PACM Master’s Provides Toolkit

PACM Master’s Provides Toolkit

Posted: October 24, 2011

Fred Meyer, ’11, is working as a risk analyst with M&T Bank while pursuing a master’s degree in professional applied and computational mathematics (PACM) at Buffalo State. “I thought about going for an M.B.A.,” Meyer said, “or for a Ph.D. in mathematics or statistics. The PACM combined both interests, so it was a good fit for me.”

Meyer likes the PACM’s focus on applied mathematics. “I found the pure mathematics interesting,” he said, “but it’s easier to interest people in the application of mathematics, like how math is used in a CT scan to generate a 3-D image from a series of 2-D pictures, or in predicting who will pay off their car loans.”

As an undergraduate in Buffalo State’s applied mathematics program, Meyer interned in M&T’s Credit Risk Management Department, which led to his current position. He works on the behavior modeling team, which uses math to predict consumer behavior and loan loss forecasting. “Our group is heavily focused on statistics and advanced mathematical techniques,” he said. “The PACM program is providing a deeper understanding of the techniques we use, experience with interpreting my results, and the skills to present them to different audiences.”

By pursuing his master’s in PACM, Meyer expects to learn a range of mathematical techniques that he can bring to the workplace. “I think of it as having the right tool for the job,” he said. “If you always use a hammer and an axe, you might not know there are better tools. It’s important to have a grasp on what is out there and what it can be used for. The PACM is a good place to get that knowledge and to find out how to continue learning new tools.”

Meyer believes that more and more businesses will find uses for mathematicians because so much data is available. “Companies like Google and Amazon are already collecting and using a lot of data,” he said. “The PACM program is exciting because it provides a foundation for math-based work.”

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