School of Mathematics and Statistics Maths & Statistics Careers

Ian Phillips

I&J Management Services
Graduated 1987

I graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1986 with an Honours degree in statistics and a desire to demystify statistics for the 93.72% of people who are scared of numbers. Apart from the satisfaction of running my own successful consulting business, helping to design Australia’s first co-branded rewards-based credit card and modelling Work Cover data to target resources to reduce workplace injuries, the moments that make me smile are when I give clients insights into the way their organisation is performing. This usually involves taking their own data and plotting one variable against another over time. They go “Wow” and think I’m a genius.

I & J Management Services is a small consulting company that works with clients to improve their business decisions through better use of information. Having worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, several government departments and Deloitte Consulting I set up the company in 1998 and have never been out of work since. I choose my clients, work my own hours and love my job.

I use statistical and mathematical techniques in only about 10% of my work, and nearly all of that is the standard secondary school variety (i.e. averages, percentages, ratios, charts). However, I use logical thinking and a structured approach to analysis every working day. Whether I’m tackling problems related to online education, public libraries, building activity, occupational health and safety or community building, my statistical training has taught me to think critically, to distinguish between correlation and causal relationships, to look for patterns and to quickly work out which variables are important and which ones are not.

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