J. W. Schneider
Quantitative User Experience Researcher at Facebook
Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics with minors in Political Science and Statistics in 2011.
PhD in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017.
Why I chose to major in math:
I wanted to go to graduate school in economics, and the math major is almost an entry requirement. A math major is also useful for learning to appreciate the really deep results in many fields, especially economics.
I work as a quantitative user experience researcher for Facebook. I was introduced to the company through an internship, and discovered that my economic and mathematical background complemented other researchers’ skills. I was offered a position at the end of my internship and accepted.
How I use math in my job:
I use math nearly every moment of every day, especially the things I worked on as a math major. The skills and logic I learned doing proofs help me code faster and code better. In economic and quantitative research a lot of results from linear algebra, set theory, and differential equations come up again and again. Having seen those as a math major first helps me understand research concepts deeply and more easily.
Advice to Truman students getting ready to hit the job market:
If you’re going to the job market, understand where your skills complement those of other people, and learn to work across disciplines. Never stop picking up new skills and learning new tools to help you work, and always stay open to new opportunities. If you’re going to graduate school don’t neglect your social support system and mental health. If a school lets you in you are definitely good enough to be there, the hard part is adjusting to believing and liking research you produce yourself.