What do mathematicians do

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     Peter Rowlett
University Liaison Officer, IMA
      A Clement W. Jones Lecture
             Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 1 of 26
    Clement W. Jones Lectures

•   Prof. Clement W. Jones CMath FIMA
•   Founder member of the IMA
•   Died March 2007, aged 86
•   Bequest £20,000 to the IMA
•   Used to promote mathematics to
    University Mathematics Societies
    and to help students to be part of
    the mathematics community
    throughout their careers

Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 2 of 26
   What do
     Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 3 of 26
       Be an accountant

     or a school teacher.
There is nothing wrong with either of these
  – but they do not tell the whole story!
                 Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 4 of 26
                                    So what do
                                mathematicians do?

•   Almost anything (overwhelming choice).
•   No typical job.
•   I can’t tell you what to do!
•   This is a good thing (honest)!

                    Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 5 of 26
                                                Jobs listed on IMA
                                               Careers Advice leaflet
Market Researcher, Marketing, Advertising Account Planner, Social Researcher, Management
Consultant, Logistics, Retail Merchandiser/Buyer, Transport Planner, Human Resources
Officer, Business Analyst, Defence Analyst, Statistical Officer, Cryptologist, Operational
Researcher, Statistician, Teacher, Lecturer, Aerodynamicist, Aeronautical Engineer,
Communications Engineer, Quantity Surveyor, Principal Engineer, Project Engineer,
Thermal/Structural Analyst, Auditor, Banker, Chartered Public Finance Accountant, Chartered
Accountant, Tax Advisor, Tax Inspector, Investment Banker, Financial Advisor, City Trader,
Merchant Banker, Investment Analyst, Corporate Treasurer, Commodity Broker, Actuary,
Insurance Analyst, Insurance Underwriter, Insurance Broker, Insurance Account Manager,
Insurance Claims Inspector, Credit Analyst, Pensions Advisor, Financial Risk Analyst, Computer
Game Designer, Computer Programmer, Software Developer, Multimedia Programmer,
Database Administrator, Applications Developer, IT Consultant, Network Engineer, Software
Engineer, Systems Analyst, Systems Developer, Statistician, Statistical Programmer, Biometrist,
Data Analyst, Biomedical Engineer, Cartographer, Hydrographic surveyor, Land/geomatics
Surveyor, Hydrologist, Seismic Interpreter, Petroleum Engineer, Geophysical Data Processor,
Biomathematician, Meteorologist, Oceanographer, Research Scientist (Maths).

N.B. Not an exhaustive list by any means!
                                     Peter Rowlett | Careers talk                   Slide 6 of 26
                               What do IMA
                               members do?

Peter Rowlett | Careers talk         Slide 7 of 26
                                                      Skills of a
      The QAA Benchmark Statement for Mathematics, Statistics and
      Operational Research (MSOR) [1] suggests skills MSOR graduates
      possess should include:
•   general study skills              • able to transfer knowledge
•   ability to learn independently      from one context to another
•   work independently                • to assess problems logically and
                                        to approach them analytically
•   pursuing the solution of a
                                      • highly developed skills of
    problem to its conclusion
•   time-management and               • general communication skills,
    organisation                        “such as the ability to write
•   adaptable                           coherently and communicate
•   general IT skills                   results clearly" (p. 11).
                              Peter Rowlett | Careers talk     Slide 8 of 26
                                            Why transferable
• Challis, et al [2] say as well as academic knowledge,
  "professional mathematicians require good transferable skills“,
  and that:
• Applied mathematicians (scientists, engineers, economists,
  actuaries, etc.) will work with others to solve problems in
  "industry, commerce or a social context".
• Pure mathematicians will conduct research and teach.
• School teachers will need good interpersonal and leadership
• Mathematics graduates in general employment "will need all
  of the aforementioned transferable skills." (p. 79).
                          Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 9 of 26
                                      Why transferable
• It is because of their skills that MSOR graduates
  "find employment in a great variety of careers
  and professions" (QAA [1], p. 11).
• Mathematics graduates "play an important role in
  meeting the demands of employers for skilled
  personnel to ensure the UK can maintain its
  competitive edge in a global market" (Hibberd
  [3], p. 6).

