To make money, study maths or economics at a top university

Really interesting, but its a shame it only looks at salary one year after graduation. 

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/11/26/to-make-money-study… 

I guess everything will be changing in another 10 - 15 years

I would tell any ambitious youngsters to develop a fashion sense and become social media influencers.

Too late for me, alas, but maybe Laz could consider it as a career change.

I wonder how much of that is self-selecting?

People don't tend to study maths at uni if they don't know what they want to do, or to meet hot chicks/extend their gap yah etc. Also, it's not a "profession" degree, so there won't be people pressured into it by family expectations who then drop out and become landscape artists rather than successful lawyers/doctors/accountants.

So people who do maths degrees are self-selectingly good at maths and so do well in their degrees and go on to a limited range of jobs that favour maths degrees and do well in them as the right people get into the right jobs.

If you took [insert stereotypical arts degree] and made those people do maths instead, then what would happen?

 

I think that’s right cam. I knew 3 maths undergraduates in my first degree - they all did very badly, graduating with 2:2s or 3rds. It’s not something you can just bluff your way through if you lack the aptitude 

Maths explains the secrets of the universe :) law does not.

What Chimp said, unless you have a real natural gift for maths no amount of hard graft will get you a first or high 2.1.The same with physics.

School friend excelled at Maths at GSCE (year early) A at A Level , worked really hard at Imperial throughout and got a 2;2 59%. Never got accepted by the Big 4 ACA program, he is still uptight about it now

is it really a surprise that jobs requring a history degree aren't the most lucrative while those with business/economics or counting/computers are?

Better still use the money to get into BTL at 19 while living at home doing an undemanding local job. Retire at 50 and have all the gap yahs you want.

Are they though Sumo? also "requiring" vs "open to".

economics and pure maths are very different animals too

I always thought maths was in some ways easier as you can get 100% which you can't in history or French or whatever.

It’s funny ebitda because the same bloke could have done my undergraduate degree (English), almost certainly would have got at least a 2:1 and would have had a good shot at the same job.

I think it is true that you need natural ability in maths or at least it is hard to blag as someone said. I’m doing a course that is quant heavy at the moment and it’s pretty tough having avoided quants since high school. 

Mind if I ask the course, patron? Every now and then I think I should have a stab at getting some kind of quantitative qualification but worried I might just sink.

it's a point Cam, and it seems a fair bit of conflating is going on in that report so suspect they wanted to get a certain answer before they wrote it. i.e. suspect they did not want to tell their readers you made the wrong choice you dummies

Econ - very interesting but it is tough. Have learnt a lot and skills I didn’t think I’d be able to learn. Not totally sure what I will do with it when I’m done, it was mostly for interest (and I now realise that doing something like this as a hobby is not the faint hearted :p) but I am planning to start my own business so maybe it will be useful for that. 

As an aside I read an article yesterday about how doing a history doctorate was a complete was of time and money. Essentially the message was that it only prepares you for roles in academia and those roles do not exist, while at the same time you spend years not earning or getting useful skills. 

My sister my dad and I have all done combinations of an arts degree and a mathsy career or postgrad and we talk about this a lot.

Maths requires genuine competence and instils a habit of mastery.

I did English then computer science post grad and sister did history of art but is a maths teacher. Mugen senior did maths and then an arts postgrad. He went to the comedian’s university though - so I’m not entirely sure he has any idea what he’s on about....

See I really disagree with those type of articles. If anything I’ve learnt from the pandemic it is that knowledge and culture are what make us human and enriches life, whatever the particular field.

Interesting patron, cheers. I completed a PGDip in political economy, but it wasn’t very mathematical.

Maths is statistically the hardest A-level subject and I think always has been.  It is only for the very intelligent

Not sure how economics gets touted in the same sentence as maths

Patron if that is a response to my comment, I do agree that knowledge and culture are important. The thrust of the argument was that the programmes pushed by universities for history doctorates were pointless and exploitative from a career sense.

@ AWU getting 100 % is extremely rare I would imagine even for the most gifted

Flat mate at uni sat the cambridge maths entrance exam , he is truly gifted. He could do only 1/3rd of it and left in tears he told us. He now has a PhD from Manchester, did his undergrad at Bristol obtaining a 1st with a final average of 80%.

@piechucker econ A Level is totally different to econ at degree or MSc level. It’s basically all theory. The latter are highly mathematical or at least they are depending on the programme you select. 

Ebidta that is really unfair. A 2:2 from imperial would be a far better bet for a big4 than someone with a 2:1 in history or management or another social science degree.

