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101 Careers in Mathematics

101 Careers in Mathematics, 3rd Edition

Andrew Sterrett, Editor

3rd Edition
Catalog Code: OCM-3
Print ISBN: 978-0-88385-786-1
Electronic ISBN: 978-1-61444-116-8
334 pp., Paperbound, 2014
List Price: $35.00
MAA Member: $28.00
Series: Classroom Resource Materials

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This third edition of the immensely popular, 101 Careers in Mathematics, contains updates on the career paths of individuals profiled in the first and second editions, along with many new profiles. No career counselor should be without this valuable resource.

The authors of the essays in this volume describe a wide variety of careers for which a background in the mathematical sciences is useful. Each of the jobs presented shows real people in real jobs. Their individual histories demonstrate how the study of mathematics was useful in landing well-paying jobs in predictable places such as IBM, AT&T, and American Airlines, and in surprising places such as FedEx Corporation, L.L. Bean, and Perdue Farms, Inc. You will also learn about job opportunities in the Federal Government as well as exciting careers in the arts, sculpture, music, and television. There are really no limits to what you can do if you are well prepared in mathematics.

The degrees earned by the authors profiled here range from bachelor’s to master’s to PhD in approximately equal numbers. Most of the writers use the mathematical sciences on a daily basis in their work. Others rely on the general problem-solving skills acquired in mathematics as they deal with complex issues.

Excerpt: Amanda Quiring, Project Manager (p.206)

‘Oh, so you’re both good with numbers!’ I’m an accountant and my twin sister is a math teacher and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that statement. Although the comment considerably understates the nature, diversity and complexity of both accounting and mathematics, there is some truth behind it. The skill set that I developed in my math degree has been extremely useful as I have pursued a career as an accountant.

In my role as a project manager at the International Accounting Standards Board, I spend the majority of my time researching complex accounting issues and writing papers with my related analyses and proposed solutions. Without even realizing it, I find myself applying the same approach to my work as I would to a mathematical proof¬—laying out all of the known relevant information, fitting it together in a logical order, and ending up with an understandable solution to a complex problem.

My mathematical background also has been useful in studying academic research related to accounting. While I have seen some people’s eyes glaze over when they flip through the pages of statistical analyses, I am able to approach the research with confidence and with a passion for understanding the mathematical tests performed as well as the accounting implications. My mathematical background has given me a great foundation should I decide to pursue a PhD in accounting.

I would highly recommend a math degree (or a double-major in math and another field) to anyone who is considering a career that requires problem-solving and logic skills. I came really close to not majoring in math. In fact, my first week of college I was so convinced that I wasn't going to pursue a math degree that I dropped out of Calculus III. However, thanks to the persistence of one of my math professors, I signed up for the course again the next year and the rest is history. Even though it was extremely challenging and I had to take summer classes in order to graduate in four years, it is a decision that I never have regretted.

MAA Review

This is a wonderful book, potentially of great value to students and those who advise them. It has some frustrating gaps too, but in a way they also emphasize how useful it is and could be. In brief, this book presents a collection of profiles of people who have (or had) a career that involves some aspect of mathematics. Nearly all the people here have at least one degree in mathematics; the few exceptions have degrees in field like physics, operations research, or a statistics-related area. Short essays at the end of the book discuss the processes of interviewing and finding a job, and what it’s like to work in industry (or, more broadly, outside the academic community).

There are 25 new entries in this new edition that bring the total number of profiles to 146. The “101 Careers” of the title is best regarded as meaning “lots of careers”; even the first edition had more than 101 profiles. Counting careers is also a little funny: they don’t match up one-to-one with people. As many of the profiles demonstrate, many people have more than one career. Indeed it is increasingly uncommon for people to have a single career throughout their lives. Continued...

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