Gráinne Burke

BA in Single Honours Mathematical Studies 2005
MA in Mathematics 2007

Current Job: Business Support Analyst in a General Insurance Company.
Why did you study mathematics at University?
At secondary school Maths was always my favourite subject. I really enjoyed the many topics we covered and learning to apply the thinking to different problems.  At University I did an Arts degree as I really wasn’t sure what my career goals were. It seemed logical to me to include Mathematical Studies as one of my three subjects.  By the time I finished second year I knew I wanted to do a Masters and I decided to focus on maths in third year so I chose to do single honours Mathematical Studies.  This was the year I found the most enjoyable during my degree, being able to focus on a subject I loved was just what suited me, and the variety of modules I was able to study was great and it cemented the need for me to continue onto the Masters. I just wanted to learn more! I did not expect the jump from degree to masters to be as huge as it was, but my degree had taught me the skills to break down problems and I build on this hugely during the two years.  
Describe what you do now and how mathematics is useful to you.
I work for a general Insurance company as a Business Support Analyst.  This role is quite diverse but the logical thinking I developed from studying mathematics is used every single day. I am involved in monitoring key performance indicators for the company. My role also involves writing computer programmes, I regularly need to analyse data and my team will then make recommendations to the business based on this analysis.      
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of doing a degree in Mathematics?
If you enjoy being challenged and have a passion for Mathematics then it is the right choice for you.  It is a subject which doesn’t narrow options for you upon finishing college, it creates options.  In my case, despite not having a Business or Financial background, I am now building a career with a general insurance company.  Having the background in Mathematics and the skills that studying Mathematics teaches you is what made this possible for me.  Mathematics in University really opens your mind to so many different topics that just aren’t seen for the Leaving Certificate.   
Would you recommend that people study Maths in Maynooth?
YES! I don’t think I would have enjoyed studying Maths as much if I had done it anywhere else.  The staff in the Maths Department are approachable and really take an interest in their students.  This really has such a positive impact on students.  They will take time to offer support, guidance and advice and I found this invaluable during my time at Maynooth University. If I had to go back and study again I would choose Maynooth University in a heartbeat.