School of Mathematics

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More than three-quarters of the graduate vacancies advertised this year by City investment banks and half the training contracts offered by the leading law firms are likely to be filled by graduates who have completed work experience with the employer.

High Fliers Research on “The Graduate Market in 2016"

Ella Walters

Quantitative Analyst

Ella Walters graduated in 2009 with a degree in Mathematics.

What did you do after graduation?
After graduation I temped in various jobs and enjoyed the summer off.  After the summer I continued temping but was more specific in the work I was looking for. This soon (September 2009) landed me a job at a financial software company. The work was very dull, and the pay minimal, but whilst working here I put my CV onto a number of city job websites and joined a variety of agencies specialising in financial work. I was approached by one of the agencies and swiftly offered an interview at a Secondary Service Provider (Six Telekurs). I was offered the job and worked here for a year.

What is your current position?
After working at Six Telekurs for a year as a Data Editor I soon realised this was not an area of finance I was interested in pursuing.  So I began the process of looking for something more mathematical that would allow me to use the skills I had gained during my degree. I soon fell across a job at a hedge fund, advertised as mainly middle office work (booking trades etc.). I was very lucky when I arrived for my first day as it had turned out that the lady who was doing the quantitative analysis work for the company had to leave to return to China. As the company knew about my mathematical background they offered me this position instead.

What does your current role involve?
My current role involves carrying out statistical analysis on a number of different trading strategies, as well as implementing certain risk analysis to ensure we comply with financial regulations. There are always new things to learn and it is definitely stretching, which I appreciate a lot after my previous job.

How do you use the knowledge you gained from your studies in your job?
I mainly use the statistical aspect of my degree to analyse large sets of data, as well as some of the computer programs (R) I was taught to use. I frequently refer to my lecture notes for certain theorems and methods.

How do you think that maths graduates would benefit from following your chosen career?
Having worked for a year at a job that didn’t utilise any of my degree, I think it is very important for people who enjoy maths to make sure that they find a job that allows them to use their skills. It is often a misconception that having a maths degree leads automatically onto a certain type of career. I think it is important to try out a number of different things as they can sometimes lead onto certain routes that you didn’t even know existed. 

Why did you choose to study maths?
I chose to study maths because I have always enjoyed the satisfaction of reaching an answer, something that not many subjects allow. I have always been more interested in sciences, especially the logic that comes with maths more than the others.

What are your favourite memories of studying at Leeds?
My favourite memories of studying at Leeds will probably be the friends I made in my lectures, and the hours we spent trying to learn and solve numerous problems.

What do you think appeals most to students studying at Leeds’ School of Mathematics?
I think the way the degree is set out is quite appealing as there is a lot of freedom throughout the three years to make sure you are choosing to study the areas of maths that you want.