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Asking the right questions

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Eli Margolis learned to appreciate math at a young age. “There was always a right and wrong answer, always a correct way of figuring something out if you searched hard enough,” she reflected.

Eli Margolis sitting at a desk in front of a laptopWhen she arrived at the Faculty of Mathematics, Margolis encountered more complexity and nuance than she had ever experienced before. “In high school, I could go from point A to point B without explaining how I got there,” she recognized. “In my math classes at Waterloo, I have to be able to explain my reasoning in a robust manner at every step along the way. It’s a completely different way of approaching math.”

In her 1B term, Margolis took an elective in actuarial science on a whim. By the end of a semester, she had chosen a career path. “I have always had a passion for the statistics side of math, so finding a field that applies statistics to business was a perfect fit,” she said.

As a co-op student in actuarial science for companies like Mercer Canada and BMO Financial Group, Margolis began to master a process that was less black and white than many people realize. “The answers you get all depend on the assumptions you begin with,” she explained. “It takes a good amount of experience to get a feel for how to ask the right questions.”

After she graduates in 2022, Margolis plans to pursue an actuarial role with a consulting company. “Thanks to my experience at Waterloo Math, I’m prepared to enter a field that I love.” 

Learn more about Eli's experience as an undergraduate student at Waterloo.

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