Mirabelle HuynhWhat program are you in and how many years have you been in this program?

I am in the Actuarial Science PhD program and I have just completed my first year.

Why did you choose to study actuarial science at the University of Waterloo?

The Faculty of Mathematics is one of the largest faculties at Waterloo and the size creates a lot of diversity within the field of mathematics. Since research is very interdisciplinary, it helps to be surrounded by such a high level of expertise and technology. Any questions I have about specific mathematical topics can be answered immediately with a walk down the hall.

What are your career goals?

My dream is to become a professor as I love teaching and researching. By becoming a professor I can share my excitement for actuarial science with others and I can research and learn about my exact interests within actuarial science.

What has been your most rewarding moment as a graduate student so far?

My most rewarding moment was completing my master’s thesis. Researching and writing a thesis is a big hill to climb and it’s such a rewarding feeling when you finish. Passing comprehensives was also a very rewarding moment.

What is the most challenging part of life as a graduate student?

The open-ended nature of research can be very challenging. Unlike in your undergrad, there is no solution manual; it takes a lot of stumbling around to find the right answer.

What has been your favourite course or project in graduate school?

The ongoing project of being involved on a single research project for four years is my favourite part of graduate school.

Can you describe any practical or hands-on experience you’ve had during your studies?

In between my master’s and PhD I spent eight months working at Munich Re, a reinsurance company. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it.

How do you spend your time outside of school?

I try to exercise as much as possible, mainly through yoga and salsa dancing. I also love socializing. When you’re researching and working all day, its important to escape your own thoughts and talk with friends and family

Do you have any words of advice for people considering or planning graduate studies at the University of Waterloo?

The open-ended nature of research can be extremely challenging. It’s important to be sure you’re interested in research and that you have an idea of what you’re working towards. You get what you put in. If you don’t know what you want, it’s tough to put anything in.

Do you have any words of advice for students considering actuarial science?

It’s a tough program and it’s not necessarily for everyone. But if you enjoy studying and researching actuarial science, a PhD in actuarial science is a good choice.

Faculty Joint PublicationsMap of Faculty and PhD Students backgroundsDavid Sprott Distinguished Lectures

Faculty Research Chairs

Actuarial Science

David Landriault
Tier II Canada Research Chair

Ken Seng Tan 
Sun Life Fellow

Ruodu Wang
University Research Chair

Gord Willmot 
Munich Re Chair in Insurance

Tony Wirjanto
University Research Chair

Statistics

Grace Yi
University Research Chair