Department of Mathematics

What do Sussex Mathematics graduates do?

Sussex maths graduates are highly employable. Recent graduates have started working in the following jobs/sectors:

  • analytics consultant, Capgemini Invent
  • audit and assurance, PwC
  • data scientist, IG
  • tax advisory
  • cyber security specialist
  • specialist risk manager, Lloyds Bank
  • assistant project accountant, BAE Systems
  • data analyst, Kubrick Group
  • PhD researcher
  • junior technical consultant
  • teacher
  • actuarial pricing analyst, Canopius
  • assistant pricing and planning manager, Volkswagen Financial Services
  • business development manager, Ccs Prepay
  • head of quality assurance, Fusion Gfx

What are our graduates doing now?

Megan, on her career at Capgemini as an Analytics Consultant

Graduate Megan PeacockWhat was your first position after graduation and what did it involve?

Working for Capgemini as an Associate Consultant in the Analytics Team. This is a two-year graduate scheme, where I will work with a variety of clients in varying roles. There is real flexibility in the choice of roles completed.

What are you doing now and what does it involve?

Currently, I am working jointly as a project manager and an analyst based at Heathrow.  As a consultant, I have a lot of responsibility working with stakeholders within the company as well as with external clients.

I have received a lot of support, training and development. The scheme offers a one-year Microsoft Data Science course where I will learn R or Python with time off to study. I have recently attended a training course in Germany too with European colleagues which was great. I am also involved in the ‘Lunch and Learn’ meet ups which is a working lunch group looking at coding, machine learning and other industry trends.

Why did you apply for the job you are in now?

I was attracted to the variety of roles completed throughout the two-year program. The availability of training and development and the travel that is included.

Did your degree help you with your current career?

Absolutely, being a highly numerate degree has certainly helped. The placement year I completed as part of my degree is one of the main reasons I was successful in securing the role. Out of the intake for the scheme, almost all other graduates had some kind of relevant experience whether a placement year or summer internship. Many other graduates had completed a Master’s so definitely my year in industry gave me a competitive edge.

I learnt to code in MatLab and SAS, which definitely helped and prepared me to learn other languages. The teaching module that I took has also helped me to be confident in giving presentations and preparing for assessments and interviews.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

I was involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities which has certainly helped. I organised the Maths Society (SUMS) ball as well as starting up and organising the ‘Pop’ lectures.

Would you recommend Maths/Physics at Sussex to someone else?

Yes definitely. It is a lot of work to complete a STEM degree but it is absolutely worth it. I developed a determination to succeed and a strong work ethic that prepared me for full time working hours. The continuous deadlines has made me very disciplined in my work.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

One hundred percent. It gives the opportunity to try different roles, work with different clients and gain a real understanding of what you want to do. The support has been amazing.

Jordan, on his career in teaching

Maths graduate Jordan JonTell us about your first teaching job

My first teaching job was straight out of university where I learnt on the job. I was teaching mathematics in a low-income area, in a secondary school with approximately 800 students and many members of staff whom I had never met. I was learning on the job and had an amazing support base around me.

Over the past 5 years, the school has supported me through my qualification and my NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) year and has helped me move through the school to the stage I am currently at, in the same school. I am currently in charge of KS3 Mathematics at the same school that has grown to nearly 1,500 students. I teach all the way from year 7 to Further Maths in year 13. I also represent staff on the governing board as well as being the union representative in the school.

I have just finished a Masters degree in education and currently undertaking an NPQML (National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership) as a research project in the school in the hopes of further progressing through the school.

Did your degree help you with your current career?

My degree supported me well in terms of subject knowledge and understanding of maths which I am teaching in a variety of ways. My teaching was also supported by the confidence my degree gave me and the methods of teaching I observed from staff and PhD students at the university.

Would you recommend Maths at Sussex to someone else?

Definitely! The conversations I was able to have with scientists and mathematicians at Sussex expanded my knowledge and insights which I can always draw on during my career and in life generally.

Any advice to those thinking of going into teaching?

My top 3 tips for people thinking about going into teaching would be:

-  Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Nobody expects you to be a polished teacher at any point in your career, let alone at the start.

-  If your first school is not right for you, this does not mean teaching is not right for you.

-  Observe as many different teachers as you can.

Jordan Jon
Mathematics MMath graduate

Contact Jordan at:

Twitter: @informalteacher

Hayley, on doing a PhD in antenna propagation

Hayley LeanneHayley (middle) and colleagues Prof Chris Budd (supervisor), and Kate Powers (SAMBa PhD student)

What was your first position after graduation and what did it involve?

