I was originally going to study a Bachelor of Commerce, but fate had other ideas by way of some unexpected advice. During maths our teacher asked each of us what we were planning to do next. On hearing my plan, she roared back that commerce was a terrible idea and I should study maths. A few months later, I started my maths degree! She was clearly very persuasive!
My first job after graduating from university was with a consulting company. I learnt an enormous amount from this experience, in particular how little I knew. Eventually I returned to uni to complete a maths PhD. Not something I had ever really planned, it turned out to be the best few years of my life.
Following my PhD, I started Model Solutions. My company uses data every day to answer questions about pharmaceutical drug use. We work with clinicians, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies on a range of complex questions and problems within that sphere. Our work varies from helping launch a new treatment or ensuring a drug is being used in line with its approvals to writing an academic paper about how treatment of a particular disease is changing.
Business success requires a toolbox of different skills. As well as getting along with people, you need to be able to prioritise and execute different tasks and make decisions. Increasingly you also need the ability to both understand and critically interpret large volumes of data.
Study not only equips you with a body of knowledge but also exercises your intellectual muscle. Bodies of knowledge come and go, some are forgotten about over time, but a strong intellectual drive and love of learning will serve you well for many years to come. I think that mathematics is some of the heaviest intellectual weight going around.
DR BEN WATERHOUSE IS THE OWNER OF MODEL SOLUTIONS. AS WELL AS A COMBINED BACHELOR OF SCIENCE AND ARTS MAJORING IN MATHS AND GERMAN, HE ALSO HAS A PhD IN MATHEMATICS.