High school student Julien Pallage won a brand new iPad for proposing the best solution to the million dollar problem in the 2016 Back to School contest.

Why did you enter the contest?

I decided to enter to get an idea about the profession, because being an actuary is a fairly nebulous thing for me (and for many other teens, I would think). I had heard some adults talking in vague terms about this line of work. They suggested that with my interest in math, I might be interested in becoming an actuary. So that’s why I decided to enter the contest. I had nothing to lose and this was a chance to satisfy my curiosity.

Was the problem difficult?

All in all, I didn’t find it difficult, because all the concepts were clearly explained in detail to help high school students come up with the answer. But the question was very long and there was a lot of data to consider in order to do well (as is the case in the actuarial profession). And that was what was neat about the problem: being able to recreate an actuarial problem on a small scale.

How did it feel to win?

I’m still surprised, actually. I’ve never been too lucky when it comes to contests. In fact, after completing the problem, I remember joking with my parents that I had participated in a national contest and, who knows, maybe I’d win!

What did you learn from the Back to School presentation?

I found it stimulating. It gave me a better understanding of the actuarial profession, of how to become an actuary. and of the benefits of the profession. The only thing that was missing was an example of an actuarial problem, but I got to see one thanks to the contest.

Did you know about the actuarial profession before the presentation?

People had spoken to me about it a few times and I already had a vague notion of what the profession was about.

Are you inspired to embark on an actuarial career? If so, what do you find most interesting about the profession?

I have to say that despite starting CEGEP next September, I still don’t have a clear idea as to which field I’d like to work in. I’m very interested in math, science, entrepreneurship, and even politics, so everything is still up in the air. But I found the presentation and the contest very interesting, and so the actuarial profession is most definitely on my radar now in terms of a future career. What I find most interesting about the profession is the chance to use math on a daily basis, to solve problems using forecasting, and to be able to travel pretty much anywhere, since this profession is international.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

http://www.cia-ica.ca/