When you hear the word "agriculture," you may think of sweeping fields, livestock, and hay bales. But Patricia Chou, the principal research and insights manager with Intuit and independent consultant, has another thought.

“My degree helped me think in a structured way when solving complex issues,” Chou said. “I applied the agricultural economics principles I learned at Virginia Tech throughout my career across industries and disciplines.”

After graduating, Chou has worked in a variety of industry sectors, such as medical devices, food service, and financial technology. She sees each industry as contributing to a medley of experiences that has provided  a range of skill sets, making her more marketable to a broad range of employers.

“At Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, I utilized my linear regression knowledge [a statistical method that describes relationships between variables] to forecast contact lens category sales,” Chou said.

As a principal research and insights manager with Intuit, a global financial technology platform that has more than 100 million customers worldwide, she oversees a variety of projects.

Partner Jason and children Cosmo and Skye along with family pet, Danelle. Photo courtesy of Patricia Chou.
Patricia Chou with partner Jason and children Cosmo and Skye along with family pet, Danelle. Photo courtesy of Patricia Chou.

Most recently, she conducted a series of research projects for the Intuit for Education program. Chou said this is among the most fulfilling projects of her career and she learned how teachers are being challenged to add to their already heavy workload to teach financial literacy.

“This research yielded insights on how to better communicate to educators about Intuit’s free turnkey curriculum designed to be interactive and teach students how to use real-world tools with content set in real-life scenarios,” she said.

In addition to her work with Intuit, Chou consults on marketing insights projects. Recently, she conducted customer experience interviews with parents who had a child evaluated for autism via telehealth by Jigsaw Diagnostics.

“I helped to shed light on what the company was excelling in, such as their quick delivery of accurate and thorough evaluations with compassion. Analyzing feedback and getting a chance to help a health tech startup was very rewarding,” Chou said.

While her career has taken different paths over the years, she identified a thread that weaves them all together with the knowledge gained at Virginia Tech.

Chou is an example of how you can make an impact with your degree across industries.

Share this story