Why Studying Math is a Sexy Choice for Your Future

Howdy, Oregon MBA blog. My name is Jacob Rosen and I’m a first-year in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center program. While many of my new classmates here in Eugene know me as a loudly proud Ohioan and non-stop sports blogger, many recognize me most as the MBA class of 2016’s token math guy.

I majored in applied mathematical economics with minors in Spanish and business administration during my undergrad at the University of Dayton. I selected Dayton similarly to how I picked Oregon – both schools had attractive existing programs in niche subjects and the schools’ warmhearted communities won me over on my first visits. No one in my family had ever attended a Catholic university or moved out to the Pacific Northwest. But both schools felt like home immediately.

In regards to math, I was always data friendly as a kid. When I was 15 years old, I created my own mock-up of college football’s Bowl Championship Series ranking. I created similar rankings for baseball and basketball and began blogging regularly by the time I was 17. Regardless of my major, I probably still would’ve ended up involved in the sports analytics blogging community and I always thought an MBA was a good fit.

But majoring in mathematics opened doors to me in ways most traditional majors might not. From a young age, I always had wanted to work in sports, whether in sports business, player personnel or sports journalism. But the advice I had gotten – prove your competitive advantage in whatever way possible and stay away from a sports journalism-centric approach – fit right in line with going the math route. A math degree is very, very sexy in this field. Just think of Moneyball.

And that sex appeal is certainly not just true in sports. It’s very, very true in all realms of business. Look at any relevant study – PayScale, Inc. and Georgetown University have two good data sets – and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors always are at the top of the career earnings list. And that’s with over 70 percent of STEM majors working in non-STEM fields.

Again, I wasn’t the best at math in my undergrad. Econ and business courses came much easier for me. Some of those math classes, such as linear algebra and discrete mathematics, were harder than anything I’ve had in my life. I struggled for the first time in my academic career. The subjects pushed me further and further. They made me more comfortable with challenging problems and critical thinking. They are making the first term of my MBA much easier for me.

The point of studying math is that employers in every field are looking for young people who can analyze data and think on their feet. There’s a reason why the Wall Street Journal recently said a master’s in data analytics might be as hot as an MBA. Big Data is the future of business. A math major – or at least several courses in math – can be the differentiation point to lift your resume to the top of the pile.

Written by Jacob Rosen

Jacob Rosen is a second-year MBA student in the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. His goal is to work in business or sponsorship analytics for a professional sports team. Jacob interned in business analytics for the NBA's Charlotte Hornets this past summer. He can be followed on Twitter @WFNYJacob.