Careers in Mathematics
There are many career options available to those majoring or minoring in mathematics. A list of web sites where job opportunities are posted is discussed at the bottom of this page. Following is an overview of several types of jobs available to math majors/minors:
Why do young drivers pay more for automobile insurance than older drivers? How much should an insurance policy cost? How much should an organization contribute each year to its pension fund? Answers to these questions are provided by actuaries, who design insurance and pension plans and ensure that they are maintained on a sound financial basis. Actuaries assemble and analyze statistics for use in determining what rates insurance companies should charge for different types of insurance, for underwriting or pension planning, and a variety of other related activities. Actuaries can work for insurance companies, consulting firms, and for state and federal agencies.
Note: To become an Associate or Fellow in the Society of Actuaries, you must pass a sequence of exams. If you are interested in becoming an actuary, you can take a number of the Series 100 exams, which concentrate on the mathematical skills that all actuaries must have, while you are still a student at Marist.
Applied mathematicians use mathematical techniques to solve practical problems in business, government, engineering and the physical, life, and social sciences. For example, they model aspects of oil recovery, study the effects of new drugs, and analyze the distribution costs of businesses. Some applied mathematicians analyze and decipher encryption systems designed to transmit national security-related information.
Statistics is the collection,analysis, and presentation of numerical data. Statisticians design, implement, and interpret the numerical results of surveys and experiments. They often apply their knowledge in the fields of biology, economics, engineering, medicine, or psychology. They may use statistical techniques to predict population growth or economic conditions, to develop quality control tests for manufacturing products, to assess the nature of environmental problems, or to help business managers and government officials make decisions and evaluate the results of new programs.
Operations Research Analyst
Running a complex organization or operation such as a large manufacturing plant, an airline,or a phone company requires precise coordination of materials, machines, and people. Operations research analysts help organizations operate in an efficient manner by applying scientific methods and mathematical principles to organizational problems.
Society will require citizens and workers who can use calculators and computers, estimate quantities, and apply mathematical principles to solve practical problems. Mathematics teachers play a crucial role in preparing students who have the sharp quantitative skills needed to excel in the future.
Research mathematicians work in diverse settings ranging from college or university campuses to industry. In this role, they investigate areas in theoretical and applied mathematics for the creation and understanding of new mathematics. These results are then used to increase mathematical understanding, to solve specific problems in industry or science, or develop innovative approaches to old problems.
Technical Securities or Financial Analyst
New financial products, such as derivatives and other options, are created daily on Wall Street. Creating, analyzing, and implementing mathematical models to take advantage of inefficiencies (arbitrage) in these markets is a constantly expanding field demanding mathematical training.
Both the media and corporations have a need for people who can write competently on technical fields for the general public. Opportunties abound for those who can translate mathematical concepts and technical language into plain English.
The are many internships available for mathematics students, and the Department has an internship coordinator who assists them in finding opportunities. In addition, the Marist's Center for Career Services has information on specific summer internship opportunities. As a general rule, the Department only supports paid summer internships. While an internship may require you to relocate, it can turn into a real job after graduation.
There are many web sites dedicated to finding jobs. Among the sites listed below are those that specialize in job opportunities in mathematics.
- NSF: http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?org=DMS
- AMS: http://www.ams.org/careers
- NSA: http://www.nsa.gov/Careers/
In addition, the National Security Agency (NSA) has a number of web sites specifically targeted at graduating mathematicians.