February 27, 2012
As a Math major, I spent eight years of training at a University where I learned all the intricacies of how Mathematics works. Throughout that time, I had the same question many of you currently have i.e., how does math fit into my career?
Two weeks after I graduated, I started working for a large insurance company just north of San Francisco, California. I spent almost 17 years working for that same company. Six of those years were in a field called Management Information Systems, and I spent almost 11 years in business management and business development for the same company. During those years, I spent considerable time using all the math skills I built up in my university training. What I found is that there are three specific areas that you will continue to use the math skills you learn in college:
- Analysis – Defined as the separation of the whole into component parts. Working in the Management Information Systems (MIS) area, I often had to integrate large scale data applications into a mainframe environment. To do so, I had to research and understand all the different processing streams and systems that were impacted. In essence, I had to look at the bigger picture, then plan out my implementation schedules for the programs implemented each evening. These programs affected over a million customers so there was no room for errors in this process. It required detailed analysis of each implementation cycle each evening.
- Problem Solving – Defined as a thought process for solving problems. Working at different levels of business management, I was often confronted with problems to address and solve. These problems came in the form of developing department budgets, finding ways to decrease expenses, looking at opportunities to improve performance, and evaluating employees. Each of these areas are standard business areas which often have to be addressed. In essence, I was using problem solving techniques to come up with proposals, solutions and future directions for the departments I had.
- Logic – Defined as reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles. I spent two years in the areas of business development. During those years, I had to come up with marketing and business plans.When working in the sales fields, you have to follow and come up with very specific plans to meet your sales goals. It requires the discipline of logic and using a sound understanding of your customer and your market area as well as knowing your competition. Logic helped me to think through all my plans to ensure I met and exceeded all my goals.
When you think about the skills that you learn in your math classes i.e., Analysis, Problem Solving and Logic, each of those are easily applied to investments, financing, business, the medical industry and any field that requires these skill sets. So, the next time you’re in a math class at Bryant & Stratton College, remember, you’re not just working on skills to get you through a class, but rather you are building skills to make you successful in your career.
About the Author:
Hector Valenzuela, M.A. is a Math Faculty member at Bryant & Stratton College – Online. In addition to his work in the field of applied Mathematics, he also spent 17 years in application areas of: Management Information Systems, Business Finance and Business Development