Name: Brian Buckley
Degree: B.S. Mathematics with secondary teaching certification, College of Charleston, 1997
Employer: Pearson North America
Position: Vice President, K-12 Efficacy Results
Job Description: My team is responsible for measuring and reporting the impact of Pearson Education’s products and services on K-12 learner outcomes in North America. By analyzing data from schools and school districts, we seek to understand how our offerings perform and how we can improve our products and services and their implementation. Our ultimate goal is to sustainably improve outcomes.
Career Path: After seven years in the military, I chose to pursue a degree in mathematics with the intention of teaching high school math, a career that had always interested me. Upon graduation, I began teaching at a Charleston, S.C.-area high school. While teaching was both challenging and rewarding, I left the classroom after two years to reach a wider audience of math students, settling into a role developing print and digital mathematics instruction and assessment content at a small education company.
I was recruited by another educational services provider for a sales role. Although I had never considered a sales career, I was attracted by the organization’s passion for education and our shared commitment to improving people’s lives through learning. Fifteen years later – two as a sales representative, five as a math specialist, six as a science specialist, and two in efficacy research – I remain dedicated to helping teachers teach and students learn.
How has a math degree helped in my career? Clearly, a math degree was essential to earning secondary mathematics teaching certification and securing employment as an educator. But it has proven invaluable beyond the high school classroom. A math curriculum develops higher-order thinking skills, such as how to think critically to analyze and synthesize information and make intelligent decisions. These skills are among the most sought by employers. In my current role, having a math background is crucial for my understanding of the data analysis and reporting.
Advice for students considering a math major: Do it because:
- There’s a rapidly growing need: As more companies collect customer data, employers will need people specializing in mathematics, statistics, and data science. Therefore…
- It’s lucrative: Your major has more impact on your income than the school you attend, and math majors are among the top earners. (Sources: NPR, U.S. News & World Report)
- People assume you are smart – even if you’re not.
- It makes you popular: Who doesn’t want to hear about harmonic functions during the game?