When Chandler Wilson first arrived to St. Cloud State University in 2005, he initially held goals of trying to advance his football career as a linebacker with the Huskies.
When a pair of knee injuries put a halt to his athletic and football career at St. Cloud State, Wilson quickly shifted his focus to academics and what he wanted to do once he earned his degree from the University.
Graduating from St. Cloud State while majoring in political science in 2009, that degree has led and prepared him to travel the globe and land a unique opportunity with one of the world’s largest banks in London, England.
“The size, for one, was one thing I really liked about SCSU. When I got to St. Cloud State, I was really happy because it was a big school. I was kind of just getting into my focus at the time, and there were a lot of opportunities to study a lot of things,” Wilson said. “It was a good moment for me and I felt like I kind of got anchored at St. Cloud. And it was a big enough school where professors had a lot of experience outside of Minnesota.”
Wilson, a Chanhassen native who graduated from Chaska High School before coming to St. Cloud, is currently the Head of Data Science Innovation at HSBC Bank, which is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations.
HSBC serves more than 40 million customers and covers 65 countries and territories through four global businesses, including Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking.
As the Head of Data Science Innovation, Wilson’s job requires him to combine a lot of different tools that he began to learn while at St. Cloud State, currently overseeing machine learning and alternative data – among other duties – for HSBC.
“I’ve always been intellectually curious, wanting to learn why something is the way it is versus following the motions, and I always liked numbers,” he said. “It’s an interesting career and, for the most part, I have been able to define it on my own terms.”
Preparation at St. Cloud State
For Wilson, getting into his current field didn’t happen exactly how he had planned or envisioned initially.
When he began his academic career, he knew he had the desire to do something international and started perusing a degree in international business.
Shortly after arriving at St. Cloud State, Wilson learned that the University offered a political science program and his interest in politics persuaded him to explore more into that program as a potential career path.
“I didn’t really know that political science was a thing, to be honest. It was almost like an epiphany, I was elated,” he said. “Initially, I thought I was going to be a lawyer, but I didn’t know most lawyers did political science before going to law school. That’s what kind of threw me into it and I would definitely recommend the program to others.”
From that point on, Wilson continued down that path, eventually attending graduate school and later being one of just a handful of United State citizens to work at the European Commission and European Parliament.
After holding positions throughout Belgium and around the United States, Wilson landed in London in his current position with HSBC. And when it comes to the preparation that helped boost him to where he is today, that stems back to his time at St. Cloud State.
“I had a great time at SCSU. I thought my professors and the faculty were excellent and accessible. Further, I really enjoyed the camaraderie and discussions I had with my fellow classmates,” he said. “The biggest takeaway from that is, I had to learn how to deal with a lot different people. Everyone is represented there. I really feel like coming from a school like St. Cloud State, it incorporates everyone and is inclusive.
“I had to work extremely hard and take some risks to get to where I am coming from where I did, which was a big advantage. It gave me a chip on my shoulder.”
As he continues to pursue a career and chase his passions around the globe, Wilson’s time as a Husky provided him with a good stepping stone to prepare him for life beyond his initial athletic and academic aspirations.
“I would definitely recommend St. Cloud State. You can go anywhere that you want from St. Cloud,” he said. “If you put in the time and become a master of your craft, St. Cloud State can set you up to do whatever you want to do in life. That’s what’s most important.”