I am a PhD student at the University of Bath and am partly sponsored by BT. I work with electrical engineers on antenna propagation. The research focuses on taking the models used by engineers to model antennas and using mathematics to make these more informative and efficient. These models are mostly built on measurements, my work focuses on taking the behaviour from the models and trying to develop a method which can give information about the quality of wi-fi coverage without measurements being needed. In my research I do a lot of coding, and have ended up engineering my own software to run our model. My interests are in partial differential equations and developing models to approximate solutions. There are some posts on my blog about my research, my favourite is this one, https://wordpress.com/view/whoisbehindtheblackboard.wordpress.com. I also talk about being a woman in engineering, starting a PhD and other ramblings about early career academia.

Alongside my PhD I have taken part in numerous industrial study groups, these are week long events where companies present problems and mathematicians attempt to use maths to find new ways of approaching them. These have been fantastic for my learning and collaborating. I’ve got a blog post about these https://whoisbehindtheblackboard.wordpress.com/2017/08/17/budd-brigade-with-industry/.

Recently I’ve been taking part in a research group outside of my PhD to support the RAMP research for COVID-19.

What is RAMP and what does it involve?

RAMP is a research call that was put out at the start of the pandemic. It asked researchers to submit their research expertise and how they could research the virus. The group I’m working with models the lifetime of SARS-COV-2 (the technical name of the virus) on surfaces. We have looked at the effect of different cleaning agents, different materials, transmission rates from surfaces and overall we are modelling the risk of transmission given these things. The group I’m in is interdisciplinary, I’m mainly working with chemical and process engineers. The research is incredibly interesting and moving very quickly. I feel very lucky to be a part of the group and to work with such incredible academics.

Graduate Hayley LeanneIndustrial maths research group at Bath

Graduate Hayley LeanneHow does being a PhD student compare to being an undergraduate student or a working professional?

It is incredibly different. I was fortunate enough to do two research projects in the summers of my undergraduate through Sussex JRA scheme. These are a great way to get an insight into a PhD. At the start of my PhD I did some taught courses but the focus is very different to an undergraduate. I was doing the courses to learn the skills needed to do my research, my marks in tests and coursework were no longer the focus I needed to really understand the material. Since those courses it’s been a bit of a whirl wind. I try to set myself my own timetable but really there’s nothing scheduling you. I have two supervisors (one in maths and one in electrical engineering) who I meet with weekly. There are also seminars which are helpful to attend but are not compulsory. A PhD is all about getting the research you want to get done completed, it's more for yourself than anyone else. One of the most difficult things can be motivation so setting small goals is needed. PhD’s are different for everyone, some people get lots of research done and publish several papers and some people don’t, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others but it’s best to try not to.

Did your degree help you with your current career?

Yes, I still refer to my old notes a lot. I do wish that I’d been less exam focused during my undergraduate though as I find myself teaching myself to understand old material a lot. The research project in my Mmath and my two JRA’s were incredibly helpful and all of the coding I learnt through programming projects and the C++ course have been invaluable.

Would you recommend Maths at Sussex to someone else?

Yes definitely! I didn't realise how lucky I was to have the supportive community at Sussex until I left. I must have spent the first two years of my PhD saying “Oh at Sussex…”.I really felt like the focus was on quality research and teaching at Sussex, I felt like students and staff were really valued and not just scores in a league table. One thing that’s great about the maths department at Sussex is the support from the administration team. I find a lot of other universities seem to have the admin staff as very separate but I think the inclusion of these staff within the department really made life easier. I also loved living in Brighton and I’ve never felt as comfortable and accepted by my environment as I did there.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Yes if it’s what you want. If you are interested in the research topic do it, but do it for the research not the certificate. PhDs are really hard work, there’s a lot of imposter syndrome and thinking you’re not getting anywhere, you need to enjoy at least part of the research for it to be worth it. There are lots of travelling opportunities, but you don’t just get to choose a location and go, there needs to be a relevant conference and funding. These are really fun but don’t expect endless holidays. The pressure to get a PhD place can often push people to work on the wrong topic with the wrong person. It’s better to wait for the right thing than to start something just because you have an offer. It can feel like nothing else will come along but your PhD is ultimately for you so you need to be a little be selfish about making sure it’s the right one.

Other than maths what else do you do in your role?

Since starting my PhD I’ve become involved in the academic trade union UCU. They represent PhD students and academic and professional services staff in universities but struggle to get them involved. We have negotiated better teaching contracts and environments for graduates who teach and it’s been a really good way to promote equality within academia. It’s also given me the forum to negotiate more inclusive LGBTQ+ environments within the campus and it’s been really good to see the improvements made by simply being there to make suggestions.

