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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

This Data Scientist Loves Solving Problems. Working in Finance Lets Her Do Just That.

Carrot Bu, a senior data insight consultant at Visa
Carrot Bu, a senior data insight consultant at Visa.
| Courtesy of Visa

Carrot Bu has spent her entire career thus far working as a data scientist in the payment industry—and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“What really inspired me to pursue this career is that I love using big data to scientifically solve a question, such as how to route transactions while spending the least amount of money,” she says. “The payment industry is moving so fast and is such a big part of everyday life.”

Her career started at a financial services company that had a rotational program, which allowed her to try out different roles every six months over the course of two years. Her last rotation was on the data science team and she worked her way up to a leadership role before joining Visa in October 2022, where she’s currently a senior data and insight consultant at the company’s new Atlanta office.

Here, Bu shares how she knew Visa would be the perfect fit, why her role requires good communication skills, and the company perk that she’s most excited about.

You joined Visa less than a year ago. What was the interview process like, and how did it help you determine that Visa would be a good fit?

I had the best recruiter when I interviewed with Visa. The level of transparency is incredible. The interviews didn’t really focus on testing my technical skills even though the role requires them. Instead, they asked me about the projects and regular tasks I’d been doing, which was refreshing compared to other big tech companies.

After speaking to my current manager and her peers, I was extra confident that I would like the role. Everyone is very knowledgeable in their fields. In addition, we laughed a lot during the interviews and I felt great throughout the whole process.

What are you responsible for as a senior data and insight consultant at Visa?

I am responsible for two of the largest digital partnerships from the authorization performance perspective. Put simply, I help my clients get more approved transactions.

What are the keys to your success in your role?

It is definitely a role that requires both big data analytical skills and external client presentation skills. Being able to tell a good story that makes sense to your audience is a demanding skill that takes years to develop. This aspect of the role is very appealing and something I was looking for while job hunting.

Tell us about your involvement in the Visa Women’s Network in Atlanta (VWN ATL). What inspired you to join and why is the work so rewarding for you?

I never got the chance to get involved in any employee resource groups (ERGs) at my previous company. When I started at Visa’s new Atlanta office, there was a sign-up board for all of the ERGs. I expressed interest in a leadership role, and the person running VWN ATL recruited me to the leadership committee. I just started raising my hand when there was a need and two months later I became one of the co-leads.

I love my time with VWN ATL because we are trying to build something from scratch and I am doing it with a group of colleagues who are open and supportive. Because of VWN, I get to know so many people from different ERGs and functions in the office and it really helps me love the office life even more.

What’s an event you’ve worked on for VWN and what impact did it have?

We recently hosted a lunch-and-learn with a speaker I connected with during an alumni networking event. The topic was about habits that help you live up to your fullest potential. Everyone walked away with something from the talk—sometimes we just need someone to reassure us that we are on the right track to something great. One of the habits the speaker mentioned was to find a sponsor or mentor, and I have been wanting to find a mentor in Visa for a while. It inspired me to go and do it!

Tell us about the company benefit that’s allowing you to relocate to China for a month.

Visa has a great benefit that lets you work from anywhere for four weeks every calendar year. Both my in-laws and my parents are living overseas, so I really appreciate this benefit so we can spend time with our families without using up our time off. This really shows that Visa believes in taking care of its people. Dee Hock, the late founder and CEO of Visa, said that an organization—no matter how well designed—is only as good as the people who live and work in it. As an employee, I feel a sense of responsibility to perform because I know the company is depending on me.

What’s one thing most people would be surprised to find out about you?

As a data scientist, I would need to conduct a survey to find out the answer to this question. However, after asking around for the past couple of days, people say that it is very refreshing to see how open I am.

What’s your favorite part about living in Atlanta?

The level of diversity in almost everything, from the food to the culture to the topography.