How to start developing your career alongside your Maths degree
With so many career paths available as a Maths student, how do you know what’s right for you? We spoke to one of our second year students, Mayura, about how she is building her professional experience alongside her studies.
Maths students explore a wide range of subjects throughout their degree and develop a desirable skillset in the process. By the time they graduate, they have proven they can think logically, problem solve, crunch numbers, and interpret complex data, among other things. All of this makes Maths graduates very attractive to employers.
But with so many career paths available as a Maths student, how do you know what’s right for you? We spoke to one of our second year students, Mayura, about how she is building her professional experience alongside her studies. She shared some great tips about navigating her career path and how to get the most out of careers events and mentoring schemes.
With a maths degree, you can go into so many different sectors. How have you gone about narrowing down the options?
One of the great things about a Maths degree is that it offers me a wide range of career opportunities and I could go into anything from auditing to accounting to teaching to actuarial or consultant work. To help narrow things down, I began attending career events organised by Bright Network and Fast Futures and these have really helped me better understand the financial sector which was always of interest to me.
One of the most useful events for me was one run by members of the Big 4 accounting firms (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, and EY) as it gave real insights into what auditors do. This showed me what the job would involve, and I had a chance to speak directly with employees from different accounting firms. It was thanks to this event that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the audit and accounting sector.
Once you had a clearer idea of what you wanted to do, what were some of the next steps?
I knew it was important to get some work experience, so I started working as a trainee accountant at a few different firms. Doing this alongside my studies allowed me to use the theoretical knowledge I was developing at university in real-life situations. Working in industry also helps you develop soft skills such as communication, time management and punctuality, which I believe are vital when applying for graduate roles.
Another step I took was to use the QMUL mentoring services and I’m currently on the School of Business and Management (SBM) mentoring programme. This has allowed me to discuss my career plans with a practicing professional and ask any career-related questions I had.
What are the best things you have learned from your mentor?
My mentor is currently working towards her accounting exams alongside a full-time job at one of Europe’s largest audit and accounting firms, so I’ve learned so much from her. Having 1 to 1 sessions every few weeks has been valuable for discussing graduate schemes, building my LinkedIn presence and exploring different career paths. Learning from my mentor's failures and seeing how she has overcome difficult situations has been educational, uplifting, and inspirational. Seeing how successful my mentor has become motivates me to always aim for higher goals.
You are quite active on LinkedIn. Do you have any tips for students that want to start using the platform to find opportunities?
LinkedIn is a social media platform that focuses on professional networking and career development. Networking with people via LinkedIn has allowed me to learn a lot about other members’ professional experiences, successes, and achievements. I enjoy going on LinkedIn to connect with students and professionals in fields that I aspire to join in the future. Seeing inspirational posts helps me get a head start in my career and motivates me to be successful.
A lot of careers events are online now. Do you find these as effective as the in-person ones?
COVID-19 has caused a lot of disruptions, but there have been some positive aspects too. With more and more careers events online, it’s actually quite convenient because I can attend from the comfort of my own home. For online events to be effective, you need to be proactive and being able to ask questions to the panellists at the end of the event is extremely useful. I really encourage people to do this and although it can seem daunting in an online event, I’ve got some of my best advice from Q&A sessions. Not only was I able to get answers for my questions, but it also put me on the right people’s radar.
How do you make time to focus on building a career while studying?
Taking time during my studies to research and explore my career path is something I know will have a positive impact on my future, so I do a little often. I spend a few hours every week looking for events that I want to attend, applying for internships, and planning the next steps for my career.
If you'd like to learn more about the careers services available to students from the School of Mathematical Sciences, visit the Careers section of our website.