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Is a math degree good for a career?

I am currently pursuing a degree in math. I know that there are a lot of careers that use math these days like insurance, finance, statistics, and cryptography. Is this the best degree to ensure that I get a job in one of these fields? And, if not what else should I look at? Thank you. #math #career-options #finance #statistics #insurance #college-major


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John’s Answer

Hi Riley, from my experience in accounting and finance, math is an excellent degree to have. Without getting too specific, a math degree is very well respected within finance, but also across all companies that are interested in analytics and statistics. I had multiple friends from college who were math majors in college that ended up working in an analytics department for a large public company. From a high level perspective, starting in math will challenge critical thinking ability and ability to handle complex issues. However, I do not think there is any one job that is 'best' across all of these industries (for example: a geography major might be the best degree for cryptography, but geography may not be the best degree in the insurance industry). Some of these industries may favor one degree over another, but math, in what I have seen, is an incredibly well-respected background.


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Jennifer’s Answer

Math is a great subject to major in. The analytical skills you learn, in addition to technical skills in different programs , will be highly valued in a number of fields. I agree with other responses which suggest widening your skill set by taking courses, specifically computer science. You don't need to learn the ins and outs of every piece of software and/or coding language. If you can learn SQL or even VBA, then you can probably learn Python or whatever comes next. The important skill you are displaying is that you are capable of learning more at a quicker pace than your peers.

I would highly suggest taking some public speaking courses and working on your ability to translate highly technical concepts to a wider audience. Most positions in the private sector will involve working with other teams which are focused on different areas of the business. For many it will have been a number years if not decades since they took a math class. The ability to understand complex statistical models is just as important as your ability to explain your analysis and output to the key users of this information. You may have solved the problem, but if you cannot adequately explain your solution, no one will listen.

Check out the field of catastrophe modeling. It is a great career path which doesn't require graduate school or actuarial exams.

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Tanner’s Answer

Yes it is a good degree! I graduated with a math degree and at my university, and there we were required to have a minor as well as our major, so it allowed me to have a sort of specialization. Math as an overall degree is seen as a very analytical degree, and will go great towards any analyst degree. Many big companies now a days are looking heavily into getting good analysts and data scientists, etc. If you are really interested into going into this degree path, something I found to help me with finding a job was having a lot of knowledge in technology. Some of this technology like SQL, Tableau, Excel are heavily used, and if you have experience in them they will carry you far. Tableau might be hard as it is not something that is a cheap licenses and more than likely if you can't get experience in school it might have to wait till a first or second job. Excel is quick and easy to get, and so many people use it today.

However, if you are not looking for a job in math, analytics, or some sort of data role, an actuary/insurance role, even finance/accounting then you should look elsewhere. Though if you do get into an analyst role in a big company, you can move into more business type roles where you can be a manager over other analysts given time. So even if you don't see it being a role you like over time, then there are sometimes other options out there for you.

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Pavol’s Answer

Hi Riley,


definitely yes, it is indeed! I graduated in statistics and during my career so far (12 years) it has always been helpful to understand numbers. however if I can give you one advice - do not forget to learn also some soft skills like listening to people, public speaking/presentation skills, influencing, networking - those kind of skills are necessary to be successful in roles like data science and many math guys are naturally not good at but can be learned.


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Christina’s Answer

Yes! A math major will be a good foundation and will allow you to take your career in many directions. If you are considering a career in finance or insurance, try taking a few finance, economics, accounting and accelerated statistics courses. If you enjoy those classes, you can minor in one of those subjects to help broaden your opportunities! Best of luck!


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Deborah (Dee)’s Answer

I would recommend a major in Math with a minor in business field. This will give you a strong foundation in the analytics that you need and also a good foundation on how businesses work. This can lead you to career in Data Analysis, Finance, Insurance Risk Management, modeling etc. I majored in Math and minored in business and physics. I then pursued a MS degree in math. I have worked for a large fortune 500 Insurance company for over 25 years and my Math background has helped me have a very successful career.

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Riley,
Thank you for the question! My personal opinion is that Math is an excellent degree to pursue. Your knowledge base and expertise in math has applicability across many different business opportunities. If you take the insurance industry as an example - an expertise in math can cross many different operational functions such as underwriting, finance, actuarial and data analytics (to name a few). My recommendation would be to continue to pursue your math degree and explore a subset of math you are passionate about being part of. Perhaps you can take elective classes involving economics, finance or actuarial science to see which area you like and want to continue to learn, and develop, more.

Best of luck.

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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

Yes !! IF you have a good hand in Math you can land in very good profiles in Finance. Application of Math in finance is huge for eg: Quantitative Analysis, Financial Engineering ,Financial Modeling etc.

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John’s Answer

Certainly! Mathematics is the foundation of engineering, finance, data analytics and every form of Information Technology. The skills you develop will also assist you in problem solving and in understanding abstractions. If you combine a rigorous mathematics program with a concentration or  concentrations in applied fields you will be able to immediately put your skills to use in the real world.


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Tim’s Answer

Hi, Riley! I've seen a bunch of "Yes" answers, so I thought I should be a bit contrarian. My Dad got a Math degree (and a Masters in Math), and the advice he gave me was that unless you want to go to graduate school in math or do something really deep in Math (like an actuary), that it would be better for me to minor in Math instead of Major. The reason is that for entry-level jobs, it is most important to have skills that relate more directly to that job. IE if you wanted to be in Finance, get a Finance degree and minor in Math. Or if you want to be a cryptologist or cryptographer, study Computer Science and minor in Math. This is what I did-- I got a Physics degree and minored in Math. I got a job, strangely enough, as a programmer, and have evolved that career in some different positive directions. Math really teaches abstract ways of looking at problems, which is incredibly useful in a number of fields. Good luck!

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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

Yes !! IF you have a good hand in Math you can land in very good profiles in Finance. Application of Math in finance is huge for eg: Quantitative Analysis, Financial Engineering ,Financial Modeling etc.

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