The University of Arizona

Alumni Early Career Profiles - Victoria Sanders

Victoria photo

Name: Victoria Sanders
Education:  B.A., Mathematics, The University of Arizona, 2019

Program Cost Analyst

Northrop Grumman

Sector:  Business / Finance


I’ve been working at Northrop Grumman for about 2 years now. Mostly what I do is track spending on a specific program and handle the appropriate paperwork for compliance and in case of audits. While no prior work experience is technically necessary for a level one position, I did have a summer internship with the Department of Defense, which was helpful in the interviewing process in that it showed I was capable of learning quickly and working with others.

My work entails keeping track of awarded funding on my program, expended costs, and current and expected final profit. I also project anticipated future sales on the program (and constantly explain why my projections were off). I report on this data at different levels monthly, quarterly, and yearly. We do have a minimum required profit level sent down from above, so I also work with the program manager on proposals to make sure the program continues to perform as expected.

I graduated from the University of Arizona in 2019 with a BA in Mathematics with minors in Economics and Korean Language. I’m not sure I’d say there are any obvious math skills needed for the job, other than basic algebra. The more important thing, in my opinion, is problem solving and the ability to craft a reasonable and logical argument - hello proofs. The rest is on the job training, and the most general portion of that training for me was learning to organize and communicate my ideas clearly to people, say, managers, who don’t have the same background I do.

While I never like to pressure people, I’d recommend trying mathematics to anyone who’s considering it. On a practical level, I imagine the first few required math courses are necessary for anyone wanting to get into STEM, so it’s not a waste of time if you later change your mind on the math major. It’s true that math is useful for working in several different fields, but I honestly didn’t think much about that until I was about ready to graduate. There are just so many different routes you can take in math and I had a really good time exploring all I could. I hope that anyone considering it has as much fun as I did.