Helen Armstrong
"Mathematics teaches you HOW to think, not what to think."

I graduated with honours in pure mathematics in 1992. I was "snapped up" by the Boston Consulting Group, one of the two international leaders in strategic management consulting (McKinsey the other). Note that I was employed as a generalist management consultant, not as a mathematician or financial analyst. I then succeeded in securing a job as the Australian
based publisher for an international academic book and journal publisher, and was responsible for developing and managing the Australian sourced list. I later became more involved in the international marketing for the Group, and made directly responsible for the Japanese office as well as becoming an integral part of the US and UK strategy development.

After 4.5 years running the Australian office, I decided to change tack and headed for the finance sector. I landed a job as the Australian telecommunications and IT analyst for Cazenove, a London stockbroker. However, after 6 months in this role (in which I was very successful being responsible for roadshowing a major client and producing a number of well received stock reports), I realised that I was not, at heart, a "suit" and was happier in an academic environment. So I resigned and took up an APA scholarship at UNSW to do a PhD in mathematics where I am using mathematics to indulge my passion and follow my curiosity about stochasticity versus complexity in the universe (what is "randomness"? is it just that which we do not understand because we are of limited understanding, or is there an
essential element of stocasticity that would pertain even in the face of absolute knowledge?)

The point of all the above is, if I'd had a "professional" or more focussed degree, I would never have had the necessary talents to secure and be successful in all the above roles. Employers find mathematics graduates very attractive because they are skilled at problem solving on a conceptual level. A mathematician's problem solving skill is not limited to one
industry, one area, one field, but is transferable for use in any situation.

What advide would I give to a someone who doesn't want to limit themselves to one profession? Do yourself a favour, do maths.

Catherine Belward

I enjoyed studying mathematics in my BSc at the University of Queensland, and became hooked on applying mathematics to the real world. So after contacting a number of other departments at the University I decided to enrol for a PhD and apply my mathematical knowledge to the study of tomography in chemical engineering.
My studies have provided many exciting experiences. I have presented talks at national conferences around Australia, collaborated with and visited researchers in England and Holland, where I stayed for 2 months.
Currently I am working for Opcom doing software testing, and still doing my PhD part-time

Shaun Belward

I studied mathematics at the University of Queensland finishing my degree in 1993.
During one of my vacations I worked at the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne.
Apart from having a great time I found people were using the mathematics I was studying
at university.
When I finished my degree I was offered a job as a meteorologist, but instead I took a lecturing position in the Mathematics Department at James Cook University.

Francis Bond
I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Maths and Japanese (Yes it is possible to do maths as part of an Arts degree) in 1988 and then a Batchelor of Egineering in 1990.
Since graduating I have been working for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Company at their communication science laboratories south of Toyko. I am part of a team developing a machine which will translate, over the phone, Japanese speech into English. Analysing language requires the sort of very precise logical approach which you learn when studying mathematics. Living in Japan is great.
Have you heard of kendo, fencing with bamboo swords? I now play kendo for the company team.
Barbara Chan
Hi, as a quantitative investment analyst with ABN AMRO, an international bank based in Amsterdam, I will perform risk management and participate in portfolio management based on quantitative modelling techniques. ABN AMRO is a leading global asset manager with over US$100 billion under management worldwide. My duties will involve liaising with brokers to collect market information and maintaining databases and computer programs for quantitative models. The quality and accuracy of these models are vital for deriving the important factors for optimizing the expected return.
Kim-Anh Do
I work in the Department of Social and Preventative Medicine, PA Hospital and Herston Medical School. I am married with a young son.
I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at The University of Queensland, where I won the Caltex Woman of the Year Award. This broadly based degree gave me many career choices. I chose to go to Stanford University (USA) where I completed a MSc and PhD in Statistics.
While in the US I worked as a consultant for the Stanford Medical School and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, North Carolina.
My typical day has lots of variety, such as teaching within the Faculty of Medicine, researching medical problems with teams of Mathematicians and Medicos and advising health professionals on statistical matters.
Mellissa Dobbie
Having enjoyed maths at school, I decided to study statistics and pure maths together with computer science and German at The University of Queensland. I graduated in 1993 with an honours degree in statistics.
Since then I have worked as a statistician. At present I am working in the Biometrics Unit at CSIRO. My main role is to consult with scientists and help them design and analyse experiments. One of my present projects involves studying the prevalence of viral antibodies in mice on the Darling Downs.
I enjoy working for CSIRO. It is interesting and challenging and I can apply the knowledge and skill acquired at university to real life.
Jamin Flohr
Hi, although Iím trained as an optometrist, I have returned to my true love ó Maths.
My enjoyment of maths has been long standing. In high school I won a silver medal in the Australian Maths Olympiad (1992) and prizes in the Westpac Maths Competition and QAMT competitions over several years.
After high school, I decided to follow a career in Optometry but found it dull in comparison to mathematical problem solving, so I returned to study and graduated with a B.Sc(Math) last year, I am doing Honours this year with a thesis on localizing relativistic electrons.
Outside of studies I play volleyball, indoor cricket and basketball, and if possible, would like to spend every waking moment playing computer strategy games like Starcraft and Diablo II. I hope to continue my studies and do a PhD in Mathematical Physics.
Michael Forbes