I’m also involved in public engagement, I was one of the members who set up a group called the Bathematicians which focuses on inspiring school children to see maths beyond the class room. I’ve also been involved with the widening participation group at the university and the women in maths and women in engineering groups. I used to help at a code club getting primary children into coding and I’ve loved being able to use my successes to promote successes in others.

One of the things I talk about a lot on social media is equality within academia and it’s been good to have a chance to get involved in movements to improve that. This is definitely something I’ll continue with wherever I end up next.

I’ve also become a bit of a mental health advocate, I have some blog posts trying to tackle the taboo of talking about mental health and through out my PhD I’ve been continuing to push for better support and prevention strategies for mental health.

Hayley Leanne Wragg
Mathematics MMath graduate

Contact Hayley at:

University of Bath website profile
Twitter: @MissGullible
Blog: https://whoisbehindtheblackboard.wordpress.com/author/whoisbehindtheblackboard/

Craig, on his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers working in Forensic Services

Craig Turner'After graduating, I am moving to Belfast to work for one of the largest professional services networks in the world, PwC. I will be a part of their Forensic Services department which specialises in working with companies to prevent economic crime such as fraud, corruption and cybercrime; or offering a plan to help a company that has already fallen foul to economic crime in order to make sure their business isn’t irreparably damaged.

Studying Maths at Sussex has been a great learning experience and I especially enjoyed being able to choose my own modules in the third year. As well as the more theoretical subjects there are plenty of modules dedicated to real world applications such as Cryptography, Medical Statistics and Financial Mathematics. There is a great deal of choice and you can tailor your degree to your own interests. The lecturers and PhD students are always happy to lend their time if you have any problems.

Outside of my degree, I’ve had the chance to join a multitude of interesting societies and meet some truly amazing people that will hopefully be friends for life. Furthermore, it has been a treat to live in Brighton and I’d recommend living there to anyone. My time at Sussex has given me a lot of confidence in myself and I’m extremely proud to call myself a Sussex alumnus.'

Craig Turner
Mathematics BSc graduate and winner of the Hirschfeld Prize for the highest performing undergraduate in Mathematics

David, on his career at a large investment bank in London

David Twomey'After completing my studies at Sussex, I was lucky enough to join the exotic derivatives team at a large Investment Bank in London. My role is to assist with the construction, marketing and further development of complex instruments designed to provide diversified exposure to the Commodity markets using an array of financial derivatives. It is not as complicated as it sounds(!), but at times it can be highly quantitative and I definitely rely, in large chunks, on what I learnt at Sussex. The knowledge and skills I learnt there gave me the strong foundation which allowed me to adapt quickly and succeed in the highly demanding real world of finance.

If truth be told, I enjoyed my time Sussex so much, I chose to extend it another year by doing a Masters after completing my BSc in Mathematics and Computer science. Aside from the amazing facilities and beautiful campus which are easily observed from visits to the University, the course structure and extremely helpful faculty encouraged me both to stay and subsequently look back on the experience with such fondness.  It was made clear from an early stage that everyone involved with my course and studies wanted me to succeed, both academically and personally.

A small and focused group size allowed a fast-pace learning environment and the facility for detailed discussions during classes. This meant teaching was interactive, giving us both the chance to challenge the theories and concepts presented and reflect upon the overriding consequences they have on the contemporary status quo. What was developed was an intimate relationship with faculty and other students.

Rhiannon, on doing a PhD in computational aeroacoustics

Graduate Rhiannon HawkinsWhat was your first position after graduation and what did it involve?

I am a PhD student at the University of Southampton in Computational Aeroacoustics. I am now based within the Institute of Sound and Vibration research that sits in the Engineering faculty at Southampton, although my research project is very mathematical and relies on a lot of the content I learnt in my degree, I have moved across to a more applied/engineering focus where I am developing a method to predict sound propagation in aero-engine ducts.

How does being a PhD student compare to being an undergraduate student or a working professional?

My day to day is very similar to a graduate job in industry in many ways as I work Monday-Friday, am entitled to annual leave and earn a stipend to cover living and fees. How this position differs from others is how independently I work as I conduct research on my project which is quite specialised for each of us PhD students in my office. The project also spans over roughly three years so it can sometimes be hard to assess progress or timescales over such a long period of time; that said the nature of research means that there is an organic progression to the work I do which often take more or less time than I may expect. Additionally, having a long time scale brings with it a lot of flexibility and freedom and opens up learning and development opportunities.

Why did you apply for the position you are in now?

I applied for this position because it allowed me to move to a discipline where I can apply mathematics to other applications and learn about acoustics and engineering in the process. The idea of conducting new research and contributing to an international community appeals to me.

