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Does pursuing a mathematics degree make sense for data analytics and or finance?

I am typically fascinated by mathematics as a whole and I am vaguely interested in data analytics or finance. I do plan on learning more on my own about both careers but I want to hear from other professionals if getting a mathematics degree is worth the time investment for either those two careers. #finance #math #career

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Mickael’s Answer

Hi Terrence,

I am not in the domain of data analytics or finance (though I did learn about data mining and data analytics 20 years ago) but I think both totally use maths to solve their problem (well they may use computers, but the computers use maths so ...)
Be aware that, for example, machine learnings are pure statistical models that you train. This is pure maths being. Nothing more.
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Mohamed’s Answer

Hello, definitely math is very helpful. There are many finance roles that barely use any math and you probably don't need advanced math to have a successful career in any organization. If you enjoy math, that's an advantage that could help you dig deeper into problems, tackle new and changing methods (as it for data science or artificial intelligence), and have a different perspective from most. Finance and data science particularly are quite related to math particularly algebra and stochastic calculus, so math will make it easier for you to find unique and interesting roles.

Good luck!
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Jack’s Answer

Yes, pursuing a degree in math makes plenty of sense for a career in finance. I majored in math during undergrad and found that a lot of the skills you will strengthen in the major make learning financial concepts such as the time value of money much easier.

It is typically a good idea to take some classes in other subjects (namely business, economics, and/or computer science). Since I attended a liberal arts university, this was required to some extent. This helped me a lot when looking for jobs, because I had a broader skill set and was still able to tackle rigorous analytical problems.

Some common jobs in finance that would heavily use math include:

- Quantitative investing (you can look at hedge funds like Two Sigma, D.E. Shaw, Renaissance Technologies)
- Data Science (I work at UBS and have really enjoyed working with our in-house research/data science team)

If you are interested in math, you can have lots of good job options coming out of school. Just make sure to supplement your knowledge with some sort of domain knowledge. In my case, I took some business and computer science classes so that I could work at a financial institution. If you find that higher level math isn't for you, taking the intro math classes in university will keep your options open for other majors (such as economics, physics, or computer science).

Jack recommends the following next steps:

Take the intro math courses (e.g. Calculus, Discrete Math, Differential Equations) and see if you like them. If not, you still have plenty of time to pivot and change your major.
If you do find that you like the math major, keep with it and supplement your knowledge with domain-specific knowledge. For finance, I would recommend taking an accounting and corporate finance class along with an intro to economics. Taking a computer science class or two to learn how to code, specifically if you can learn in a language like Python, R, or Matlab/Octave, would also be beneficial.
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Charlotte’s Answer

Yes! One of the amazing things about math is that it paves the way for many different careers, including those in the financial sector. It's also great that you love math -- that really is the most important factor in considering what to study. I studied pure math and found it relatively easy to transition into finance.

However, when discussing studying math, it is important to note the many different areas you can focus on. Pure math is proof-based and is not directly applicable to finance. Applied math or data science studies are much more applicable.

In the end, you can use either of these fields to make yourself a promising candidate -- it should really matter much more which you are passionate abouet.
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Brayden’s Answer

Hello!

While a major in math might be helpful for a degree in finance or data analytics however if these are fields that you want to pursue then I would look at degrees more in this field and think of having the math degree as a second major or a minor. One of the challenges of jobs today is that companies are looking for people with degrees with specific degrees in the fields that they are working. Especially in a finance degree, only having the math degree wont give you some of the much needed business skills and topics that are required in that field. While im not saying its impossible it just might be a more difficult route to pursue but is worth a shot.

Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the answer, this has given me an idea of what I need to do next. Terrence
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Natalia’s Answer

Hello!

Analytical thinking is crucial for data analytics and finance roles. That being said, I would not recommend taking extremely intense mathematics courses that are often times theoretical, just to excel at those roles. If you are interested in Math, take those classes! If you are interested in learning more about data analytics and finance, I would recommend classes in excel, SQL, Python as well as accounting, stocks/investing, and economics.

Many schools that have business or data analytics program will have certain math prerequisites. At my university, I was required to take one calculus course. I took a second calculus course and deeply regretted it. It was way too difficult for me and I was not passionate about the subject. However, some people loved taking advanced calculus courses and realized their math knowledge was really helpful for upper level economics classes.
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Maria’s Answer

Hello, wish you all the best in your pursues.

A degree in Mathematics makes sense to pursue a career in Finance and or Business Management, particularly in the area or product development, logistics, etc.

I would recommend courses in Economics and other humanities. In terms of college degrees, you will need a BS in either discipline, and an MBA and or Financial Licenses if you pursue client-facing positions.

Good luck.

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Leah’s Answer

I studied mathematics in undergrad and am now pursuing my masters in Data Science now. As other people have said, there are a lot of theoretical based classes that are needed for a "regular" mathematics degree, so I would look at getting an Applied Math degree specifically for those fields. If you do go into a math degree, I highly suggest getting a minor in the other fields you are interested in. It will help you not only market yourself to those jobs but also learn some of the skills needed. Personally for a data scientists coming from a math background, I highly suggest also learning about programming languages such as Python, R, and SQL, which you might not learn in a math degree.

