Hi Rosie! Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your job?
Having completed my A-levels, I went to university to study Business Studies. With a degree and some relevant work experience, I was offered a graduate job at a bank in London, where I now work as a Lead Business Analyst.
Why do you think maths is important?
Working in finance, you soon realise how much the world relies on numbers. In a bank (or other companies which deal with money), it is one of the most important things in many areas including: accounting (checking how much money is coming in and going out of the bank), trading (buying and selling things called ‘stocks’ to make money), product development (designing online banking, or mobile apps to make it easier for people to check how much money they have) and analysing the company’s performance. The company simply wouldn’t function without maths!
How do you use maths in your job?
As a business analyst, a lot of my time is spent working with teams to find out where we can make improvements to what they do and how they do it. To do this, I often need to analyse lots of information in spreadsheets, so that my suggestions are backed up by real numbers and have lots of evidence behind them.
Do you have any advice for someone who may find some parts of maths tricky?
The key thing is to break the problem down into small steps and tackle them one at a time.
Also, if you don’t understand the way something has been explained, don’t be afraid to ask someone else for help – we all learn differently and someone explaining how to do it in a slightly different way might make all the difference.
What’s your favourite number and why?
7 – I’m not sure why, I’ve just always liked it!
If a school wanted a business analyst to visit their school, what advice would you give them?
Most people would be happy to help! Your first point of contact might be a friend in an organisation, who could put you in touch with a colleague in finance. Other options could be to explore the contact links on a company’s website, or even try reaching out to someone on LinkedIn. Equally, you could use the ‘You, your kids and money’
page on The Money Advice Service’s website to help children learn about money.
Thank you Rosie!
How do business analysts use maths?
Rosie has to collect lots of data to find out which parts of the business work well and which bits could be improved. Once she has recorded all of her data, she then has to find the relevant bits and then study it carefully to see if there are any patterns, or if there are any little changes she can make for it to work better.
Fractions and percentages:
Once Rosie has completed all of her testing and has evaluated her results, she needs to work out exactly where she can make the biggest improvements. She might think of two different ways where she thinks she could make something better, so she’ll use fractions and percentages to work out which method is better. She might discover that adding another person to the team would make them 10% more likely to reach their target, but if she found a tool which could automatically count how many people used their website, it would save each person on the team one hour per day and it would improve how much money each person could make by 15%.
Rosie may need to do all sorts of calculations to work out how to save the company money. She may find out that each person (P) is spending 2.5 hours per week doing things that a machine could do really quickly instead, but the machine is really expensive. She needs to work out whether it’s better for the people to keep doing those tasks, or whether it’s better for the company to buy the machine. If the people in the team get paid £20 per hour and the machine costs £500, she can see that if there are 11 people in the team, it’s cheaper to buy the machine than get the people to do it.
It could be that when Rosie is writing her calculations to show the company how to do things better, she could write it as an algebraic equation. This would help the people she works with so they can see how the numbers would change, looking at different situations.