Did your degree help you with your current career?

The skills and knowledge I acquired from my mathematics degree are essential to my research and I am developing them further throughout this project.

Did you acquire other skills useful for your current career whilst a student?

As a student I worked as an analyst for just over a year on my industrial placement between my second and third years of my degree. Gaining more experience coding and applying theory from my degree course were great skills I developed. Furthermore, my placement year gave me the opportunity to really build on my writing and communication skills which were things that are used much less in a mathematics degree. Having had that opportunity has been incredibly useful now I am a PhD student.

Additionally, as a mathematics student I took the opportunity to be involved in societies and act as a student representative. This improved my communication and time-management skills and having had a good work-life balance in my undergraduate education has led me to continue this in further study.

Would you recommend Maths at Sussex to someone else?

I would recommend maths at Sussex to everyone! The community at Sussex, especially within the department is second to none. Sussex offers what a lot of other universities try and fail to achieve and that is a solid mathematical syllabus, with flexibility to specialise in your final year(s) (all module choices are chosen in years 3 and 4), whilst maintaining a friendly and approachable atmosphere where students develop good relationships with faculty, PhD students and admin staff.

Would you recommend your line of work to someone else?

Postgraduate research can be challenging and does involve working very independently, but if you would like an opportunity to really develop and apply your knowledge from your degree and are excited about discovering new ideas then I would definitely recommend it.  One of my favourite parts of being a PhD student is the international community that you belong to. Both within your university but also across your discipline. I recently attended an Aeroacoustics conference in the Netherlands and met researches from across the globe. It also opens up the possibility of working internationally.

Rhiannon Hawkins
Mathematics MMath graduate

Oliver, on his career at Siemens as a Software Tester

Oliver Boorman Humphrey'I am a Software Tester at Siemens working within the Oncology team. My job involves working with Product Analysts and Software Developers to test our software to ensure it meets the needs and expectations of our customers. As we operate in a regulated industry, every aspect of the software needs to be rigorously scrutinised to ensure it functions correctly. Incorrect results in a medical setting could be extremely hazardous.

My favourite courses at Sussex were those which bridged the gap between maths and the other sciences. Being able to see the real-world applications of complex mathematical models is really elegant. While I found certain topics challenging, all the staff and other students at Sussex were so supportive and friendly - I was never stuck for long! The combination of the theoretic mathematical skills and hands-on, practical computing skills was the perfect balance for my role after graduation.

Shortly after finishing my last exam, I was accepted on a one year internship with Siemens Molecular Imaging based in Oxford. SMI develops several pieces of medical imaging software which allows doctors, radiographers and other medical staff to view and analyse medical images acquired from CT, MRI, PET and SPECT scanners.

Though I have now moved on, I will never forget my years at Sussex who not only develop you academically but also as a person. The campus community atmosphere is truly special and the beautiful setting in the South Downs is unique. As soon as you leave, you just wish you could have been there for longer!'

Oliver Boorman-Humphrey
BSc Mathematics with Computer Science graduate

Ravneek, on working for a Fund Management company

'During my final year at Sussex, students were given the flexibility as to which modules to study, including Finance related subjects. As I have always had an interest in finance I opted for the finance modules. Taking on these modules confirmed I wanted to pursue a career in the finance industry.

Since graduating I have been working for a Fund Management company in London where I am currently undertaking Fund Administration and Client Reporting. However since I have been here I have also had the opportunity to get an insight into other areas of the company such as Analyst, Fund Management, Risk Management, and Marketing. I found that coming from a quantitative background enhanced the chances of my employers taking me onboard.

I soon hope to take on the IMC (Investment Managers Certificate) in order to open more doors and progress to the next stage of my career in Finance.'

Ravneek Sangera
BSc Mathematics graduate

Marianne, on working as a Business Associate for Clydesdale Bank

'I am a Business Associate for Clydesdale Bank, having joined the bank after graduating. I work in corporate banking dealing with trading businesses. We also have private banking specialists who deal with high net worth individuals.

I work, supporting two business partners, in a financial solutions centre, where specialists in various fields of finance work together. I have found the analytical skills I acquired during my Maths degree very important in my job as a part of the lending decision relies on being able to analyse financial statements and identify risks.

The campus is in a beautiful setting and living on it for the first year felt like I was part of a community. I also received great support from the lecturers at Sussex, in the form of workshops and office hours, and found them all to be really approachable if I needed clarification on something we had studied.'

Marianne Thompson
BSc Mathematics graduate

 For further graduate career profiles see the Undergraduate Prospectus