Statistics is important for anyone who wants to be able to look critically at numerical information and not be easily misled. It is important for anyone who has problems to solve, problems they won't be able to solve until they find out a little more about the world and how it operates - from finding ways to make a business more profitable right through to improving living standards and fighting cancer.
Investigation - asking questions, designing ways to collect data to answer those questions, collecting data, making sense of what that data says to produce sensible answers - this is the subject matter of statisticians and a set of general life-skills.
We live in an Information Age. Computers allow us to collect and store information in quantities that previously would not even have been dreamed of. But raw, undigested data stored on computer disks are useless until human beings can start to make sense of them. Statistics is the human side of the computer revolution, an information science, the art and science of extracting meaning form seemingly incomprehensible data. Statistics applies to almost any field. This is why some training in statistics can help make you more effective in almost any career.
The fascination of advanced study and the excitement of a career in statistics is one of the world's best kept secrets. What other discipline can accommodate people whose passions are as disparate as pure mathematics (well, almost pure), computer science, medical research, research in biology, social research, engineering, forensics, image reconstruction..., or encompass several of these? Statistics can provide a home for people who love playing with theoretical abstractions. It can also provide a home for people who are driven by the desire to solve practical problems - people who have little patience with abstraction unless they can see direct practical applications.
Few other areas can give you as wide a range of employment possibilities. Do you know yet whether you want to be an academic? Or to work in business or industry? In agriculture? The health sector? Private consultancy? Public sector analysis and planning? Postgraduate study in statistics can help prepare you for any of these. And to a large extent, you can postpone making such difficult choices.
Our recent graduates have found employment in industry, research institutes, medical research teams, government departments, market research companies, insurance companies, investment banks, and in universities. For many of these jobs, a postgraduate degree has been essential.