I work on projects that have a real impact

Melanie Brown, Maths graduate

Melanie Brown from Chepstow graduated from the BSc (Hons) Mathematics degree in 2016. She now works as an Operational Researcher in the Civil Service Fast Stream.

About my job

"Whilst at University I attended a careers fair where I spoke to a lady about Operational Research within the government. I had just started a module on Operational Research (OR) and was quickly realising it was something I had a great interest in. I was amazed at the variety of areas you could work in so I applied for the scheme in February 2016 and got offered the job the same week that I graduated.

I have been here for a few months and am learning a lot of things at a very fast pace! My role is to be the Operational Research analyst across a wide range of projects. My key area of work is Energy Intensive Industries and working on relief schemes to ensure these industries can continue to be competitive within the UK. There is a huge variety of work involved with this including building mathematical models, in-depth analysis, meeting and engaging with members of these industries and providing key statistics for official documents and reports.

The Fast Stream in particular, is an amazing opportunity and a great achievement to be part of. It is a scheme for future leaders and the aim is to progress quickly through up rankings of the Civil Service. There is a great amount of resource dedicated to learning and development and the number of opportunities available on this scheme is endless. I had a lot of responsibility from day one which, although being scary to start with, was very exciting and rewarding and has certainly helped my confidence grow greatly.

There is a massive sense of pride in working for the government, I work on projects that have a real impact and make a big difference to a lot of people. I am surrounded by people who are striving to make everyday life the best it can possibly be for members of the public. Being a part of high profile projects that I hear about on the news is a bit strange but definitely exciting!"

About my Maths degree 

"I chose to study Mathematics at USW as I wanted to explore the growing interest I had in Maths and I wanted to challenge myself - it doesn’t get much more challenging than a Maths degree!

USW offers a perfect balance of pure maths and real-world applications and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it so much more than I imagined.

The constant support and encouragement I received from staff is also a significant factor in where I am today.

It would be impossible to count how many times my degree has helped me so far in my career, including use of the huge amount of analytical skills I gained, problem solving, project management, and being able to communicate effectively to having the confidence in myself that I am “the expert”.

In particular, I could not have done without the VBA skills that I gained in my final year at USW. Being able to apply the exact skills that I developed at USW is a great personal achievement and goes to show that it really is all worth it!"