Illustration by Liani Malherbe

What doors can a mathematics degree open? Sushant Adlakha from New York describes a career as a data analyst. 

I’ve always loved numbers. They seem to pro- vide a certain ease and logic to the compli- cated world around us. In high school, it was through the study of mathematics I always received a thrill – certainly a greater thrill than studying biology. Only in college did I fully grasp the practical application of these strange symbols that represented something greater.

Pursuing a degree in mathematics, I was ex- posed to the vast array of practical applica- tions mathematics provides and the ubiqui- tous nature of the field. It opened doors in the fields of science, finance, psychology and more; so many doors that it was almost too dif- ficult to decide which one to choose at first.

In applying for jobs, I found myself primari- ly seeking roles involving terms as broad as “data” and “analyst”. Those two words imply vastly different things for different organiza-tions, but I found myself driven towards roles in mar- keting. While jobs in finance and sci- ence are perhaps “more” mathematical, I was drawn to- wards blending math and the creative – to un- derstand the impact of creative works on peo- ple and how to use numbers to influ- ence (and nearly manipulate) the thoughts of others.

I found myself working as a Business Devel- opment Representative at a technology firm. The firm itself was filled with bright employ- ees and the position had its own unique chal- lenges. On the one hand, I was assigned the task of discovering potential clients for the firm and communicating with them. This cer- tainly involved some level of analysis of the size of the firms and their potential revenue and ability to afford our technology, but the work involved a more intuitive analysis of data. Whether a company “felt” right was driven by many factors, and not necessarily measured, recorded or broken into an exact science –

that application was part of my other function: data analysis.The analysis primarily focused on the Google ad campaigns of the firm. Each month, the firm had a certain budget set aside for Google ad campaigns that were driven by specific keyword searches.

My role was to accurately divide this budget among various keywords across different cam- paigns and locations. Additionally, consistent monitoring and analysis of the cost of each

keyword search and the revenue it gen- erates required me to make necessary chang- es to the functioning and spending on each ad cam- paign. This would become a more com- plex task when seasonal campaigns arose. Assess- ing the keyword performance using a variety of analysis (including the best Micro- soft Ex- cel has to offer) led to crucial decision making for revenue optimization.

Sushant Adlakha

Data Analyst New York, NY

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