Click here for a general list of FAQs about MAS programmes.
Many students we talk to are passionate about mathematics but are afraid that it won't lead them to a good career, except maybe as a teacher. Actually this view is far from the reality. Teaching is an important and satisfying profession, but it is only one of the many directions mathematicians take after graduation.
If you love your mathematics then the news for you is good: you can pursue what you love and at the same time give yourself an excellent foundation for a career which is interesting, prosperous, and flexible enough to respond to whatever our accelerating world turns up next.
We collected statistics on what our alumni so far (from 2008-2012) have gone on to do after MAS and here is the reality:
This distribution does not surprise us at MAS at all. Our modern world is dominated by new technologies and by the businesses that grow up around them. Our division is a "Mathematical Sciences" department, not a traditional pure mathematics department. Traditional mathematics departments are dominated by abstract theory. By "Mathematical Sciences" we are saying that we are focused not only on rigorous foundations but also on the kind of mathematics that will help you plug into this technological world and its recent and coming transformations.
Business / industry
There are many ways to prepare for a career in business at MAS. Indeed, relevance to business is something we take very seriously.
For example, we have a new track (a "track" is a choice of specialization in your degree) in Business Analytics. This word "Analytics" refers to the ongoing revolution in the collection, analysis and application of "Big Data". When you buy a book on Amazon, and it immediately suggests a few other books that you find you want to buy as well, you have just experienced a classic example of Analytics. Students on this track, in addition to learning the mathematical foundations of Analytics (statistics, technology, optimization) have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of business courses offered by Nanyang Business School. "Social Analytics" is an exciting new part of this game - the classic example of social analytics would be Facebook's "Social graph" which describes your network of online friends.
Another strong programme which will prepare you for a career in business is our Mathematics and Economics combined major, which is offered jointly with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is a challenging 4-year programme for ambitious students which will give you the most important parts of an education in Mathematics, as well as the most important parts of an education in Economics. MAEC graduates are strong in both quantitative and qualitative thinking. This makes them highly valued by a wide variety of employers in industries like banking, finance, insurance, and also in government.
A third way of preparing for a career in Business at MAS is by choosing our Statistics Track. Here is what Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian, recently had to say about how he saw the prospects for statistics: "I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians. People think I'm joking, but who would've guessed that computer engineers would've been the sexy job of the 1990s?". Students considering a career in statistics will find the full New York Times article this quote came from eye-opening.
Employers: PetroChina, Resorts World Sentosa, ExxonMobil, Lucasfilm, Procter&Gamble etc.
Finance and banking:
At its deepest levels, modern finance is, essentially, highly sophisticated mathematics. It is no secret that Wall Street firms are some of the biggest employers of PhDs in mathematics in the United States.
A good example of a mathematician who became one of the biggest players in Finance is James Simons. You can read about him on Wikipedia. James Simons started his career working in an abstract branch of pure mathematics called differential geometry. Several famous theorems in this field were discovered by him and now bear his name. At age 40 he transitioned to finance, starting a hedge fund called Renaissance Technologies. This fund is now one of the most famous funds in the game, regularly outperforming the market by a sizeable margin. His personal worth is currently estimated at about 10 billion US dollars.
Here are some examples of careers in finance our alumni have commenced:
There are many ways of preparing for a career in finance with MAS. MAS has deep links with Nanyang Business School. For example, MAS teaches many courses for the Master of Financial Engineering (MFE).
One way to prepare is to choose the degree in Mathematical Sciences with a Minor in Finance (MAFI). Students of MAFI are the only students in NTU who are allowed to take a minor in finance. This reflects the strong technical foundations of MAS students and the deep connections between the two subjects.
Another reason MAS is the right first step for a career in finance is because students of MAS have an opportunity for direct admission into MFE.
Economy analysis, policy making, statistics,...
Employers: Competition Commission of Singapore, Ministry of Finance, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Health, Singapore Land Authority, etc.
Science and engineering:
Data management, mathematical modelling, operations research, resource management, meteorology, defense science (code breaking, signal analysis, weapon design, battlefield simulation), medicine (drug visualisation, bioinformatics, biostatistics, chemical trials management, epidemics analysis),...
Employers: A*STAR, DSO National Laboratories, NTU, CGG Veritas, National Cancer Centre, Institute of Mental Health, etc.
University professor, teacher, education officer,...
Employers: Ministry of Education, The Learning Lab, Nanyang Technological University, Hwa Chong Institution etc.
Upon getting a degree in mathematics, you can go on to get a master or a Ph.D. degree in mathematics, economics, business, financial engineering, computer science, etc. Very often graduate studies come with a scholarship and you don't have to pay for your education any more.
A few of the many universities that have accepted our alumni for masters or Ph.D. programmes: University of Oxford, London School of Economics, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, Princeton, Columbia, Texas, British Columbia, Toronto, etc.