I would take a STEm 2:2 over an arts social science 2:1 99% of the time

Oh leave it out patron, curvy graphs and large datasets does not equate to maths

dash1 agreed.  But that is the big 4 for you.  When you qualify, even if from a top 50 firm, they will have you whether you have a degree or not

I would say the math requirements go beyond curvy graphs lol. But to address your point, how do you think one is able to construct econ problems on a graph without the math? I’ll leave it to you :) 

Maths is statistically the hardest A-level subject and I think always has been.  It is only for the very intelligent

Heh

 

is it really a surprise that jobs requring a history degree aren't the most lucrative while those with business/economics or counting/computers are?

The study only looks at year after graduation. The year after graduation most history graduates will be on the PgDL.

On a somewhat related note, I have been spending the past 2 or 3 days watching youtube clips of people just going through their math/physics library--showing us what books they have on their bookshelf, reminiscing about the classes, commenting on whether they found each book helpful/well-written or not. It's strangely addictive--at least to me who is trying to get ideas of what to do in anticipation of forced early retirement. 

A 2:2 from imperial would be a far better bet for a big4 than someone with a 2:1 in history or management or another social science degree.
 

Really? I thought a lot of these places had an auto-filter for anyone with less than a 2:1.

Like no human will even review your application if you haven’t got one.

I have been spending the past 2 or 3 days watching youtube clips of people just going through their math/physics library
 

Lockdown is turning some people weird isn’t it

Yes chimp, the large grad recruiters will auto reject you without a 2;1.

That is my point. A 2.1 in history from an ex poly v 2.2 in maths from imperial. Which one would be more likely to pass their accountancy  exams

Lol @ history graduates going onto the PGDL. Any knuckle dragging clod can do that. Laz has a history degree doesn’t he?!

If you like mathsy videos then 3Blue1Brown is a really good YouTube channel. The ones on linear algebra are hypnotic.

Surely a 2:1 from oxbrige or london uni Law has to be up there? they pay 1st seaters £50K now in the magic circle.

 

Lol @ history graduates going onto the PGDL. Any knuckle dragging clod can do that. Laz has a history degree doesn’t he?!

Laz did his in reverse order. The point wasn't that it was impressive but that many history graduates wouldn't be earning a year after graduation.

Surely a 2:1 from oxbrige or london uni Law has to be up there? they pay 1st seaters £50K now in the magic circle.
 

This article is from the US. I think over there it is harder to break into high finance from an arts background and law degrees are postgraduate so not a good comparison to the British system.

My first degree was accounting, economics, auditing, maths and statistics. I then saw the light and won a scholarship to come to the UK and study something useful.

My first degree was accounting, economics, auditing, maths and statistics. I then saw the light and won a scholarship to come to the UK and study something useful.

So how come you ended up on a lawyer's board?

*Or possibly lawyers' board if Artoo is still one

So how come you ended up on a lawyer's board?

I won a scholarship in South Africa to study at a UK university and read Law. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and then did law. I never practiced as a Chartered Accountant, I wrote the board exam (in my day one sitting over 2 weeks and not P1 and P2), I then had about 6 months left of articles (training contract) and I had this scholarship which paid my tuition fees as well as gave me a stipend so I stuck out the next 6 months and came to the UK.

 

I did BSc is Economics at Warwick. Much prefer macro to micro economics and its gets very theoretical./mathematical in last year. Landed up doing as many courses in business school as possible as got too dry.

People think you are more intelligent than you are with an Economics degree which helps.

Maths seems to be one of those you’ve either got it or you don’t things. If you’ve got it you can do really well for fairly minimal effort. I reckon physics comes into that category too, maybe chemistry which is very mathematical at an advanced level. 
 

Law and medicine (both of which I have studied) are very much pedestrian degrees. You can do absolutely fine and really quite well if you put the graft in. I think English is a bit like this too - I had m9s reading it and if you did the reading and thought a bit you’d be fine and could easily get the 2:1. In terms of pure sciences biology/botany/zoology  sit more with these degrees I think.

School friend excelled at Maths at GSCE (year early) A at A Level , worked really hard at Imperial throughout and got a 2;2 59%. 

What Chimp and Editda said. There are lots of people who get top marks in maths at GSCE and even A level who cannot hack a serious maths degree.

Maths at school is largely rote learning, learn the rule, learn how to apply the rule, repeat, etc. Even in so called "problem" questions, the issue is really only how to identify what the relevant rule is. Maths at university is nothing like that.

Getting a 2.2, even from a top university like Imperial, keeps someone outside a lot of the grad recruitment gates. Particularly, if you're borderline you're often better off getting into a lower ranked university where the standard is not so high. 

I did maths at university. It is NOTHING like maths at school - so much more fun, it’s more like art than science esp when you get into the more theoretical stuff. Agree with crypto that there is just a way of getting it that is not related to effort - I remember I used to sort of have to defocus and relax my brain to do some of it. That said, there is still a lot of learning eg formal proofs etc which you just have to learn. 
 

