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Science careers: Using applied mathematics in the banking industry
Author: Laura van Laeren (Faculty of Science: Media and Communication)
Published: 13/04/2022

“I really enjoy working in the banking industry because there are so many different roles and people that you interact with on a daily basis” – Carlien Tilly (Fick), MSc-graduate in applied mathematics (2017)

Carlien Tilly (Fick) obtained a BSc in Mathematical Sciences from Stellenbosch University in 2014, a BScHons in Applied Mathematics in 2015 and completed her studies with a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics in 2017. Carlien is currently employed as a Credit Risk Model Validator working for the ING Bank Netherlands, one of the largest financial service providers in the Netherlands. She has previously worked as a Quantitative Analyst for both Nedbank and FNB South Africa.

“In my current position, I am part of a team of validators that use different programming tools to assess all the components of a particular credit risk model," Carlien explained. “We determine whether the particular model is suitable for use." The thing she enjoys most about working in the banking field as an applied mathematician is getting to use the programming, mathematical and statistical skills that she learnt during her studies at Stellenbosch University in an exciting and challenging way. “I really enjoy working in the banking industry because there are so many different roles and people that you interact with on a daily basis," she said. “I think our courses are laid out really well at Stellenbosch University and it gives a nice solid foundation of knowledge to start a career. My MSc degree was also a particularly valuable learning curve, because it definitely prepares you for the independence and autonomy of a working environment and it teaches you the necessary discipline and organising skills."

Her advice to prospective students interested in following a similar career path in the banking field is to take in everything you can from the lecturers and to do a postgraduate degree if possible. “We always wonder whether it's better to start a career immediately or to continue with post-graduate studies first," she says. “Personally, I really valued my post-graduate studies. You get to work closer with the lecturers and see a bit more of their vast knowledge.  Also, if you would like to work abroad in the banking field, it is advisable to have at least a Masters' degree, as that experience is very valuable and recognised." 

Visit our Careers in Science webpage for more profiles of our BSc alumni in the world of work. ​​