Graduate profiles

Below are some graduates who studied mathematical degree programmes at the University of Liverpool.

Christopher Pearce

Christopher Pearce

Course Code: MSc Mathematical Sciences (2008) and PhD in Statistics (2011)

Current Employment: Senior Insight Analyst at Mercedes-Benz.

Time at the University of Liverpool: I had previously completed an MSc at the University of Liverpool and had enjoyed my time there. I had also developed some excellent contacts in the Statistics and Probability department where I knew the staff were extremely talented, helpful and I would be accomodated for as best as possible in my choice of research. Research in such a subject is always a long and difficult road. I received outstanding support and guidance throughout from staff and fellow postgraduates. My supervisor was always approachable and eager to offer support which made the 4 years I spent there pass more quickly than I would have liked, and very enjoyably.

Current work: I was quickly employed after my thesis was submitted and currently work in the Market Intelligence department within Mercedes-Benz as an Insight Analyst. The role covers analytical and statistical analysis/modelling across a broad area of the business from predicting sales, profiling customers, assessing the success of various marketing campaigns right through to calculating likelihood of renewing financial contracts and repurchasing. A PhD qualification has been invaluable. Not only because I get to continue using mathematical techniques in an applied business environment, but also because people in the workplace offer a lot of respect to your opinions and to your work. The work ethic you accrue during a research qualification is easily transferred into the working environment and I have no doubt that this is what has seen me promoted, along with working for a large business with plenty of opportunities, within a year.

Paul Warder

Paul Warder

Course Code: G100 Mathematics (1988), MSc Mathematical Sciences (2005) and PhD in Pure Mathematics (2009)

Current Employment: Operational Researcher with HMRC.

Time at the University of Liverpool: I completed my undergraduate studies (G100) back in July 1988. Some 16 years (and two careers) later I returned to the department to do an MSc (MMAS) and followed this with a PhD under the supervision of Prof Peter Giblin. Either side of that 16 year gap I can honestly say that I found the department tobe equally welcoming and accommodating. The lecturers are approachable and always there to provide extra help and support if needed. This is particularly important in mathematics as new material builds on prior knowledge and it is essential not to fall behind the programme. One thing that has changed radically over those 16 years is Liverpool itself. With the waterside redevelopments (Albert Dock, Echo Arena, Museum of Liverpool etc), Liverpool One shopping and leisure complex and umpteen brand new nightlife venues the city is unrecognisable!

Current work: My work in HMRC is varied and interesting and involves lots of team working with fellow analysts in Operational Research, Statistics, Social Research and Economics. I am given considerable freedom in the way a given piece of analysis develops and innovation and original approaches are encouraged. I use a large range of software tools including: databases (SQL), stats and data mining packages (SPSS, SAS, Clementine, Quadstone) and of course the ubiquitous Excel! I use a variety of techniques; from simple spreadsheet calculations, to simulation modelling, risk analysis and data mining. However, the emphasis is always on meeting client needs and adopting a flexible approach to problem solving, rather than a rigid application of OR techniques.

Ben Francis ‎

Ben Francis

Course Code: G101 Mathematics (M.Math.)

Current Employment: Post-Doctoral Student, Department of Biostatistics, University of Liverpool.

Time at the University of Liverpool: My decision to come Liverpool was based largely on the university’s ranking for Mathematics, what I could see in pictures from the university website and how much I liked the Merseyside football teams! After not being able to attend university open days the move from London to Liverpool was a large unknown. Fortunately over the 4 years of my course I found Liverpool to be a new home. The teaching environment of the Mathematics department allows you the freedom to explore new subjects and once a particular interest is found to then specialise and develop the skills needed in that area.

The lecturers in Statistics, the area I eventually wanted to specialise in, were fantastic at encouraging interest and equipping me with a broad range of knowledge for what the future held for me past my undergraduate degree.