I don’t know though that it’s helpful to have this idea of the “maths genius”, “you’ve either got it or you haven’t”. Plenty of people complete respectable STEM degrees without troubling the upper echelons of academic types, and I think that’s a good thing. In the same way as there are people who can pick up new languages effortlessly but a much broader pool of people do modern languages  

maths education at secondary school level really needs to be reformed root & branch. 

I dislike the idea that maths is something you either understand or don't but i think its probably true. some kids just pick it up much quickly than others. However, understanding maths has never been more important; i think many, many jobs which will a more maths / quant focus. Even Marketing roles are more about data and SEO type stuff. This worries me as my son doesn't enjoy maths

It’s not helpful to young people to tell them that maths is something you’re either born with or not.

Maths is hard and everyone has to work at it. Dash you should tell your son to just practice and he will get better. It’s like languages, or musical instruments - or cooking even. You’re not born good at it. Mugen senior went to university thinking he was a genius and awesome at everything and then got 9% in one of his first year exams.

I never really got into the more theoretical aspects of maths or economics. Ok, I can understand it, but what's the use.

So I did an engineering degree and an MBA. Both practical applications of the two.

Oh good, Chambo’s here...with his ‘opinions’.

At least we have someone to hand out the oranges at halftime.

I was great at Maths growing up, won school prizes, rarely dropped any marks etc. When I was 13 I was certain that I would be doing it at A Level and beyond. Then a combination of bad teachers and my general teenage attitude meant that I lost all enthusiasm for it and hit a wall that I couldn't/wouldn't scale. Did well at GCSE but that's not indicative of much. Pretty sure I could have done the GCSE aged 13 as we didn't learn much new stuff in the next 3 years. It may just be that I hit my limit, but I always think it's odd that one can be so good at a subject but only up to a certain point. Whereas my ability in other subjects improved as time went on.

Somebody said to me once that maths and art had a symbiotic relationship and you find people who are good at maths also tend to be good at art. It certainly is not true for me but maybe others have found this?

Law and medicine (both of which I have studied) are very much pedestrian degrees. You can do absolutely fine and really quite well if you put the graft in. I think English is a bit like this too - I had m9s reading it and if you did the reading and thought a bit you’d be fine and could easily get the 2:1.
 

Yeah I think this is true. You really don’t need to be very bright in terms of logic or problem-solving to do well in English or medicine degrees. For the former it’s a case of knowing how to turn a phrase, for the latter it’s largely rote memorisation (albeit actually doing the job is a bit harder than that)

unless your are going to be a theoretical mathematician I cannot see that maths skills will be required much longer -prime replacement fodder.

I think a few mathmos will do the rest out of business, along with everyone else.

maths education at secondary school level really needs to be reformed root & branch. 

Agree.  I didn't do a Maths degree but I am an actuary and did the theoretical end of an Economics degree (i.e. the Maths and Philosophy bits)

There needs to be more story-telling and history in Maths; not just arithmetic and geometry grind.  This (even for me) was/is deadly dull.

 

 

 

I didn’t know about a maths/art overlap but I know maths/music seem to overlap. One of my uni m7s who is now an academic musicologist was great at maths to the extent he vaguely toyed with doing a grad scheme in some financial thing. 

On the other side, one of my best m8s at uni did maths. His a levels were maths, further maths and physics and he was borderline illiterate, his intelligence was that narrow and specialised. He got stoned for the whole course, did a weeks work at the end for a Desmond which was the same as his gf got for doing the course full time.

The French consider le mathématiques a creative subject, I was told once. 

Anyway I got top marks in Maths and Further Maths at A-Level.

I did the sensible thing and fooked about in an English degree for three years.

That is all.

AWU, I knew or know a few like the ones you mention. The uni mate I posted about above who could only complete 1/3 of the cambridge entrance paper, but went on to get a  1st from Bristol, and a PhD from Manchester can barely use word, I mean its painful to watch. Others are marginally better, but would be fired from any spring week/internship because their use of Word was so poor. The latter ones can manage as long as it doesn't run over a page.

Maths and music do indeed overlap. Notes, scales, chords, timings, tunings etc.

But don't get too hung up about it.

Two comments. On Maths in schools:

- In schools, maths is taught extremely badly.

- It’s not at all surprising that many children are turned off.  And worse, they come to believe that they are bad at maths.

- It’s a shame because it is beautiful and useful

- Given reasonable teaching through primary and secondary schools, most children would be able to pass A level Maths

On Maths at university:

- It should be a totally different subject at university, although of course building on prior capabilities

- In many universities, the approach is no different from teaching in schools - and the results are shocking

- In top universities, Maths reveals an enormous spread in natural abilities between the students.