Mathematics Alumni in Business/Finance/Investment Banking Careers

Alison Shappy '13

I graduated from Saint Michael's in May 2013 with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Economics. I started working at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company in Shelburne, VT in June of 2013 and remained there until August of the following year, 2014. I was a Media Coordinator/Jr. Buyer for VTB at the time. The majority of my position was negotiating and buying advertising space in radio, TV, and print publications. I now live in Boston, MA and work at an independent media company called Decibel Media as a Media Planner. This position focuses on building and executing media marketing campaigns for many different clients. It consists of a lot of strategy planning, i.e. finding the right audience for the particular client, finding out where that particular demographic consumes the most media, finding the most cost efficient way to market to them, planning new and innovative ways to market, and executing these ideas while remaining within our designated budget. Once the campaigns are live we pull data on a daily basis to make sure its performing well and to cut where it's performing poorly. In the digital space, it's a daily optimization game. We work hard to give the client their best ROI, return on investment.

My mathematics education and experience at Saint Michael's has helped me tremendously in this field. I was able to learn and execute marketing analysis and optimizations at a fast pace. I am a natural problem solver, as any Math student is, which is an invaluable asset for any employee to posses. We use math on a daily basis, even in the marketing world. We are constantly talking in terms of CPMs, which is a cost per thousand, GRPs, which is a point measurement system for radio shows, CPCs, which is a cost per click, CPA, which is a cost per acquisition, CTR, which is a click through rate, conversion rates, etc. It's a constant analysis to optimize certain marketing channels, especially in the digital world. Although I wasn't familiar with these terms or formulas when I first began in the marketing world, I was able to pick up on them quickly due to my math background. We are also constantly developing and updating budgets and working within very specific cost constraints. I attribute all of my successes to my mathematics background from Saint Michael's. No matter where my career path takes me, I know that holding that degree and that experience will be an incredibly vital asset.

Erika Kirslis '12

Erika Kirslis '12

I am currently working at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as an Associate in the Transfer Pricing department. I started working in the transfer pricing group at PwC as an intern the summer before my senior year. After graduating from Saint Michael's in 2012, I accepted a full time position at PwC. Transfer pricing is in the tax practice at PwC and focuses on how related parties price goods, intangible assets, services, and loans as applied to both domestic and international transactions. As an associate, I conduct company, industry, and economic research and participate in functional analysis interviews with clients in order to deliver a transfer pricing report.

My Saint Michael's education, especially through the mathematics department, has provided me with the tools and confidence to succeed in the start of my career. Although my position at PwC does not focus on mathematics, the mathematics department provided me with many opportunities. In addition, the curriculum at St Michaels provided me the work ethic and determination I now use working at PwC.

Mary Spuches '12

mary spuches

I am currently working as a Business Intelligence Analyst for the HR Informatics and Metrics department at Carolinas HealthCare System. I perform statistical analysis on over 60,000 employees, 650 healthcare locations and 11,000,000 annual patients. My key role is developing reports and dashboards for different areas of the organization. I investigate trends (good or bad) related to Human Resources data (aka employee data) and develop reports which help portray past behaviors and provide recommendations for future workforce planning. The dashboards also track current performance towards the department/leaders specific goals.

This December, I will be completing my Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. My courses were predominately focused in Real Analysis and Algebra. To “spice” things up I am taking my last two courses in Math Finance. I plan to spend the next few years in the workforce and then either go back for my PhD or work on a second masters in Big Data Analytics. My dream is to move to California and work for Google doing anything analytics related.

My mathematics degree from Saint Michael's College has undoubtedly helped me get to where I am today. The faculty has helped to advise me on graduate school options as well as provide me with research opportunities. Working for the peer tutoring department, I feel well prepared to serve as a teacher's assistant as part of my fellowship responsibilities. Lastly, I have taken valuable skills out of all of my classes; calculating correlations in excel, creating graphs in Maple, taking meaningful notes in class, and so much more.

Meghan Cary '10

Meghan Cary

I graduated from Saint Michael's in 2010 with a Physics Major and Math Minor. Unsure of where I wanted to go for a career I fell into banking and stayed there until I completed an MBA at Plymouth State University in 2012. I am now the Account Administrator for the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Here I work setting up student funding, establishing fellowship accounts and keeping the general ledger. I also process reimbursements and payments to students, faculty and staff. In my first year at Harvard I collected over $1 million in overdue invoices, some were over 3 years past due!

Working in the Cashiers Office and being the Secretary of Finance for the Student Associate at Saint Michael's College prepared me well for this type of work. I was able to use my learned intuition and skills to adapt to my new environment as well as learn new tasks quickly. Having a solid background in math has taught me a different perspective from others who have come from either business or the humanities. I surprisingly use ideas from calculus weekly! I consistently bring new ideas to my department about how to improve our systems and some have started taking effect! In my spare time, I am the producer for a local theater company called Spotlight Playhouse. I was frequently on stage growing up, so it is a change to see how things work behind the curtain. I use many math skills while balancing our budgets and working through fundraising campaigns! I am proud to have come from a small liberal arts college where I was able to gain confidence in myself and my work.

Lauren Remmes '07

lauren remmes

At my new job, I have been promoted to Supervising Business Analyst, the manager for Liberty Mutual Insurance Group's Sales Bonus Compensation group. Basically our group works to calculate the compensation and bonuses for sales reps, managers, etc. based on the compensation plans set forth at the beginning of the year. We use different types of analytics to calculate several types of bonuses. We use programs such as excel, brio, and access. We also perform cost-benefit analyses to ensure we are on target for the current and following fiscal years. My role has taken on some more work with our IT Systems group. I will be assisting with providing the business knowledge so they can update our proprietary compensation system's coding to account for changes in the comp plans.

