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Solid Foundation in Mathematics Launchpad to Rewarding Career

Asides from being widely applied in various aspects of risk management, Mathematics is also commonly applied in multiple facets of life such as business, engineering and medical sciences. As such, a solid foundation in mathematics provides an excellent springboard for a rewarding career, according to a Risk Management expert.

While making his presentation “Mathematics in Risk Management” at the July 1, 2021 Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Mathematics, Covenant University, the Guest Speaker, Mr Oghenefovie Oyawiri, said Risk was any uncertain event or condition that, if it occurred, had a positive or negative effect on one or more objectives.

He stated that one couldn’t have a reward without taking a risk in life or business. “Life is full of risks. Some risks we take because we essentially have no choice, such as when we fly. Some risks we take on willingly and just for thrills, for instance, extreme sports activities like sky-diving. The third category of risks is calculated risks; we take risks because there is a tangible reward,” he explained.

Mr Oyawiri, Chief Information Security Officer and Head, Operational Risk Management Department at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc., said risk could be managed. He said the process of risk management was the systematic way of identifying, analyzing, and responding to risk. It includes maximizing positive events and minimizing adverse circumstances, he added.

He said risk could be mitigated and controlled with the use of root-cause analysis and regression analysis in analyzing the cause-effect relationship between variables’ just as it could also be monitored with the use of moving averages and weighted moving averages in determining thresholds for Key Risk Indicators and Key Control Indicators. He said another way of managing risk was risk reporting, which used statistical analysis in risk reporting.

The Guest Speaker, who highlighted the common applications of mathematics in risk management, said Poisson distribution was used to generate the frequency of operational loss occurrence. In contrast, he said the severity of operational losses followed a log-normal distribution. Both, he noted, were combined to predict operational failures. According to him, Data Analytics was commonly used in Retail Credit Risk Management to predict customer behaviour and determine customers to lend to, while Cryptography involved the use of mathematical algorithms to encrypt important messages that reduced Information Security Risk.

Mr Oyawiri explained that Actuarial Science entailed using mathematical techniques to measure risk and estimate losses to provide valid input into underwriting decisions for Insurance and Project Evaluation Review Technique. The Critical Path Method, he stated, was used in Project Risk Management.

In his articulation of what the skills outlook would be by 2022, the Internal Controls and Risk Manager said that expertise in analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, technology design and programming, Critical thinking, and emotional intelligence would be growing. On the other hand, skills like manual agility, endurance and precision, financial and material resources management, technology installation and maintenance, and personnel management would decline.

He said that the top 10 emerging specialties in the job landscape by 2022 would be Data Analysts and scientists, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Specialists, General and Operations Managers, Software, Big Data Specialists, and Applications Developers and Analysts.

While he encouraged the students to imagine the endless opportunities on offer in mathematics, Mr Oyawiri advised them to study hard and strive to emerge the best they could be in any of the specialties mentioned above to become big players in their fields in the emerging future.


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