In our data-driven world, mathematics is the foundation on which solutions to real problems are built. Oriol Caudevilla Torros, an applied scientist senior manager at eBay, tells us how a background in applied mathematics paved the way for a varied and fulfilling career. Hear Oriol’s story, and discover how IE University’s Bachelor in Applied Mathematics is designed to give students future-proof skills for today’s rapidly changing world.
From mathematics degree to data-driven e-commerce
Oriol Caudevilla Torros’ day-to-day work at eBay is remarkably varied. In addition to coming up with data science solutions to business problems in the e-commerce arena, he also oversees implementation of data science projects, collaborates with stakeholders and engineering teams to understand and tackle the underlying problems he’s trying to solve, and undertakes other research and exploration work.
So how did Oriol get from mathematics student to his current position? “My background in math is an incredible foundation,” he explains, adding that it gave him a “set of tools to understand any technical problem and a way to make a mental model of any complicated concept.”
“I think learning mathematics is a great mental foundation to solve any complex problem”—Oriol Caudevilla Torros
Oriol started his career in data science as an intern at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, where he focused on computer vision and helped implement a search algorithm for facial recognition. This was followed by a research assistant post at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he developed several algorithms and computer vision applications to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. He then moved on to a machine learning role at geospatial data company Eagle View, before taking up his current post at eBay in 2021.
Applying mathematical thinking to real-world problems
Applied mathematics uses mathematical formulas to reproduce real-life events, enabling us to simplify aspects of our complex world to focus on the results we want to achieve. This not only develops individual problem-solving and analytical skills, but also plays a strategic role in many industries, including economics, finance and energy—and it’s especially applicable to the fast-growing sustainability sector.
The Bachelor in Applied Mathematics at IE University is a full-time, four-year program with a strong focus on developing practical skills to solve concrete problems. Using a hands-on teaching approach, it trains students not only to cultivate abstract thinking skills, but to apply mathematical models in a variety of industries and in different contexts. Following a thorough grounding in core concepts in the first year, students then delve deeper into more complex, advanced concepts before choosing from a wide selection of electives and undertaking a capstone project in the final year.
Graduates of the Bachelor in Applied Mathematics will have a diverse skill set which can be applied to a variety of roles including those of machine learning engineer, data scientist, quantitative trader and hedge fund investment analyst. There’s a growing demand for skilled mathematicians—in fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an increase of 31% between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the average for other careers.
Of course, there’s also the option of further study if you want to gain more specialist skills after graduation—Oriol went on to pursue a master’s degree in computer vision and then a PhD in medical imaging. IE School of Science & Technology also offers a wide range of master’s programs and dual degrees.
A customizable study plan with three concentrations
One of the unique characteristics of IE University’s Bachelor in Applied Mathematics is the option to choose from three concentrations: Industrial Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence and Financial Mathematics. Each concentration is taught by industry experts with both world-class academic knowledge and cutting-edge professional experience.
The Industrial Mathematics concentration covers topics including complex systems, complex network theory, cryptography and mathematical models for specific industries. It’s an ideal choice for students looking to work in cybersecurity, or to become a biomathematician, marketing and strategy analyst or manufacturing and logistics consultant.
The Artificial Intelligence concentration is for those students who want a career at the forefront of AI research and technology. If you’re keen to become a robotics designer, machine learning expert or computer vision engineer, this is the option for you.
For those whose interests lie in the world of banking, e-commerce and investment funds, or aim to work in fintech or insurtech, there’s the Financial Mathematics concentration. It’s for students who envisage a career as an investment manager, financial analyst or research analyst.
An inspiring and rewarding career choice
Whatever your career ambitions, a solid foundation in mathematics is now a prerequisite for professional success in a vast number of industries and fields, whether in the private or public sector. Indeed, Oriol says that if he could apply his mathematical skills to solve any global issue, it would be inequality.
“As more businesses turn to science-driven practices, mathematics will play a critical role”—Oriol Caudevilla Torros
When asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in mathematics, Oriol’s response is, “Do it!”He says it is, “an incredibly inspiring and useful career.” Although he accepts that not everyone will end up following a career in research, Oriol assures prospective students that a mathematics degree “really gives you what you need to pursue any other path later on.”