Current work: The links which the Mathematics department have with other departments shows the overall desire the university has for research. One particular link with the Department of Biostatistics led to a PhD in Pharmacometrics and Control Theory for which I am currently finalising my thesis. The main motivation of the work is to develop a drug dose algorithm which estimates a dosage regimen for an individual patient which maximises the chance of therapeutic effect whilst also minimising the chance of a patient experiencing an adverse drug reaction. The research has meant I have had to return to my undergraduate lecture notes time and time again but a keen interest in the area has meant the PhD has been a delight to do. With the conclusion of the PhD I will be starting Post-Doctoral research in the area of Pharmacogenetics.

Liverpool is an exciting city to live in, my seven short years here have seen the large open-air city centre shopping centre Liverpool built and the famous Albert Dock renovated to name but a few transformations. So if you are a prospective student looking at this and considering the unknowns of doing a degree at the University of Liverpool take it from someone who went in with all the unknowns – you’ll love it!

Paul Epstein

Paul Epstein

Course Code :G100 (Mathematics)

Current Employment: Analyst/researcher for online bookmaker

Time at the University of Liverpool: I studied Mathematics at the University of Liverpool from 1984 to 1987.  I concentrated mainly on pure mathematics, and keenly pursued chess in my spare time.  It was an immensely rewarding and formative experience, and the faculty were always keen to help hard-working students who were keen to improve their knowledge and understanding.

What would I have done differently?  Software development is a large part of what we do as a web-based business, so I should have done more of it.  (It was called "computer programming" back then.)  Also, my thinking should have been more vocational, although the internet didn't exist then of course, so vocational thinking might not have helped with the path my career took.

Current work:  As an analyst at a major online bookmaker, it's the job of our team to calculate probabilities of events that our customers can bet on.

Although I'm not a software developer, most of those I work with are, and I would definitely encourage maths students to pursue this path.  I can't conceive of any technical or analytical project used for any business, which is not largely software-driven.  And, if you don't know C++, or java or sql or anything else about software or hardware, would you think it's a barrier to working in an IT career?  My opinion is a very strong no!  If working in software development seems exciting or even interesting, but you don't yet have the skills, simply take the 2 to 3 years necessary to learn them.  Knowledge is a very liquid commodity! 

 Think proactively about what you could contribute to a business which is crying out for your talent.  Online bookmakers have to be able to handle millions of bets in a day from all over the globe.  What skills and knowledge do you think are necessary to help such an endeavour, and what could you do to acquire these skills?

Catrin Tudur Smith

Catrin Tudur Smith

Course Code: GG13 (Mathematics and Statistics)

Current Employment: Research Associate in Medical Statistics, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Liverpool.

Time at the University of Liverpool: I chose to study Mathematics and Statistics because both are interesting and challenging subjects. At the time, I didn't have a particular career in mind but I knew that a degree in Maths would provide plenty of varied career opportunities. The three years I spent as an undergraduate student at Liverpool flew by because I thoroughly enjoyed the course. The fact that Liverpool is such a great friendly City with plenty to see and do, day or night, was an added bonus!

Current work: I enjoyed Liverpool so much that I decided to work here as a research associate in medical statistics. My work involves applying statistics to medical research projects so that we can interpret the data in an attempt to make informed clinical decisions. For example, how can we decide which of two drugs is better at reducing blood pressure or, how do new drugs compare with old drugs at preventing seizures in epilepsy?

I am also involved with teaching statistics to NHS professionals, providing statistical advice and am currently undertaking a part-time Ph.D. degree investigating issues surrounding the meta-analysis of time-to-event outcomes. The projects and day-to-day work I am involved with is extremely varied. Medical research is an important and interesting area to work in and I find it very satisfying and rewarding. The skills and knowledge I gained from studying Mathematics and Statistics have been essential to the work I currently do. My degree provided me with a sound background to important methods that I use on a daily basis. 

Alana Selsil

Alana Selsil

Course Code: G101 (M.Math) and PhD. in Applied Mathematics

Current Employment: Regulatory Consultant with Serco Assurance

Time at the University of Liverpool: I graduated from the Maths Department of the University of Liverpool in July 2005. I had been there for just under 8 years and I can say without any doubt that those were the best 8 years of my life. Academically, the undergraduate degree was very well structured, the lecturers were very approachable, concepts were explained well and student participation was often encouraged. It gave me the drive to want to do well and made me keen to learn more. It also gave me the knowledge, confidence and motivation to continue on to do a PhD. The focus and support of my supervision during PhD was second to none. The subject was interesting and the work stimulating, making me appreciate much more how maths is such a vital tool in modelling and understanding engineering applications.

