Zi-Jian Khor, a 2010 University of the Ozarks graduate, was recently hired as a statistician by Kelley Blue Book, the industry leader in vehicle valuation, based in Irvine, Cal.
Khor, originally from Malaysia, received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ozarks before moving to California to earn a master’s degree in statistics from the University of California-Irvine in 2013.
Shortly after completing his graduate studies, Khor was hired by Kelley Blue Book to work as a statistician in their predictive analytics group. Established in 1926, Kelley Blue Book is the nation’s best-known used-car pricing guide. For almost 90 years dealers, finance institutions, insurance companies and consumers have used the Blue Book to help them establish used-car market values.
Khor is excited about the potential of growth in his new position.
"Kelley Blue Book is a pioneer in the field, and predictive analytics is the group that uses statistical methodology to forecast the price of vehicles," Khor explained. "I am still new to my job, so I’m assigned to deal with data cleaning now. In the near future, as my skills improve, I’ll be expected to do predictive modeling to forecast the price of vehicles."
According to Khor, being a statistician has tested more than his knowledge of statistical methodology. He credits Ozarks for making sure he was prepared to take on new challenges in his position.
"My job requires SAS programming knowledge, data analysis, outstanding analytical skills, but also effective communication skills," Khor said. "Ozarks helped me to develop those skills and that has allowed me to communicate well and cooperate with other people effectively."
Khor’s advice for current students is to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities.
"For me, success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Whenever you feel like you’ve missed an opportunity, that is when you should work harder and improve yourself more. When the next opportunity arises, you will be a perfect match for it," he said.
A mathematics degree from Ozarks has helped 2010 graduate Zi-Jian Khor secure a job as a statistician with the company Kelley Blue Book in California.