I have always enjoyed and been good at Mathematics and when I finished Year 12, I looked for a way to turn my interest into a career. I started with a science degree, majoring in Mathematics, at UQ. Then in late 1986 I was offered and accepted a job at OPCOM, an Operations Research and Software Development company.Since then my career, and OPCOM, have gone from strength to strength. OPCOM started as a small company doing whatever work came along. However, as we have grown, we have focused heavily on three core products: IPTIS, PLANZ and OPCrew.
IPTIS is an Integrated Public Transport Information System. It is the backbone of the TransInfo service accessed in Brisbane by phone and internet (www.transinfo.qld.gov.au) as well as similar services in Perth, Auckland and many locations in the UK.
PLANZ automatically designs transportation networks to move mail between mail centres. OPCrew determines the optimal crew schedules for operating public transport services. All of these systems have a core of advanced mathematical algorithms and about one fifth of OPCOMís employees are heavily involved in algorithm development.
Mathematics has been very good to me but the most important thing is that it has been fun, and that I still enjoy maths, both for its practical applications and for its beauty.

Phil Gleeson
"Maths taught me how to think logically and systematically."
After one year of chemical engineering at Sydney University, Phil switched to a science degree focussing on biology. He continued to study maths because it was challenging and it gave him skills that other biology students lacked. His Honours project involved modelling the interactions between parasitic wasps and their hosts.
Phil is now a data analyst for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in Cairns. He uses satellite technology and mathematics to model the population of Papaya Fruit Fly and to monitor eradication measures.
Rebecca Gower
After completing my PhD at UQ Maths Department I took up a fellowship at Oxford University, then a job in the ĎCivil Serviceí at the Department of Education and Employment (DfEE) in London.
At DfEE I was involved in Operations Research, a branch of mathematics concerned with forecasting, planning, and optimisation.My results were used to advise government on policy decisions. In particular I worked on using census and birth data to predict the number of school-aged children to be taught in state schools.
Recently I have moved back to Oxford to work for a small company called Numbercraft. Numbercraft uses mathematical methods and computer software to provide business intelligence technology to clients in retail, manufacturing and media sectors. This advice helps companies improve their sales. As an example, for supermarket chains we analyse what the customers buy, when they buy it and what they buy on a single shopping trip. Most of my time is spent doing analysis. However I do spend some time preparing presentations, writing reports and helping prepare new proposals.
I like the variety in my new job and I like having the chance to go out and explain my work to the clients rather than just sit in the office.
Brenton Gray
Hi. After graduating with an Honours degree, majoring in Mathematics, from The University of Queensland I went to work for Bain International. Bain International is a management consulting firm with offices across North America, Asia and Europe. I joined the branch in Boston, where I was employed as an Associate Consultant. My days were spent focusing on primary and secondary research gathering, analysis of data and recommending and implementing business solutions. To further my career I returned to the University of Queensland and completed a PhD in 1998. I am currently working in the Treasury Division of MIM Holdings. Essentially I work on special business projects, where I model expected profitability, and I also check that projects meet financial and legal obligations, as well as reporting on their progress.
Mark Griffin
I am working in medical image processing at the Centre for Magnetic Resonance, at UQ.
I used to wonder about mathematics and my future. Now I realise my work may save a personís life - that says a lot about the crucial nature of mathematics.
I graduated from The University of Queensland with degrees in engineering and mathematics and finished with a PhD in mathematical research. Initially I was concerned that if I followed mathematics, Iíd end up working in a field that was totally separate from the Ďreal worldí, but now I see these concerns as naive.
