home. He can also be seen occasionally in the media, offering his perspective on the latest business trends.
His overriding passion is preparing students for jobs. “Business is ever-changing. You can’t just learn it from a textbook. I have been there. I can teach what I know. My students would rather learn from someone who has done it before,” Chen points out. “Companies don’t want to make a mistake in hiring. It costs them money and time. I know my students well. I work with them. I am brutally honest with students in preparing them for their futures — and with the companies looking to hire them. It works.” He has nurtured an extensive business network, which accrues to his students’ benefit. And he goes to bat for them in the job market. Employers want individuals who can jump into a job right now — they want to know that the job candidate is ready. Our students are.”
His teaching style comes right at you. There is no room for insufficient preparation or uncertainty because that’s what you get in the real world. “It builds confidence,” he says of his exacting standards. “I take it very, very seriously. But I also recognize that not everyone tests well, and I try to give students the benefit of the doubt. So, show me something in class.” Preparation is ingrained in Chen, who in addition to his business and law degrees, pursued a parallel career as a concert violinist throughout his youth and through college, stepping away only when Wall Street beckoned. Today, that expertise is shared with his children and involvement in their schools — one more avenue for guiding the next generation.
J.D., University of Connecticut
M.S., University of Hartford
M.B.A., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
A.B., Harvard College