Currently, I am also enrolled at Suffolk University taking classes part-time at night and after work towards my MBA, with hopes of finishing May 2013. Not only has my math degree helped me advance my career post Saint Michael's, it also has provided me with a solid foundation for graduate school.

Chris Higgins '06

chris higgins

I am working in the financial district of Boston as an Investment Associate at UBS Financial Services. I have my Series 7 and Series 63 Licenses, and I became a CFA charterholder in October of 2010 (the CFA program is a graduate level program for investment professionals). I am also a member of the CFA Institute and the Boston Security Analysts Society. Some of my job responsibilities include: putting together asset allocation models for existing clients; entering and executing both fixed income and equity trades; putting together marketing pieces to present to existing/prospective clients; tracking all of our equity and mutual fund holdings. My responsibilities continue to increase, which I like. I now join the senior person on our team on more meetings with our larger clients and will do solo meetings in the office if he is not around. I also write market commentary every month for some of our larger, institutional clients. I'm glad I have a liberal arts degree because that forced me to do a lot of writing and in addition to all those math proofs!

I would say taking challenging math courses (almost all of them are challenging) really develops one's problem solving skills and one's ability to analyze very complicated problems. Finance is a very complex field that requires exactly the type of analytical skills I developed at Saint Michael's in the math department. Any job in finance requires excellent quantitative skills, which is exactly what the math professors gave to me. I would also add in that the degree in mathematics helped me immensely in studying for the CFA as statistics were a component of all three exams. Finance also uses the same Greek letters as math, like sigma, delta, gamma, etc. so I wasn't confused by all the new jargon but was actually very comfortable with it.

Matt Baker '97

matt baker

I have been at the Chittenden Bank, a division of People's United Bank, for 11 years. I am a Business Analyst in Burlington, VT, where my daily activities include system analysis, business performance reporting, project coordination, and system application security among other various responsibilities.

I find that my math background from Saint Michael's, along with the support and expertise from all of the professors in the math department, has given me the knowledge and opportunity to succeed. At Chittenden, we are currently working on a system core conversion which will take us into spring of 2010. I find it a great challenge to coordinate and integrate our current structures and procedures into a new system architecture, but know that I have the tools to get it done. I must admit though, that the true application of 'Real Analysis' out in the real world for me has been learning what 'limits' my kids can push me to before I give in and spoil them. It ends not being a very complex problem the end. They always win!

Jamie Pitney '95

james pitney

I have recently joined RBS Citizens Bank as a Vice President in their Change Management organization. In this role, I am responsible for facilitating change for the bank, primarily though the delivery of technology projects. Specifically, I oversee new demand of projects and associated capital dollar allocation. I was previously with Fidelity Investments for 12 years in various roles including product and marketing management as well as finance and operations. I also had a brief stint with Deutsche Bank – Scudder Investments in their mutual fund operations department. I completed my MBA from Clark University (Worcester, MA) in 2000.

My mathematics education from Saint Michael's was very important to my career. Overall, I have had a much stronger and more comfortable understanding of numbers, in general, than most. A good and recent example is with my most recent role. In trying to retain stock options as assets, we were first trying to figure a way to help the exec maximize the value of the options. The Black-Shoals model is a common way to value stock options. Using that in the service model and customer strategy (and understanding how it worked) was very important.

You can visit my LinkedIn profile page and see my full career path. I would highly recommend that recent or soon to be graduates start to build their profile page and "get connected" to the Saint Michael's Alumni LinkedIn group. It's a great way to network with alumni in their professions.

Michele Hudson '95

michele hudson

I am currently a Principal Business Analyst – Technology Training for Liberty International Underwriters. I will be creating a technology training strategy and implementing structure around the technology training process for Liberty Mutual's International Underwriting division. In addition, I will be providing instructional design and development for new courses in both instructor-led and web-based formats. We provide training and assist with reference documents for the software systems that are used in the field to research and generate insurance policies for special business needs.

I am two classes into my MBA at Suffolk University, after having taken various master's level classes over the years on topics that were relevant to the jobs I held at those times.

In addition to my mathematics education at St. Mike's, I also took a few computer science courses and focused on secondary Education. This combination was very well supported by all of my professors and has led me in some very interesting career directions. I have actually applied my statistics courses as a Statistical Process Control trainer and analyst. I have had the chance to merge my technical and teaching backgrounds through various IT software training positions, including the position I am now in. In addition, my well-rounded education from St. Mike's has allowed me to hold management and leadership training positions, where I created and facilitated training on subjects ranging from coaching employees to interviewing job candidates. I am certain that the wealth of opportunities and well-rounded education that I received at St. Mike's has been a key factor in allowing me this career flexibility.

Eric Caputo '92

eric caputo

I am Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. I completed a master's degree in mathematics at the University of Vermont, an MBA at Northeastern University, and I have worked in transfer pricing for more than 12 years. My projects include: establishing global cost sharing and intangible property migration strategies (for multi-billion dollar manufacturers of semiconductors and pharmaceutical and consumer products); performing economic analysis relating to intellectual property structuring and migration (for software developers and other manufacturers); and preparing transfer pricing support (for IRS audits, advance pricing agreements, and competent authority proceedings).

One thing I've learned is that having a strong quantitative background and education is immensely valuable for any career. Although I may not daily use my college and graduate mathematics directly in my job, the solid foundation and training that I received at Saint Michael's College has benefited me throughout my career.

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