Currently, Iím working at UQís Centre for Magnetic Resonance. Two exciting projects I am involved in are the study of stroke patients, where we use Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) and statistical mixture modelling to predict the progress of the patient, and a cardiac project, where MRIs are taken of the patientís beating heart, and from these we construct models to assess heart strain.
I am privileged to see mathematics in the work of doctors, psychologists, physicists and engineers here at the Centre. I see now that mathematics is fundamental to a pursuit of all of these careers.
Maths is beautifully simple when you look at the patterns it produces. But itís more than just a nice brainteaser. I can meet the patients whose images I have displayed on my computer screen and know that the work I am currently doing may save that personís life.
Phil Hawkes
Working for Qualcomm in the design and analysis of stream ciphers (pseudo-random bit generators) used for encryption in mobile phones.
I am a son of missionaries from Papua New Guinea: they are now in Fiji. I developed an interest of maths in high school at Blue mountains Grammar School NSW and received lots of encouragement from the maths department. Through highschool I was always involved in the Westpac Mathematics Competition (although I only received a prize in year 12). In 1990
I went to the National Mathematics Summer School, Canberra.
I have always enjoyed maths, and Iím amazed that still do. As I am not sick of it by now, I can't imagine that I ever will be. Personally, I enjoy the simpler forms of mathematics rather than trying to understand really difficult concepts; I especially enjoy exploring for patterns and relationships between different things. I must admit that some types of maths donít interest me that much, but then there are many times when Iíve needed these less interesting forms of maths to manage the interesting maths (confused yet?), so boring maths is still worth learning.
While, doing maths can be a solo activity, some of my great memories have been doing maths with other people from year 12 onwards; you never know what youíll find. Cryptography I enjoy because there are many possibilities that can be explored in looking
for attacks and cryptography is important: finding an attack on a cipher has implications in the real world.
Aside from my research (and study at uni) Iíve usually been involved in helping lead youth group and Sunday school at the church I attend. I keep myself entertained playing guitar. I love international travel. Attending conferences and visiting universities to talk about my research has given me the opportunity to visit a variety of countries.
I have been working for Qualcomm, the company that developed the commercial version of CDMA (the mobile phone system that Telstra is using to replace the analog system) since completing my PhD in 1998. I have great flexibility in the research I want to do, and much of my research has commercial applications. My work involves a fair bit of programming as part of my analysis of ciphers.
I think Iíve managed to get the perfect job straight off: I get to do what I enjoy, and what Iím good at, and I get paid very well for it!
Adelle Howse
Acting Manager Market Developments Tarong Energy Corporation Limited.
Hi. I work in the Marketing and Trading Department for Tarong Energy which is an electricity company. My particular section is responsible for preparing price and volume forecasts, and for analysing and evaluating a variety of projects. Our information is used in Risk Management, Pricing and Trading.
There are three people with maths degrees here which indicates the importance of the skills. Mathematics certainly develops analytic and problem solving abilities which are invaluable in application to many "real" situations.
We use a lot of computer tools to produce results, but having an understanding of maths means that we can better control the accuracy of these models and thus make better decisions.
Evan Jones
I am currently working as a Designer and Java developer for Eyron Software Solutions
Maths has taken me from generating efficient schedules to developing exciting computer games, not to mention the travel it has brought. I really can say that I have applied mathematical techniques to real world problems.
After graduating from The University of Queensland with an Honours Degree in Mathematics, I embarked on a number of interesting jobs. As a university research assistant I worked on automated solutions to school timetabling problems, which is of widespread benefit. I then travelled to England, where I completed a PhD at Cambridge, in Computational Mathematics. Cambridge is home to a small online games company, Historical Engineering, and while I was working there I wrote and tested over 28,000 lines of Java code for games. All this in just 14 months!