Overall I think a math degree is a very helpful degree if you're unsure of what specific field you want to get into. While I did learn a lot of math, I mostly learned how to understand math which makes learning the skill needed for specific industries easier.
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Victor’s Answer

Success in data analytics has a lot to do with education. Math degree is common for data scientists, statisticians, actuaries, financial analysts. So yes it can open door to various career choices.
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Yi-che’s Answer

The math for data analytics and finance are quite difference. For data analytics, it more focus on engineering math. You may need to have the programming skill. For finance, it is more related to accounting. It is better to have an accounting license. You need to consider what is your interests. I think they are two different career paths.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the answer, this has given me an idea of what I need to do next. Terrence
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robert’s Answer

yes makes a ton of sense. Frankly speaking, for a career in finance you don't necessarily need to study finance. it will certainly help but doesn't automatically mean you will be successful. For college you want to get a degree that challenges you to think critically and improves both math/communication skills. Math major will satisfy that form my experience. math majors i know are good communicators - generally and obviously very analytical.
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James’s Answer

Mathematics is a great degree choice but that alone may not get you to where you want to be in finance. You would need to be able to apply with in conjunction with a finance or accounting degree and another respondent suggested statistics (which i agree) may carry more weight and be more flexible in future career pursuits. To truly apply mathematics you will need to be able to source and engineer data to make sense of it.
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Mark’s Answer

Focus on statistics. You really don't need to understand high level math (calc, etc.) to do well in finance. I use arithmetic and that's about it every day.
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Chandler’s Answer

Companies do hire math majors and math degree holders for data analytics positions. The simplest way to find out is call a couple recruiters for companies you would like to work for. You can reach them through the career section of the company's website. They are paid to talk to potential hires like you so don't feel bad about calling them on this topic. They may even have high school internships. If you do choose a math degree make sure you take courses in data analytics or finance. Then join clubs or have a part-time job in the field to round out your resume when you graduate.

Chandler recommends the following next steps:

Go to a company website you are interested upon graduation.
Call a recruiter from one of the companies you are interested in and ask about degrees and internships.
If you choose a math degree make sure you have volunteer/club/part-time job experience in the career you want.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Terrence,

Choosing to study for a degree in mathematics can open doors to rewarding careers in both data analytics and finance. The foundational skills and knowledge that mathematics imparts are key to succeeding in roles that involve data analysis and financial modeling. Here's why a mathematics degree can be a game-changer if you're considering a career in data analytics or finance:

1. Enhanced Analytical Skills: Studying mathematics hones your analytical skills, which are vital for making sense of complex data sets, spotting trends, and making data-driven decisions. Jobs in data analytics and finance often involve analyzing large amounts of data to extract valuable insights, and a mathematics background lays the groundwork for this.

2. Mastery of Quantitative Analysis: Mathematics is the language of numbers and patterns, and it's crucial in fields that depend heavily on quantitative analysis, like finance and data analytics. A degree in mathematics can help you deeply understand mathematical concepts such as calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and statistics. These are directly relevant to tasks like risk assessment, financial modeling, and predictive analytics.

3. Superior Problem-Solving Skills: A mathematics education cultivates strong problem-solving skills, which are necessary for addressing complex issues in both data analytics and finance. Those with a mathematics background excel at formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, testing solutions, and optimizing processes. These are all valuable skills in roles that involve data interpretation, statistical analysis, and financial decision-making.

4. Career Flexibility: A mathematics degree offers a wide range of career options within data analytics and finance. With a strong mathematical foundation, you can explore diverse roles such as data scientist, financial analyst, risk manager, actuary, quantitative analyst, or investment banker. The logical thinking and analytical rigor that come with a mathematics education are highly transferable across different industries and job functions.

5. Competitive Edge: In the competitive job markets of data analytics and finance, a mathematics degree can give you an edge over your peers. Employers often appreciate the quantitative skills, critical thinking abilities, and problem-solving prowess that a mathematics background brings when hiring for roles that involve working with complex datasets, developing algorithms, or conducting financial analysis.

In summary, a mathematics degree can be a smart choice for those interested in data analytics or finance careers. It equips you with strong analytical skills, quantitative expertise, problem-solving abilities, and offers flexibility in career choices, giving you a competitive advantage in these fields.

Top 3 Reliable Sources Used:

1. Harvard Business Review: A trusted source for insights on business trends, management practices, and career advice related to finance and analytics.

2. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS offers extensive data on job outlooks, salary information, and educational requirements for careers in finance and mathematics-related fields.

3. The Mathematical Association of America (MAA): The MAA promotes the mathematical sciences through publications, resources, and research insights relevant to careers in mathematics and its applications in various industries.

These sources were used to gather reliable information on the benefits of pursuing a mathematics degree for careers in data analytics and finance.

Stay blessed!
James Constantine Frangos.
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