Mathematics major keeps on the move
As a Manager at Accenture – a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company – Leon Cooper is constantly on the move. While representing the company he has travelled to North America, Europe and South-East Asia, and finds himself on the road at least three months of every year. His role involves identifying and solving problems for corporate clients and tailoring strategy plans to aid their businesses in the marketplace. The skills that he utilises at Accenture can be tracked back to his time as a Faculty of Science undergraduate at Monash University.
"The scientific mindset of hypothesis testing, and using data to drive conclusions and decisions, are by far the most valuable learnings I apply from my degree."
Undergraduate studies in psychology, mathematics, physics and chemistry formed the basis of Leon's education with Monash. However, he also attributes part of his success in business to the extracurricular university activities in which he was heavily involved. Leon attended four conferences in Melbourne and Sydney as a Monash University representative, co-founded a Monash society for Scholars and Advanced Science degree students, and was a Science Student Ambassador to promote science to VCE graduates and junior students.
"The best experiences in my degree were taking the opportunities for extra-curricular travel, networking and collaborating with peers with similar interests, and the research units available to direct my degree specialisation."
Leon maintains that, "the important extracurricular skills that science students could work on to get a career head start are the ability to communicate well, and how to apply science concepts to real life problems."
As somebody with a passion for learning, and a brain "wired for science", the course at Monash University's Faculty of Science offered a variety of subjects that captured Leon's interest and allowed him the flexibility to pursue other passions while also specialising in mathematics. This was an important compromise for somebody with a diverse set of hobbies, which range from organic gardening and sustainable housing design to playing ping-pong, Go and chess.
Leon is a strong advocate of applying scientific principles to real life situations, and is compelled to contribute his management experience to investigate the effectiveness of science teaching at Monash University.
"Although I found that the research and academic lifestyle didn't fit my personal goals … I think it's very important to get people excited about science and making it easy to learn and understand."