Workwise, I have found that my experience in JavaScript, as wells as C, Pascal, Fortran, Matlab and other languages has been very handy.
So, from England, it was off to Israel, where I currently work on developing web based applications in Java and XML. I can happily say that I think Iíve found my niche as a software developer for Eyron Software Solutions.
My other interests include rowing, football, martial arts, singing and drawing.
Kerem Kozan
I am currently completing a parallel degree in Commerce and Science. Within these degrees I am concentrating on mathematics, finance and information technology. There are enormous employment opportunities in these fields, especially if you have a strong creative insight into how they are interrelated. For me, mathematics nurtures my thinking ability, especially when research is involved. During the holidays I worked on a Summer Vacation Research Scholarship, where I was given a unique insight into the work of research. From this month of research I improved my knowledge in several fields, such as data mining and genetic algorithms.
Michael Landman
"A person with a maths background can adapt to a vast number of professions."
Now a Senior Reservoir Engineer with BHP, Michael has spent time on oil rigs as a petroleum engineer and has studied and researched in Australia and the United States. He studied maths for the diversity of fields he could enter.
Michael has a maths degree with Honours in Chaos Theory from Melbourne University and also a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from CalTech in the United States and spent 2 years in New York researching fluid flow.
He returned to Australia and started work as a research scientist for BHP, shifting towards engineering in 1993.
Tel Lekatsas
Hi . Iíve been fascinated by mathematics and biology for as long as I can remember. Before studying mathematics, I completed a medical degree at the University of Queensland and I continue to work as a doctor on a part-time basis. My main areas of mathematical interest are knot theory and biomathematics.
Biological systems, such as the human heart or simply DNA in each living cell, are incredibly complex. Many branches of mathematics have been used to gain insight into such systems. Currently I have been looking at Knot Theory and applying it to the topology of DNA.
Jeremy Liew
"Working today is much more about skills like problem solving than about knowledge. Being a good analytic problem solver lets you do almost anything."
Jeremy studied maths and linguistics at the Australian National University. Graduating with Honours in maths in 1993, he worked for management consultants McKinsey & Co. for 2 years, spending one year in South Africa. He is now a Strategic Planning Manager for CitySearch, an Internet company in Los Angeles.
Jeremy liked maths because it was fun and he was good at it. While maths is not part of his everyday work, the problem solving skills he learnt by studying maths are invaluable.
Andrea Marshall
I completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland in 1999, majoring in Mathematics and was awarded First Class Honours in Applied Mathematics in 2000. My main interest was applied and computational mathematics, particularly in the context of meteorology. My honours thesis focussed on the surface temperature of planetary bodies, specifically Earth, the Moon and Mars.
I am currently doing a Graduate Diploma of Meteorology with the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne. Upon completion I will become an operational forecaster for the Bureau. Meteorology is based on conceptual models derived from a dynamical and thermodynamical framework. I found my background in maths to be crucial to understanding these basic concepts. My main interests in meteorology are severe weather patterns in a tropical climate.
So, I very much hope to return to Brisbane to forecast and develop my understanding of tropical and sub-tropical climates.
Melina Masci
Currently programming in Visual Basic for database testing and design.
Hi, after graduating with a BSc degree in 1995 I worked in London for a financial software company, Bloomberg LP, where I developed software to help market analysts predict market trends. I also trained analysts to use statistical techniques such as regression to predict market trends. This involved presentations in European cities, which included Madrid, Zurich and Lisbon.
I believe that mathematics teaches students important skills that are valuable in many facets of everyday life. The techniques help in developing a clear evaluation of problems and in making decisions and reaching logical solutions.
My hobbies include reading, travelling and netball.
Darren Ian Reading
