What have you done after graduating Bryn Mawr?
Since graduating Bryn Mawr, I have been working at Brandywine Global, a Philadelphia-based asset management firm. I work on a large-cap value investment fund as an equity analyst. My team has a value investment philosophy with a contrarian approach that emphasizes behavioral finance. I have also taken and passed the first of three levels of the CFA examination, a professional accreditation offered internationally to investment and finance professionals. I will soon begin studying for level 2!
In my free time I love to cook and try new restaurants, go for runs along the Schuylkill river, and play cards.
How does math connect to your current occupation?
The classes I most utilize day-to-day are statistics and probability. With every stock I research I am analyzing different possible outcomes and putting probabilities on each outcome to calculate an expected value. I am always thinking in term of risk-adjusted outcomes.
From statistics, I frequently look at cross-sectional data and longitudinal data to analyze how a company’s financial position differs from its peer group and has changed over time.
How has your math experience at Bryn Mawr prepared you for your current position and life after Bryn Mawr?
The most important thing my math major did for me was giving me confidence and comfort in working with numbers. Many people are immediately intimidated when they see numbers or have to do math, and I believe this can be limiting in many careers, not just those that are overtly quantitative.
More specifically, my math major has honed my ability to analyze data and find patterns, pick out anomalies, and draw conclusions.
What aspects of the math major did you enjoy or find particularly useful?
Proof writing helped me to be critical of what assumptions are being made before drawing any conclusions and that there are many ways to come to the same conclusion.
Another lesson I took with me from my math major that parallels in my job is the emphasis on process versus outcome. I remember in my higher-level math classes that each step of a proof and having sound logic was more important than whether I got the correct answer. Given my team’s long-term investment time horizon, having a consistent investment philosophy and process is more important than a stock’s short-term performance.
Do you have any memories of the Bryn Mawr Math Department that you would like to share with the current or prospective students?
I remember the commitment and persistence of the professors in the Math Department to make sure students understood the material. I remember sitting in Professor Cheng’s office until 1 a.m. on nights before exams asking questions and making sure I understood concepts.
I remember Helen Grundman having us over at her house during our senior seminar and having a beautiful array of absolutely delicious desserts and ice in the shape of Pi for us to put in our drinks (non-alcoholic of course!).
I remember taking a differential equations course with Professor Donnay and thinking how wonderful it was that he found ways to apply what we were learning to issues we were passionate about outside the classroom, such as climate change and population growth.
Do you have any advice for current or prospective math majors?
Bryn Mawr has an incredible math department with professors who will do anything to make sure you succeed if you just reach out for help. My advice would be to take advantage of this and go to office hours as well as review sessions as frequently as you need them. Office hours aren’t just for the night before a test; for example, if you learn a new concept in class that just doesn’t click and you want an extra explanation, make sure to reach out and get it!
I think being a T.A. was also a wonderful experience that I would recommend for others because being able to explain material to other students is incredibly helpful in deepening your own understanding, and of course it feels good to help other students!
I would also advise to take classes like differential equations, probability and statistics, since they have real world application and will be more likely utilized directly in your work after college, especially if you are not pursuing a degree in academia.
I would advise making sure to take a class with each math professor because they are all so different in how they teach. It will help you become a better learner if you pick up on the nuances and differences in how each teacher approaches content.