Have you ever thought about the importance of mathematics? Why do we need to learn mathematics in school? We use mathematics every day, from buying a cup of coffee and paying bills, to calculating how much is saved when something is marked down 30%, these activities all put our mathematics skills to the test.
Mathematical study also helps develop skills in logical thinking and problem solving by finding patterns. The skill set could also be applied to jobs such as product development, pricing, policy making and forecasting, just name to a few. There are seemingly countless applications for mathematics. In fact, mathematics skills are highly transferable and required for almost every single profession in the world.
Nowadays, with the growing use of digital technology, corporations collect data constantly with the aim of tracking consumers’ behaviour, interests, preferences, buying habits, and the list goes on. Since a huge amount of data is collected on a daily basis, it becomes a challenge for corporations to manage the data and extract valuable information from it.
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Software solutions have been developed to make sense of the data so that companies can monetise the information, but it is also important for the people in organisations to understand how they can make use of the data.
Hong Kong is known as an international financial centre, and as such, there are many job opportunities for finance professionals in the city. Excellent mathematical and analytical skills are the key to success in finance, as is being able to communicate clearly with stakeholders.
At PolyU, the Department of Applied Mathematics offers a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Investment Science programme with a curriculum designed to provide students with solid training in mathematical and statistical skills.
Dr. Marjorie Chiu, Assistant Programme Leader, BSc (Hons) in Investment Science programme, told us, “The importance of mathematical modelling and the application of techniques used in mathematics and statistics are essential for analysing data. In Hong Kong, there is a great deal of investment data available for making investment and product decisions, but the data needs to be properly analysed in order for it to be relevant for decision making.”
The decisions could be about how to make profitable investments, the development of new financial products for a target market or forecasting performance of an investment portfolio based on historical data. It is also important to note that once data has been analysed in a logical manner, then the information can be easily communicated to senior management, marketing people, sales teams and, in some cases, directly to consumers. The information is unambiguous and easier to understand after applying the appropriate mathematical and/or statistical models.
Many employment and further education opportunities are open to graduates of this PolyU programme. “Our students are required to take a work placement to gain relevant experience before graduating. The majority of our students work in the business and financial sectors. From the front office to the supporting unit, the skills and knowledge they acquire from our programme allows them to develop career in a broad scope of industries and positions. For those seeking further education, many higher learning programmes require a mathematics background as a prerequisite,” Dr Chiu explained.
There is also the opportunity for investment science students to study and work abroad during their studies, through an exchange programme or an international internship, as part of the course work. “One of our students participated in a research project during his research internship at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. It was an eye-opening and inspiring experience for the student. He has since returned to Germany to pursue a master’s degree after completing his undergraduate studies at PolyU,” Dr Chiu shared with us.
There is no doubt about the importance of mathematics in our lives, and also how the BSc (Hons) in Investment Science programme can help to pave the way to a rewarding career.