Future Ambitions

There are many careers for individuals interested in mathematics. Three strong possibilities include accounting, actuarial science, and investment banking. A career in accounting deals with keeping track of the financial records of a business (Kagan). Actuaries calculate, evaluate, and find ways to reduce risk. Lastly investment bankers assist large companies with managing their money (Sraders). While selecting what career is the best fit for individual, many factors must be considered, including education requirements, salary, work hours and flexibility, and necessary skills.There are many careers for individuals interested in mathematics. 

Three strong possibilities include accounting, actuarial science, and investment banking. A career in accounting deals with keeping track of the financial records of a business (Kagan). Actuaries calculate, evaluate, and find ways to reduce risk. Lastly investment bankers assist large companies with managing their money (Sraders). While selecting what career is the best fit for individual, many factors must be considered, including education requirements, salary, work hours and flexibility, and necessary skills. Education is one of the more important aspects to consider while choosing a career. Certain careers require a significantly greater education investment, however the salary might not be worth it. Accounting requires a bachelor’s degree, however not all individual’s with a bachelor’s degree are qualified to become a CPA (“Career”). 

A fifth year of schooling is often necessary, at least 150 credit hours (The Performance Benefits of Being an Accountant”). The individual also must pass the CPA exam, a very difficult test. An actuary must complete a bachelor’s degree, however a graduate’s degree is very helpful (“Be an Actuary”). In addition, many exams must be passed to become an actuary. Initially, only two exams must be passed to get a job, but actuaries must pass 7-10 exams, which typically takes 6-10 years (“Be an Actuary”). Investment banking is different, individuals typically receive a bachelor’s in finance. Since the field is very competitive, more weight is placed on experience and internships than education and licensing (“Investment Banker Salary”). 

Education requirements for accounting and actuarial science are both somewhat extensive, however investment banking requires much more work experience. For many individuals, salary is a large priority when it comes to job selection. Accounting, actuarial science, and investment banking all have the potential to achieve high salaries. An average salary for an accountant is $72,500, and the starting salary is not too far below (“The Performance Benefits of Being an Accountant”). In addition, CPAs have the ability to increase their salary even more. Individuals going into actuarial science have the possibility of earning anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000 (“Be an Actuary”). Some experienced actuaries might earn even more over time. The salary of an investment banker is interesting, and potentially deceiving. Individuals can expect a starting salary of over $100,000 per year (“Investment Banker Salary”). The growth potential within investment banking is nearly unlimited, as managing directors can make upwards of ten million dollars every year (“Investment Banker Salary”). Investment banking has the highest potential salary, however actuaries and accountants both make a high sum of money without the long work hours. Work hours and flexibility are very important for many individuals, especially those considering settling down and having a family. Some jobs accommodate such desires well, while others aren’t nearly as flexible. Accountants work hours vary throughout the year, and increase during tax season. Accountants can expect to work about 45 hours a week, however during tax season that number will most likely increase (“Career”). 

Actuaries often work 40 hours a week, however depending on position and weekly schedules, they could work more (“Be an Actuary”). Investment bankers work very long hours, one of the things that makes their high salary deceiving. Most investment bankers work over 100 hours every week (“Investment Banker Salary”). Overall, accountants and actuaries experience very similar work hours, however investment bankers work much longer hours. Accounting, actuarial science, and investment banking all fall into the field of business and finance, and therefore all require somewhat similar skills and personality traits. Accounting requires general business and mathematical knowledge, as well as the obvious general accounting knowledge (“Career”). 

Actuarial science requires analytical skills, communication skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills, math skills, and problem-solving skills (“Actuary”). Investment bankers must have strong financial skills and be able to evaluate costs (“Investment Banker Salary”). Accounting, actuarial science, and investment banking are all great choices for an individual interested in a mathematical career. Accounting provides a high salary and flexibility in work hours from the start, making it a very safe career choice. Actuarial science requires more exams and certifications than accounting, however the average salary is higher, with approximately the same work hours. While accounting and actuarial science are very similar career paths, investment banking is very different. Investment banking requires slightly less education, but much more work experience. Investment banking requires work hours over double that of accounting and actuarial science. With the longer hours comes a higher salary, however depending on the individual it might not be worth it. Accounting, actuarial science, and investment banking are all great options when it comes to pursuing a career in mathematics.