University of Southern Indiana
Jill Scheirer

Mathematics makes sense of the business world

Most days Jill Scheirer '08 juggles her time between financial reports, vendors, live chatting with customers, packaging orders and selecting frames to put on Ditto's website—an online company that allows customers to virtually try on a variety of designer glasses to see if they fit their faces and personalities. "It's chaos!" she says, but the math major managed the roller-coaster ride of working for a start-up by employing what she learned from math. "It's not subjective. You show your work. It lines up. It's beautiful."

Scheirer's love of mathematics began in middle school, when her algebra class went to Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville. There they learned to measure the speed and velocity of roller coasters, making math real. "Like life, math has certain rules, especially once you get into math logic. There's a structure you follow that's proof-based. Follow the structure and you find your answer every time," she said.

Because she loved and understood math she planned on being a math teacher, but during her junior year at USI she had a realization and decided to explore another route. "I love higher levels of math, but I wouldn't be able to teach at that level without a master's degree or Ph.D. So I went over to the [Romain] College of Business and learned my major worked well with a minor in finance."

During her senior year, Scheirer secured an internship at a major financial institution working with marketing models and risk level scores that senior management used to determine economic feasibility of the company. Her performance was outstanding and she was hired full-time after graduation. While at the company, she rode a wave of corporate transitions experienced during the economic downturn, successfully applying the critical thinking strategies and problem-solving strategies she learned at USI.

Scheirer wasn't looking for a new job, but when a friend suggested she check out Ditto, the job description intrigued her. The idea of working for a young start-up sounded like a fun challenge, one that fit her energetic personality. Today, Scheirer wears many hats as part of a four-person team at Ditto's Evansville operation dealing with frames, customer service, accounting and social media, while the headquarters in San Mateo, California, handles engineering, technology and overall management of the company.

When Ditto moved into the old Wool Factory building in downtown Evansville, Scheirer unpacked boxes, established relationships with vendors, figured out the new phone system and much more. "Working for a start-up is like getting an MBA," she said. "I've seen all aspects of business. I've learned so much: from patent legislation to search engine optimization. With a start-up, everything is new and unpredictable every day, math is a creative way to establish order and begin processes."

Learn more about what an undergraduate mathematics degree at USI can do for your career on our mathemathics program website - or call USI Admission at 800-467-1965.

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