"One of the first questions a math major gets, is 'Oh, are you going to teach?'" said Justin Hukle-VanKirk, a qualitative data analyst for Commerce Bank.
Hukle-VanKirk and Tim Fitch, a technology analytics manager with Commerce, told students at Pittsburg State University's Math Honors Day that the world of business offers many varied opportunities for math students.
"We're not putting down teachers," Fitch said. "We need great math teachers. But teaching isn't for everyone."
For students who love math and aren't interested in teaching, the bank representatives said, a good option is analytics. These specialists use computers, research and data to help guide the choices companies make.
"At Commerce Bank, we use math and statistics to help make better decisions," Fitch said. "Good use of data helps us to play outside our weight class."
Commerce Bank confirmed the value of these specialized employees by working with PSU in recent years to create a new degree option, the Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree with an emphasis in analytics.
"That program combines math, business and communication to produce a well-rounded person," Fitch said.
Tim Flood, chairman of PSU's Department of Mathematics, said the high school students attending Math Honor Day were good at math, but many were probably undecided about math as a major or career path.
"Math Honor Day helps students learn more about PSU and the Math Department," Flood said. "Today it is also an opportunity for students to learn about potential careers and opportunities for math majors."
©2011 Pittsburg State University