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Chef. Ping Pong Player. Lead Data Scientist.

Name: Teng D.
Job Title: Lead Data Scientist, Fraud and Authorization

Trusting a friend

The road that led to me becoming a lead data scientist started when I was seeking data analytics opportunities in finance. One of my friends worked at Discover and referred me to my current job. The opportunity instantly grabbed my interest because it aligned so well with my long-term ambitions, and I was excited to work for a growing company. Outside of work, I love cooking and playing ping-pong (and petting my cat, Daisy), so it was equally important to me to find a company that would value my whole self.


Generally speaking, our team is responsible for fraud detection and prevention. Ideally, we want to approve all transactions. However, our job is to recognize suspicious transactions in order to intervene and prevent loss. It’s truly a trade-off optimization strategy that balances risk and benefit.

Documentation, documentation, documentation

During the onboarding and training process, I learned the importance of good documentation. Good documentation enhances the effectiveness and efficiency both within and across teams. When working in user acceptance testing, besides participating in the detailed build-up of the project, I documented the comprehensive process. I captured everything from how teams discover problems, to what tools to use in resolving challenges, and how to conquer problems step by step.

Taking responsibility

After joining the team, my knowledge in fraud detection grew exponentially. I joined hands-on, multi-functional projects in such a short time— though it wasn’t easy from the beginning. I progressed and got better every day at understanding the business. I’ve received guidance from my manager, abundant help from my team, and ample space to develop within the company. Within a year of starting, I’ve deployed and applied new rules into current strategies.

Moving to agile

We work really efficiently in an agile space. Prior to COVID-19, I chose my favorite working desk every day (usually in the middle of my team). I’ve always believed in small group meetings as the most efficient way to communicate. The agile working environment helps with team communication since it makes small group discussion easier and more flexible. It also makes our team members’ relationship closer.

Fueling curiosity

Our management team encourages us to spend our time investigating fraud cases that we’re actually interested in, and look into the root cause of the problems. This approach helps our fraud detection mechanism learn by developing and evolving over time. In this way, we avoid being left behind in tech-trends and aren’t deceived by novel fraud schemes.