Talia Lesser Chopra ’08: Putting an Economics Degree to Work in the Real World
"I've always felt that the School gifted me the ability to not just memorize, but to think and learn."
Choosing a major is arguably the most important decision that a college student can make. While interest and aptitude are key factors, another essential question looms large: how will the major prove useful in the real world? Talia Lesser Chopra ’08 has cracked the code and is using the expertise she has gained from her majors in economics and math to help build her family’s business.
Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Talia and her brother, Joshua ’06 arrived at Fay in the fall of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their hometown. “Fay was one of the first schools to respond,” Talia explains. “Fay’s caring community really helped my transition.” After Fay, Talia matriculated at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire; by senior year, she was a dorm prefect, co-head of the French Club, and captain of three varsity teams.
When she began college at the University of California Santa Cruz, Talia (like most college students) had not yet identified a major. While she was fascinated with biology and the humanities, math, economics, and computer science soon emerged as her primary areas of interest. “I was thinking about pursuing an Ph.D. in
economics, and my advisor told me that I would have to complete more math courses to be a competitive applicant,” she says. “In the process of taking those upper-level classes, I fell in love with math and discovered that I enjoyed analyzing data, so I ultimately decided to focus on computer science.”
Talia graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in math. She is currently working for her family’s business, Schneider Estates, where she serves as a business analyst, assessing industry technology, integrating new systems into business processes, and analyzing data to identify sales trends and recommend marketing goals. Meanwhile, she is beginning a master’s program in computer science at Georgia Tech, with a specialization in machine learning.
Talia remains grateful to Fay for the School’s role in her development. “Fay prepared me fundamentally for every other academic endeavor that I’ve pursued,” she says. “I’ve always felt that the School gifted me the ability to not just memorize, but to think and learn.”