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Alumni stories

Maths alumni stories

Graduating from Warwick with a degree in mathematics will put you in a great position for a wide range of career opportunities; so many of the skills you will develop during your studies are transferable, which is exactly what employers are looking for.

To give you a flavour of some of the roles recent Warwick maths graduates have gone into since completing their studies with us, we’ve compiled a selection of alumni case studies for you to explore.

Benjamin Li, Mathematics BSc 2011-2014

Now Associate Consultant, (Investment Consulting), Aon

The Mathematics degree at Warwick is challenging but as a result it is extremely rewarding. As soon as you have understood one topic/module, the next one is never too far away. The flexibility to pursue the areas of Mathematics that you most enjoy is extremely helpful – being able to tailor your degree to what you are most interested in allows you to get the most from it.

I now model pension fund assets and liabilities, helping to advise trustees on potential investment strategies to best meet benefits payable to members.

I applied for the graduate scheme in my final year of university, and have since progressed within the company. I wanted to work in an industry where I could use some of the skills that I had developed throughout my Mathematics degree, and Investment Consulting looked like the right choice.

My main motivation is to keep learning and to keep challenging myself. Where that will take me only time will tell, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Maria Dixon BSc Mathematics 2015-2019

Now Editor, Oxford University Press

I am an editor in primary school mathematics at Oxford University Press. My job involves creating interactive online teaching resources, brainstorming next steps for existing products with my team, and liaising with authors to create exciting, new mathematical content. Although the maths I do is at primary school level, I rely on the skills I developed during independent research modules at Warwick for proofreading and fact-checking. I also tutor KS3 to university level maths in the evenings, so I still get the opportunity to tackle challenging problems!

The Introduction to Secondary School Teaching module offered at Warwick helped to develop my love of education and teaching. This was furthered with the opportunity to teach secondary school maths in Ghana with the Warwick in Africa programme.

My favourite thing about studying maths at Warwick is the vast variety of modules and projects on offer. For example, during my year abroad in Padua, I fell in love with a projective geometry module. On my return to Warwick, I was able to take the concepts I had studied further with the Third Year Essay. That you can write to a member of staff and say, “I am interested in this area of mathematics,” and then be able to do a project on exactly the area of mathematics that you are interested in makes studying at Warwick exceptionally unique.

The freedom to choose modules from different departments is a great bonus to studying maths at Warwick too.

Louis Erritt, MMaths Mathematics 2015-2019

Now Trade Statistics Analyst, HM Revenue & Customs

As a Statistics Fast Streamer, I am lucky to have experienced two very different roles so far, with several more to come through the scheme. Currently, I work in HMRC on customs and trade analysis and recently delivered a high-profile analytical model to senior stakeholders. Previously, I worked in the press office at the Department for International Trade and advised the team on statistical best practice in press articles and news briefs.

The flexibility of the mathematics degree at Warwick has been hugely helpful and applicable to the variety of work on the Fast Stream. I not only took many mathematics modules across a wide range of specialisms, but in addition took coding, finance, and languages modules. I now use the skills learned in the coding modules every day in my work as an analyst in HMRC. The written and communication skills gained through studying a language at Warwick have also been invaluable throughout.

A mathematics degree at Warwick encourages you to be constantly curious and to seek out unique answers to complex questions. I look forward to taking these lessons forward through the rest of the Fast Stream and beyond!

Dr Rachel Player, MMath 2009-2013

Now Postdoctoral Researcher, Information Security Group, Royal Holloway

One of the best things about the MMath course at Warwick is the opportunity to study a wide range of modules. During my first two years, I followed courses in maths and physics. I discovered that my interest was in number theory and algebra, and I was able to develop this interest by following many advanced courses in these areas. In my final year I was fortunate to work with Prof. Samir Siksek, who supervised my MMath research project in number theory. This was a real turning point: Samir was extremely enthusiastic and helpful, and I enjoyed this project so much I began to think seriously about a career in research.

After graduating from Warwick, I began studying for a PhD at Royal Holloway. My background in number theory and algebra gave me a solid foundation for my specialism, cryptography. The highlight of my PhD was an internship in the Cryptography group at Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA. I went on to a postdoctoral position at Sorbonne Université in Paris, before returning to Royal Holloway.

My current role is varied and involves conducting research, writing papers, giving talks, teaching, organising workshops, and peer-reviewing others’ work. Research is a dream job for me: not only being paid to work on interesting problems, but also the opportunity to travel and discuss ideas with colleagues around the world. I regularly present my work at national and international conferences – my next trip will be to New Zealand!

Thomas Rafferty, Mathematics BSc 2008-2011, Complexity Science MSc 2012-2013, Mathematics and Complexity Science PhD. 2013-2016

Now Associate in Model Risk, JP Morgan

My work involves looking at the validation of risk models, particularly those used for risk management; from setting risk limits on individual trading desks to ensuring the firm has sufficient capital so that the bank can adequately mitigate its potential exposures during severely adverse market conditions.

Prior to my undergraduate degree I was fascinated by unique applications of maths, from Differential Equations to Brownian Motion. I therefore always tried to choose modules with a more applied focus, such as Topics in Mathematical Biology, Dynamical Systems, Probability, Statistics and Stochastic Processes and their Applications. These modules gave me an in-depth and diverse understanding on how to construct and test mathematical models’ observable phenomena which definitely influenced my career.

After my undergraduate degree I wanted to continue studying maths but with more of a focus on “real world” applications leading to my Master’s and PhD, and after these I decided to join the “real world” and see how maths is used in the financial industry.

I really enjoy that I am continually learning new features and applications of maths for modelling real world behaviour.

Natasha Agarwal, Mathematics BSc 2014-2017

Now MA in Vocal Performance, Royal Academy of Music in London

I am training to be a classical opera singer, which seems like quite a change from Maths! However I always say that both music and maths are universal languages – they’re both built on very simple foundations but have the power to communicate complex ideas and emotions no matter what language you speak.

I’ve been singing and performing since the age of four, and at Warwick I had so many opportunities to pursue music and performance alongside my studies. I now study a wide range of repertoires, including contemporary music which is often very complex so my maths degree certainly comes in handy for that. To support my studies I also work as a private maths tutor for school pupils which is very rewarding.

One of the best things about the mathematics degree at Warwick, apart from the world-class teaching and facilities, is the flexibility of the course. In second year, we had to do an essay on a mathematical topic of our choice, and I decided to research the relationship between maths and music. This research covered a wide range of topics such as abstract algebra, geometry and partial differential equations, and it was fascinating to see the connections to my other maths modules. I also had the opportunity to study language modules and interdisciplinary modules such as “The Science of Music”, which have proved extremely useful now as I have to sing in a variety of languages and understand the mechanics of vocal production and resonance.

I think one of the key messages from my story is that everybody has their own unique path in life. My path from maths to music may seem strange or unusual, but it was the right path for me. It is okay to go to university without knowing what you want to do when you leave – in fact this can often make you more openminded when it comes to career possibilities. It is important to work hard at your degree, but it is just as important to pursue your hobbies and interests so that you develop as a well-rounded individual. Doing a Mathematics degree at Warwick is challenging in many ways, but once you’ve accomplished that you will seriously feel like you can achieve anything in life!

Careers support

If these stories have inspired you to think more deeply about your own career prospects, don’t forget that we have a dedicated careers consultant who will offer you advice and guidance on what might be ahead after you graduate, and how you might get there. This support is free and available to you at any time during your studies with us.