A mathematics major never forgets his or her go-to
For Jonathan Blair and millions of other young
mathematicians, it was Texas Instruments that made
the machines that got him through the toughest classes
in middle school and high school. “I think I even still
have a TI 89 from high school calculus,” Blair says.
Today, Blair has gone back to his roots. After
earning his mathematics degree from Purdue in 2013,
he received a graduate degree in business analytics
from University of Tennessee and started his career
at Texas Instruments’ Dallas office in summer 2015.
Although calculators are what generations of math
students associate with the company, Texas
Instruments is a multinational engineering and technology enterprise that makes microchips and processors to fuel much more powerful machinery. Yes,
calculators are still made, but are merely a fraction
of what the company and its 30,000 employees worldwide produce.
Blair was hired as a customer intelligence analyst
and market research project manager. He made
the switch from math to business
in graduate school.
“It was a good transition for me.
It prepared me for my role here and
was a good bridge to refining my
interests,” he says.
Blair says changing to a business school from the College of
Science was an interesting experience, but the attention to detail and
maximum effort he picked up during his time at Purdue helped make
the transition seamless. He credits
classes and mentoring from
Statistics professor Mark Ward and
working with Zenephia Evans,
director of the Science Diversity
Office, as key players in his academic success.
“The College of Science is
especially rigorous, which is a great
thing. Dr. Evans and Mark Ward
have a way of pushing students to
work hard,” Blair says. “I’m very
grateful how they pushed me. I’ll
definitely stay in touch with them.
They’re very important to me.”
Blair got the TI job after meet-
ing recruiters at the National Black
Master of Business Administration
Association in Atlanta, Georgia. He
and some University of Tennessee
colleagues were in a case competi-
tion, and his work got his resume
to the right people.
For Blair’s first few months at
TI, he met with engineers and
learned the details of the business
side of the company. His team supports multiple groups across TI by
using research to help them understand the motivations and needs of
the company’s engineers, customers and employees. It’s all adding
up to a successful career start.
“It’s just fascinating to see how
it’s all coming together,” Blair says.
“There’s always lots to learn. I’ve
barely scratched the surface, which
is cool. There’s a lot going on here.”