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Regular version of the site

Career Opportunities and Alumni

«A mathematician would do it better»
— Hugo Steinhaus

What are the career opportunities for someone with a degree in mathematics?

The most obvious positions would be as a researcher mathematician and lecturer, who proves new theorems and teaches mathematics to university or school students. This is an attractive path. For example, the professions of Mathematician and University Professor take the first two positions in the Jobs Rated international ranking, and Forbes magazine wrote: ‘...this year science and math are king on the job market’.

A typical pure mathematician’s career starts with doctoral studies and obtaining a PhD in Mathematics (2-5 years), and continues with post-doc positions (2-7 years), followed by a position at a university or research institution. Our first MSc students graduated in 2014, so our first graduates are at the very beginning of this path. That said, we already have grounds to be proud of them, since about a quarter of our graduates enter PhD programmes at the world’s best mathematics departments, such as Harvard, Caltech, Columbia, MIT, Princeton, Yale, and ETH Zurich. Let’s hear from the graduates themselves:

But, globally, not many mathematics graduates choose this path. Most go on to knowledge-intensive industries where they earn on average more than their classmates who stayed within the comfortable confines of academia.

What are the competitive advantages for someone with a degree in mathematics, beyond pure mathematics?

  • The fastest-developing and most-in-demand sciences and applications of this knowledge are either already replete with mathematical methods (economics and finance, computer science and IT), or are rapidly becoming saturated with them (linguistics, medicine, sociology etc). For example, economics was obviously part of the humanities a century ago, and today, almost half the Nobel Prize winners in economics have degrees in physics or mathematics. And this process is expanding into more and more areas, which increases the need for experts with mathematical skills everywhere.
  • There is a job market signaling philosophy (incidentally created by one of the Nobel Prize winners in economics with a degree in mathematics), which can be simplified as follows. A university degree signals to the employer not only about a graduate’s specific knowledge, but also that they have sufficient motivation, skills, and effort to study such complicated issues for four years. From this perspective, a degree in mathematics is an exceptionally effective signal to the employer: as Alexander Alexandrov said, ‘Mathematics is useful because it’s difficult’. That’s why mathematicians are often hired for abstract, creative, or non-standard work, even if it doesn’t include any obvious mathematical component.
  • Finally, the most important thing: mathematicians are able to solve new and complex problems. Most people become stressed and confused when they face a problem that they cannot solve. Mathematics graduates are a rare exception to this rule. Their research experience means that intellectual uncertainty is, for them, a normal working environment, and they are accustomed to having first to formulate the problem and then develop approaches to its solution.

That’s why mathematicians have been civilization’s ‘intellectual commando unit’ for over three centuries: they are at the forefront of most breakthroughs in science and applications, they develop new areas and organize the expert training process.

What areas, besides pure mathematics, have a demand for specialists with a mathematics degree?

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that, for a mathematics graduate, the global labor market is so expansive that it includes the full range of intellectual work. These related specializations give some idea of potential career opportunities:

Our students also have the opportunity to study all these fields, since during the senior years of their undergraduate studies and on Master’s programmes, they have the options of taking subjects taught by any HSE department, can attend the Yandex School of Data Analysis, choose a minor, and attend summer schools with Faculty support.

Where do Faculty of Mathematics graduates continue their studies?

Most of our graduates prefer continuing their studies rather than entering the jobs market. Here are some examples of the areas of their postgraduate studies:

  • Mathematics
  • Mathematical physics
  • Theoretical economics
  • Applied mathematics
  • Applied economics
  • Computational linguistics
  • Data science
  • Statistical and mathematical methods of analysis and forecasting in economics

 

Universities that Faculty graduates choose for postgraduate studies include:

  • Higher School of Economics
  • Harvard University
  • Caltech
  • Columbia University
  • Leiden University
  • MIT
  • University of Michigan
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Princeton University
  • New Economic School
  • Northeastern University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Geneva
  • Indiana Universityemploy
  • University of Maryland
  • McGill University
  • University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
  • University of Paris Sud
  • Toronto University
  • Stony Brook
  • Yale University
  • ETH Zurich
  • Stanford

Where do Faculty of Mathematics graduates work?

Our faculty may be relatively young, but our first graduates who have sought careers outside academia have established themselves in insurance, analysis, IT and other knowledge-intensive areas in both Russian and international companies. They are also in demand in mathematical education – in international universities (MIT, University of Maryland), and at Moscow’s best schools (No 2, No 57, and No 179), as well as at HSE, where one of our graduates has received the Best Teacher award for the third year in a row.

Careers in business, economics and finance include:

  • Actuary, Zurich
  • Senior marketing analyst, Coca Cola Hellenic
  • Head of corporate business department, Mezhtrustbank
  • Senior analyst at broadband access and IPTV department, VimpelCom
  • Senior expert at economic planning department, Bank of Moscow
  • Auditor, KPMG
  • Analyst, Axes Management
  • Analyst, AT Consulting
  • Business analyst, Leto Bank
  • Leading business process expert at credit operations support department, Central Bank of Russia

Careers in IT:

  • System architect, PayOnline
  • Programmer, Delta Solutions
  • Penetration tester, Insecurity
  • Developer, Yandex
  • Senior developer, TKS Bank
  • Programmer, RadiumOne

Academic careers:

  • Lecturers at the other HSE faculties
  • Mathematics teachers at Moscow schools No 2, No 57, and No 179
  • Postdocs at MIT, University of Chicago, Cornell University, Ecole polytechnique, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics

Useful links for graduates

Photos of past years’ graduates

HSE Alumni Association (including Facebook, LinkedIn , Vkontakte, Twitter)

HSE.Family (internal social network for HSE graduates, in Russian)

FAQ for graduates (in Russian)