Assistant Portfolio Manager in High Yield and Emerging Markets Fixed Income at Pioneer Investments
Why did you study Mathematics at University?
In school I was always very good at maths and knew going into university that I wanted to explore this more. I was uncertain of my career path and I felt that I might pursue a business career, teaching career, or academic career, and my choice of Maths along with Economics would keep these options very much open to me.
Describe what you do now and how mathematics is useful to you.
In progressing to where I am now, I have worked in a Settlements division of a stockbrokers, as a risk analyst and later a credit analyst in a German investment bank, and have now been more than a year at Pioneer. In mathematics, you learn not only about the course material, but also how to analyse and think about problems methodically. My current role is very diverse and involves finding the optimal way to manage risk for a sufficient return. To do this, one must understand Bond Mathematics and Portfolio Analytics, as well as be able to rationally analyse the credit risk of companies as well as the market environment in which the operate. I feel that the overall training that I received while studying mathematics has given me the tools necessary to be able to analyse and manage these varied problems at each stage of my career successfully.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of doing a degree in Mathematics?
What a lot of second level students don't realise is that there are varying levels of Mathematics that one can study, and plenty of opportunity along the way to find the appropriate level for you. I loved studying Maths and chose some of the more abstract topics to find the intellectual challenge I was looking for, but always along the way I had the option to choose to study more practical applications. I found that having studied Mathematics made many parts of my Economics and Finance courses considerably easier. After I finished, I found that this not only applied to academia, but also in dealing with lots of problems in business and in life afterwards.
Would you recommend that people study Maths in Maynooth?
Definitely. I believe that the Maths department in Maynooth is at least as good as any other in the country and the staff there provide courses to cater for a wide variety of levels. Maynooth is also an ideal place to study, with a well balanced emphasis on equipping students with the academic training they are looking for as well as having a great social aspect about the University which I believe is essential for success in later life. As a portfolio manager and analyst, my communication skills with companies, business contacts and colleagues have been developed at Maynooth, and having this skill as well as having been well trained should not be underestimated by anyone considering studying maths in Maynooth.