Our postgraduate students go on to pursue a wide variety of career and research opportunities when they graduate.
Dr Nira Chamberlain (Principal Consultant - Data and Decision Sciences: Babcock International Group)
Dr Nira Chamberlain graduated with a master's degree in Industrial Mathematical Modelling in 1993.
With 25 years' experience in mathematical modelling, Nira is listed by the Science Council as one of the UK's 'Top 100 Scientists', and was named on the 2018 Powerlist as the 5th Most Influential Black Person in the UK.
Why did you choose to study at Loughborough University?
I was a mathematics graduate and I wanted to specialise as a mathematical modeller. Loughborough offered a master’s course in Industrial Mathematical Modelling, where you spend some of the time on industrial placement. I wanted both the practical and theoretical experience Loughborough offered.
How has Loughborough University inspired you and helped you progress your career?
In 1993, I obtained my master’s degree in Industrial Mathematical Modelling. I have been a professional mathematical modeller since then.
What would be the one piece of advice you would give to current or prospective students looking to do the same course that you did?
If you want to be a mathematician working on real-world mathematics, this is the course to do.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did that impact on your Loughborough experience?
Yes, I played football for the African-Caribbean Society. It was good to be part of Loughborough’s sporting tradition as well mixing with my team-mates and opposition.
Can you tell us more about the organisation you currently work for?
Babcock International Group plc is a British multinational corporation headquartered in the United Kingdom, which specialises in support services managing complex assets and infrastructure in safety and mission-critical environments.
Can you tell us about your career journey so far?
I have almost 25 years’ experience writing mathematical models/simulation algorithms that solve complex industrial problems. I have developed mathematical solutions within industries such as defence, aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. This has included periods in France, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel.
What do you love most about your job?
In a video interview with the Cambridge University outreach project, Plus magazine, I tell how solving difficult mathematical problems can be like fighting an invisible boxer. I love the feeling of having succeeded because “the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory!”
What does the future hold for you?
More mathematical modelling as well as sharing my passion for it on a larger stage.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Undoubtedly, being the highest new entrant in the 2018 PowerList at number 5. Hence, I hold the title as the 5th Most Influential Black Person in the UK. This is the first time a mathematician has made it into the Top 100 most influential people of African and African-Caribbean Heritage in Britain.
Also, being listed by the Science Council as one of the UK’s ‘Top 100 Scientists’. Finally, in 2015, becoming the first Black mathematician to join the exclusive list of distinguished living British mathematicians who feature in the biographical reference book 'Who’s Who'.
I hope to get a position in industry working in research and development. The skills I've gained from my PhD will be essential for this kind of role.
I have always enjoyed mathematics because I have always found it challenging and rewarding in equal measure. I also like the idea that there is a correct answer, unlike many subjects which are more subjective!
I actually came to Loughborough University to study engineering, as I wanted to try something that would use my physics A-level. However, I struggled on the engineering course in the first year and decided to change. The University was very helpful in orchestrating this change from engineering to pure mathematics at the end of my first year.
During my degree I found the mathematics department at Loughborough to be very friendly and to maintain very high standards of teaching both in and out of lectures. Also, the mathematics learning support centre was an invaluable resource to me and I think would be of use to anybody coming to Loughborough. The friendly atmosphere in the Department was one of the main reasons I chose to stay at Loughborough to do a PhD.
Loughborough University is a great place to be based. It has a central location for access to all of the nearby cities (Nottingham, Derby and Leicester). Loughborough is a small town but has surprisingly many bars and shops in the centre and is geared towards student life (students make up a quarter of the population). The University itself is renowned for its sporting prowess and with this reputation comes many second to none sporting facilites which are open for use by all students. In the time I have been at Loughborough (5 years and a bit!) there has been a lot of development of the University. This development has helped Loughborough to become on of the leading Universities in the country.
I have enjoyed my time at Loughborough immensely and would recommend it as a University for anyone to come and get a mathematics degree.
I have always been a keen mathematics student. After visiting and researching many universities, I felt drawn and attached to Loughborough to persue a research degree. The people here are very pleasant, the staff are excellent and the teaching quality is brilliant. I have only been here for four months and have settled in very easily and comfortably. The University is very welcoming and accommodating for all students, irrespective of nationality, background or origin.
After graduating in Italy at Cagliari University in Mathematics I decided to apply my theoretical knowledge by doing an MSc in Mathematical Modelling. I had spent one year in England previously as Erasmus student and I had enjoyed the experience so I started to look for interesting postgraduate programmes in a British universities. I applied for the MSc in Industrial Mathematical Modelling at Loughborough and the Department offered me a scholarship to cover the tuition fees.
I found the courses and the organization of the programme excellent. The year has been challenging and intense but I have enjoyed studying and learning new subjects. In particular there are two modules on the programme where one learns modelling by actually doing it in small group projects. There is a laboratory with computers that are provided only for MSc students and we had the keys to enter at any time, so I felt that the Department was like home. Plus, the atmosphere is very friendly and the staff always helpful. The fact that there were not many students on the course meant that students had a good relationship with lecturers. This gives students the confidence to ask questions and makes the most the learning experience. Moreover Loughborough offers a nice campus where it is enjoyable just to walk and ride around. There are also many facilities and services available. After the MSc I applied for a PhD in a related subject in the Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering department and I was offered further funding.
As an international student from China, I can honestly say that my choice of the MSc course Mathematical Processes in Finance is the best decision I have ever made. The course is based in the department of Mathematical Sciences and although it involves several pure mathematics modules, it is also suitable for the students just like me whose undergraduate major was other than mathematics ... actually nothing to be worried about if you are really determined but most of my other classmates have a first degree in mathematics.
The department at Loughborough is very considerate and to be honest, the friendly and brilliant teachers help not just with studying but also with settlement guidance and future career advice. The academic and scientific atmosphere here helps you focus on your studying and self-improvement.
The MSc computer laboratory is an excellent resource and available for exclusive use by students on the MSc courses, being often more quiet than the library, open 24 hours per day and close to staff offices in case of problems.
I think the MSc course is challenging and definitely can change your career path if you want to seek diversity for life experience just like me. The core modules here in stochastic probability and partial differential equations are very useful in financial areas and highly suitable for those people seeking opportunities in investment banking, the securities assets market, risk management, the financial derivatives exchange market or other related areas.
It is also a good choice for those people who want to strengthen their background with mathematics and provides alternative career paths from pure mathematics to finance.