                    Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 10 of 26
                                    What do employers
• Challis et al report the findings of an employer survey
  which "suggested that a mathematics graduate is
  advantaged by being logical, systematic and rigorous,
  being able to take an abstract and broad approach,
  and being analytical, clear thinking and fast to
  understand. On the negative side, mathematics
  graduates tended to lack presentation and
  communication skills (including report writing and
  presentation to a non-technical audience),
  pragmatism in real problem solving, social skills and
  commercial awareness" (p. 81).
                       Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 11 of 26
                                         Skills of a
• Your analytical, logical, problem-solving and
  numerical skills are highly sought after in
  many different areas of employment.
• However, you should think about how you
  could demonstrate to a potential employer on
  your application/CV or in an interview your
  skills of written and oral communication, team
  working, real experience of problem solving.

                  Peter Rowlett | Careers talk    Slide 12 of 26
                                       Good news:
                                      Get a better job
• Mathematics graduates earn more over their
  lives than the graduate average [4].
• Unemployment for Maths graduates is below
  the graduate average [5].
• Careers advisors say “Maths undergraduates
  are frequently targeted by employers because
  they have the key skills sought by business”

                  Peter Rowlett | Careers talk     Slide 13 of 26
                                           Good news:
                                          Get a better job
• A Jan 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal [7]
  says mathematics leads to a career path that
  provides “a steady stream of lucrative, low-stress
• The article reports on a study of the “Best and
  Worst jobs” and out of 200 jobs the top three
   1. Mathematician
   2. Actuary
   3. Statistician
• All three are jobs for mathematics graduates!
                      Peter Rowlett | Careers talk     Slide 14 of 26
                                         The Class of ‘99
• UK Government-commissioned study by
  Warwick University published in 2005 on early
  labour market experiences of graduates over 4
  year period [8].
• Mathematics graduates:
  – Low for percentage in non-graduate jobs
  – High for average gross earnings
  – High for probability of being employed in a “high
    quality” job

                     Peter Rowlett | Careers talk      Slide 15 of 26
                                 So where are the jobs?
Career profiles and advice for mathematicians:
• Maths Careers website
• IMA Careers Advice leaflet and
  Careers for Mathematicians by Sue Briault
  Both linked on: www.ima.org.uk/student
• Plus Careers Library
• IMA Travels in a Mathematical World podcast
                       Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 16 of 26
                                    Who are the IMA?

• The chartered UK professional body and learned
  society for qualified and practising mathematicians.
• A registered charity, to support the advancement of
  mathematical knowledge and its applications and to
  promote and enhance mathematical culture.
• 5000 members across commerce, education,
  industry, the public sector and research.
• Membership demonstrates a commitment to career
  development and maintaining professional status.
                      Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 17 of 26
                                        IMA Membership
• Recognition of qualifications and professional experience
   – Progression through: Student, AMIMA, MIMA, FIMA
   – Professional development: CMath, CSci, CMathTeach
• Your place in the mathematics community
   – Networking, Early Career Mathematicians Group
• Discounts on Conferences & Journals
• Support IMA work to promote mathematics and it
  applications in education, research, industry and
  commerce. This essential promotion is currently made to
  the UK Government and many of its agencies.
• IMA members publication, Mathematics Today, six times a
                         Peter Rowlett | Careers talk    Slide 18 of 26
                                                       Why join?
In my experience, people join for one of 4 reasons:
• Interest in maths: Mathematics Today, Branches,
  general interest conferences
• Research interest: Conferences, journals
• Philanthropic: Support charitable aims of IMA
• Professional development & networking /
  promote self to potential employers

