This article is aimed at both undergraduates and graduates who are thinking about joining a Professional Body for mathematicians. Please note that if you are still at school or college you can sign up instead to the e16plus newsletter where you can stay in touch with the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). Once you become an undergraduate you will then be able to become a Student member of the IMA.
A Professional Body for Mathematicians
Like many different industries, Mathematics has a professional body, which you can join if you have the appropriate background, experience or qualifications. What can you gain by joining? Here are some of the benefits that membership offers.
Stay inspired and motivated: Attending conferences and meetings allows you to connect with your peers at other Universities and in other employment fields. Reading journal articles maintains and broadens your mathematical knowledge, supports your studies and helps you to identify your future career path. Once you have graduated, your membership ensures that you remain connected with the subject you love.
Professional recognition and building a better CV: Membership signals your commitment to your profession. Many employers look for professional affiliation and are impressed if you can demonstrate active membership over a period of time. Once you have gained five years of Professional Experience you may be able to become a Chartered Mathematician.
If you are still an undergraduate then make the most of the opportunities to get involved with the IMA throughout your university life, you will make great contacts and boost your CV.
Enhance your network: Joining associations gives many opportunities to connect on a local and national level. IMA members include people who work in industry as well as academics working within universities. Many of these people are at the top of their field, conducting cutting edge research or solving advanced mathematical problems in industry. If you want to be part of a network of interesting, talented people who are passionate about maths then attend Branch meetings where you can meet mathematicians from beyond your University and make wider connections.
If you attend national events and participate in events such as the IMA’s Tomorrow’s Mathematicians Today or Early Career Mathematicians conferences you will meet mathematicians from different universities and develop your skills to benefit your career. You may also make some great friends with the same interests as you.
Develop your skills: Professional associations give you an opportunity to develop your skills for example by volunteering to help to organize an event, be a speaker, or become a member of a committee – either at regional branch or national level. This raises your profile, contributes to your personal growth and will impress future employers.
Develop your career: Continuing professional development (CPD) after you graduate is essential if you want to forge a successful career and gain added professional credibility. There are opportunities to upgrade your membership to Member or Fellow level as your career develops. You can also apply to become a Chartered Mathematician.
Resources: Professional Bodies offer excellent periodic magazines which are normally included in the cost of your annual subscription. By joining the IMA you will receive the popular Mathematics Today magazine. In addition there is the opportunity to attend conferences and subscribe to specialist journals that you read at university at a reduced cost.
Make a Difference: As a maths student or graduate, you understand the vital importance of maths to our society and economy. It may surprise you to learn that many policy makers do not. As a UK Institute supporting and promoting maths in university, industry and commerce, it is part of the IMA’s mission to work to make sure that maths is recognized as the essential discipline that it is. The IMA engages directly with Government and Parliament to make the case for the recognition of mathematics. As a member of the Institute, you will be able to make a valuable contribution to this work.
The Cost: Professional bodies will charge for registration and there is an annual subscription fee. If your future employer doesn’t pay professional membership costs you will be able to claim these against tax if membership supports your work. To become a Student Member of the IMA it is just £10 per year, which is incredible value for money.