Current work: I have been in a technical role at Serco Assurance since Nov 2005, supporting the regulators of the nuclear industry in the UK. I very much enjoy this work, in which mathematical concepts, and their application to engineering, need to be well understood. My degree and PhD have certainly been essential building blocks in getting me to this role and have given me the enthusiasm and determination to want to do well in this company and beyond.

On a more personal level, I have recently bought a house and am very settled in Liverpool. It is my home and I love being here. All-in-all, I think Liverpool is a wonderful city, full of life, culture, history, music and above all, the friendliest and most genuine people in the world.

Steve Miller

Steve Miller

Course Code: G1X3 (Mathematics with Education) and PhD. in Applied Mathematics

Current Employment: Credit Risk Analyst with Everyday Financial Solutions, Aintree

Time at the University of Liverpool: Choosing to study Mathematics at the University of Liverpool was the best decision I could have made. The deparment has an excellent reputation, both for teaching and research, but this doesn't tell the whole story. The staff are a great, friendly bunch of people and I count a lot of them as personal friends.

Current work: I was originally planning to go into teaching but after graduating I decided to stay on and do a Ph.D. within the Theoretical Physics division of the department and had a great time doing so. My degree course developed my analytical skills perfectly for this experience and also for my career as an analyst for EFS, which is the financial services arm of the Littlewoods Shop Direct Group.

Liverpool also has a thriving night life! So, not only can you get a good degree and gain some valuable skills, you can have a great time doing so!

Esther Gilbert

Esther Gilbert

Course Code: G1N3 (Mathematics with Finance)

Current Employment: Assistant Investment Manager with Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management

Time at the University of Liverpool: I chose my course at the University of Liverpool (Mathematics with Finance) because I knew I wanted to work in the Investment Banking sector, but was unsure as to exactly which area. As my study progressed, I was able to choose my modules and shape my course to include subjects I found most interesting, and useful for my planned career. I learnt about many different areas of finance and in my third year decided that Investment Management would suit me. I’d found the portfolio theory section of my course the inspiration for this decision. During my second year summer holiday, I spent some time working for JP Morgan in their new Liverpool office. This really gave me an insight into the pension crisis that the country is in.

Current work: I now work for Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management (part of The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Group, one of the biggest global banks) as an Assistant Investment Manager. Since I have been at the firm I have already passed a professional qualification, the Investment Management Certificate, which means that I am now authorised by the FSA to trade and carry out other controlled functions. I still have to pass the Chartered Financial Analyst exam, which is in 3 stages, over 3 years. This is an internationally recognised qualification, showing a high level of competence. I work in the Fixed Income team, and my job involves investing in bonds and money markets for Japanese investors.

My course at Liverpool really has helped with everything I’ve done so far. The IMC exam was basically my course rolled into one exam, so my degree definitely helped there too. As I am in Fixed Income, I need to know about economics, which was a compulsory part of my course. It’s great working in a small team, and everyone is really friendly. I work reasonable hours-0830-1730, which I didn’t expect (I thought it was all 12+ hours days!), but do think larger houses are more time-demanding. So, I have my perfect job, on a good wage and great colleagues who like to socialize-I definitely did the right course!

Xiao Xiao Tang

Xiao Xiao Tang

Course Code: GG13 (Mathematics and Statistics) and M.Sc. in Statistics (2005-2006, University College London)

Time at the University of Liverpool: Throughout my study in our mathematics department and conversations with real statisticians here, I have come to respect the professionalism of a statistician. They are characterized by their quantitative, creative and methodical thinking, the precision under huge size data investigation and their composure when facing chaotic statistical problems. The mathematics and statistics programmes here were all structured well and systematically, which enriched me with solid understanding with mathematics and statistics as well as the ability in solving complicated problems. I truly appreciate my previous teachers' help and their effort in training each individual in our department.