What’s your reason?
                        Peter Rowlett | Careers talk           Slide 19 of 26
                                    What members say
                                                       Source: IMA Fellowship Survey 2008

“IMA provides the principle means of professional
  recognition for mathematicians”
“Membership opens doors to corporate collaborations
  and sponsorship”
“To get promoted beyond a certain grade, the
  organisation requires that staff are professionally
“Mathematics Today and the e-mail updates help to keep
  me informed and up to date”
“To be introduced as a Fellow of the IMA ... has always, in
  my experience, been greeted with a degree of respect”
                        Peter Rowlett | Careers talk                    Slide 20 of 26
                                                Benefits of
• A Dec 2008 Times article [9] reported on research
  by the Consultative Committee for Professional
  Management Organisations, which claims:
  • Being a member of a professional body earns an extra
    estimated lifetime economic benefit of £71,000
  • Holding a professional qualification (such as CMath or
    CSci) is worth an extra £81,000 over a lifetime
  • Total = £152,000 more
  • Plus a 9 per cent increase in the probability of being

                       Peter Rowlett | Careers talk      Slide 21 of 26
• You’re studying mathematics: well done
• You’re going to think about what skills you have
  and how to demonstrate that you have the skills
  employers think maths graduates lack
• You can maximise your employment prospects,
  promotion prospects, enjoyment of mathematics
  and earning potential through IMA membership
  and aspiration to Chartered Mathematician
                    Peter Rowlett | Careers talk             Slide 22 of 26
                               IMA Student webpage

• Information about the IMA & its activities
• Download application form for
  Student Membership at only £5 per year
• Links to careers resources
• Links to the IMA on Facebook, YouTube,
  MySpace, LinkedIn
                    Peter Rowlett | Careers talk   Slide 23 of 26
           Travels in a Mathematical World,
           a Podcast from the IMA
• Interesting mathematicians, talking about
   – Their work and careers
   – An interesting problem or area of mathematics
• Maths history
• Maths news with Sarah Shepherd, iSquared Magazine
                                    Peter Rowlett, Institute of
                                    Mathematics and its
                     Peter Rowlett | Careers talk         Slide 24 of 26
   benchmark statements: Academic standards - Mathematics, statistics and
   operational research. Gloucester: The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher
2. CHALLIS, N., GRETTON, H., HOUSTON, K., and NEILL, N., 2002. Developing
   transferable skills: preparation for employment. In: P. KAHN, ed. and J. KYLE, ed.,
   Effective Teaching and Learning in Mathematics & its Applications. London: Kogan
   Page, 2002, pp. 79-91.
3. HIBBERD, S., 2005. Use of Projects in Mathematics. MSOR Connections, 5(4), pp. 5-
4. COUNCIL FOR THE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES, 2006. Maths graduates earn more!
   [online]. Via: http://www.mathscareers.org.uk/post_16.cfm [Accessed: 08/10/08].

                                   Peter Rowlett | Careers talk                Slide 25 of 26
5. GRADUATE PROSPECTS, 2008. What do graduates do? 2008 [online]. Via:
   _2008/p!eLaFFee [Accessed: 08/10/08].
6. BRIAULT, S., 2008. Careers for Mathematicians. Mathematics Today, 44(3), pp. 117-
7. NEEDLEMAN, S.E., 2009. Doing the Math to Find the Good Jobs. Wall Street Journal,
   6 Jan. Available at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123119236117055127.html
   [Accessed: 23/01/09]
8. PURCELL, et al, 2005. The Class of '99: A study of the early labour market
   experiences of recent graduates [online]. Via:
   http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ier/research/class99/ [Accessed: 08/10/08].
9. LEWIS, C., 2008. Take Five. The Times, 10 Dec. Available at:
   e [Accessed: 23/01/09].
                                  Peter Rowlett | Careers talk                Slide 26 of 26