Millie’s Guide to Math Majors & Careers
Article written by Scarlet Kim based on Millie’s Guide to Math Majors & Careers.
Enjoy exploring numbers and theorems? Delve deeper into studying and working in the field of mathematics.
We spoke to four panelists working in fields related to mathematics in Millie’s Guide to Math Majors & Careers Panel. Learn more about them:
- Motoi Oyane: Mathematics (BS) at New York University (‘20), Senior Associate Consultant at Bain & Company
- Adeel Rizwan: Mathematics (BS) at University of Waterloo (‘13), Director, Actuary at John Hancock
- Valentino Assandri: Applied Mathematics (MS) at Imperial College London (‘21), Trainee Junior Managers Program - IT at Bosch
How do I study mathematics at university?
To apply for a mathematics degree, high school students need to take IB Mathematics at Higher Level, AP Calculus, or A Levels Mathematics. When applying for a master’s degree in mathematics, getting practical experience, such as assisting professors in their research, is important.
The most common mathematics degrees that students choose are pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics. Many mathematics students also opt to take minors that are closely related to mathematics, such as business, finance, or economics.
Our mentors recommend students explore various classes in their first and second years so that they can narrow down their interests by their final years. For instance, Valentino started by studying pure mathematics in his undergraduate and specialized in applied mathematics in his master’s. Adeel also initially studied pure mathematics in his first years of university and then switched to actuarial mathematics towards the end.
“Students should explore various classes in the first years of university and narrow down their interests by their final years.”
What is the best part of studying mathematics?
Against the common misconception that mathematics students are sitting down and proving theories all day long, our panelists revealed that they in fact work on a lot of hands-on, practical projects. The versatility, which allows students to experience various areas, is one of the key benefits of studying mathematics according to our panelists. Valentino, for example, ran a simulation on how diseases spread as part of a class.
“The versatility of mathematics allows students to experience various areas.”
What are the cons of studying mathematics?
Studying mathematics is all about rigor. The students are introduced to mathematical logic and proofs, especially during the first few semesters - this can feel slightly tedious at first. However, these all become the foundation of the students’ mathematical thinking processes.
Another difficulty is the workload, added to the fact that the course itself is already much more difficult than in high school. This, of course, gets better as students get used to the course.
What are some career options?
As aforementioned, mathematics is an extremely flexible subject - not only academically but also career-wise. Holding a mathematics degree does not necessarily mean that you need to be a mathematician; any field that has a basis in mathematics is open for you.
Say consulting, for example. In a nutshell it seems like a career that requires you to be a business type of person. In fact, you need a thorough understanding of statistics and skills in quantitative analysis in order to be a successful consultant. Like this, many areas are directly or indirectly associated with mathematics - find some of them below.
- Data science
- Software development
“Any field that has a basis in mathematics is open for mathematics students to explore.”
If you’d like to learn more, make sure you finish watching the full webinar for even more useful information that our panelists shared. To begin your journey to mathematics majors and careers, consult our experienced mentors for free today!