I studied computational maths at the University of Queensland and was awarded my PhD in 1997. Since then I have worked as a teacher both in high schools and at universities and as a manager in Information Technology for Jebb Holland Dimasi P/L - Economic and Property Consultants.
I am presently working in development and applications programming.
Brenda Richardson
"I have definitely used the skills I gained, the logical approach and the mindset."
Brenda is Manager of Computer Aided Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Systems for Ford Australia. She provides computing tools for engineering and manufacturing including design, crash-testing and vehicle tracking.
She studied computer science and mathematics at the University of Tasmania and has been working for Ford since she finished Honours.
Brenda gained analytical skills, persistence and ability to solve complex problems logically by studying maths. She recommends maths for developing mental agility and logical thought processes.
Walter Robb
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science (mathematics) in 1975, I have specialised in statistics, and completed a Master of Scientific Studies (statistics) at the University of Queensland in 1981. Networks Fast tracking our mail Modelling vehicle data Future transport Dear Minister I have more than 20 years experience in public sector planning and statistical services, particularly in education, health, and criminal justice.
I have contributed to the development of several national and state statistical systems, including implementation of the Queensland Criminal Justice Information Integration Strategy.
A major project I recently worked on was a review of AusAID. This project included evaluation of the need for statistics and statistical services providing recommended strategies to improve the quality and accessibility of statistics on Australiaís international development activities.
Rather than just talk numbers, I like to talk about the meaning behind the numbers, about people and about the impact of new government policies on households or businesses. Statistics are the key to quantifying changes in society, making historical comparison and planning for the future.
My interests include genealogy, music and travelling.
Geof Seawright
I graduated with a combined honours degree in Mathematics and Computer Science at The University of Queensland in 1983.
After graduating I started working for Mincom, using geostatistics to develop mining software. Since then I have worked on the development of pacemakers with the Sydney firm Telectronics, in London with an oil and gas company, and contracted for the Main Roads Department and Telstra. I now have my own business with my main customer being Telstra.
I am also a keen mountaineer which has teken me to the US, New Zealand and the Himalayas.
Anna Vigliotti
"The importance of maths in financial markets cannot be overstated."
Anna did a combined maths and economics degree at the University of Adeliade. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Education in 1986 she joined the Australian Bureau of Statistics as a graduate economist providing statistical advice. In 1989 she worked for Leadenhall Australia Limited as a financial analyst, later she moved to the State Bank of SA as a Senior Economist. Anna now has a Masters in Business Administration and works in Milan as a Chief Economist for EptaConsors.
Anna relies on her knowledge of mathematical modelling, statistics and economic analysis, which she gained during her studies. The problem solving and analytical skills she learned are also extremely valuable and allow her to take a problem, translate it into a mathematical form, create a model, and use the model to solve the problem.
Sarah Zahrai
Hi. I started studying mathematics at Sharif University, in Iran where I was born.
In 1992 I came to Australia and finished a maths degree at the University of Queensland.
In 1998 I submitted a thesis for a PhD in which I studied abstract algebraic structures.
It was great to finish my thesis as I had just been offered a job at Stanwell Corporation, a Queensland electricity generating company.
Working with Stanwell is really exciting. Electricity is produced on a supply and demand basis and each day sees us trade electricity worth millions of dollars. Decisions made on the trading floor depend on mathematical calculations. In fact, the whole electricity market is driven by mathematical processes.
I spent 1999 learning and analysing all facets of the company and also studying the financial market. By combining this knowledge with my mathematical skills I can produce new ideas to enhance the running of the energy market at this company.