How to Solve Problems Like a Champion Mathlete

July 26, 2016

More than 600 high school math students from 110 countries recently gathered in Hong Kong for the 57th International Math Olympiad. Contestants spent 10 days working to solve some of the toughest math problems they’d ever faced, and Citadel was proud to sponsor their hard work.

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Students gather for “Cultural Night” at the 57th International Math Olympiad

Karen Miller, director of Talent Programs at Citadel, spotted three ways these champions tackle problems that everyone can apply to their work.

  • Stay Calm by Drawing on Confidence from Past Success – All of these students knew they were facing the best of the best in the world. But they were able to stay calm by remembering they earned their place in the competition from past successes. When panic hits, think about when you’ve felt fear before and still tried.
  • Recognize No Brain is an Island – While studying often happens in isolation, there’s nothing like competition to bring out your best. Take advantage of that to connect, collaborate, and compete with others who share your passion around the world.
  • Find the Joy in the Problem – François Jeulin, managing director at Citadel Securities, took stock on how he and his brother turned math from a source of stress into a source of constant fun early in life.

“In my early teens, I found myself driven to find the most elegant solution to a problem,” recalled Francois. “Math provided me and my brother with as much fun as any toy. Designing a math solution didn’t require tons of equipment. It just required a pencil, paper and a unique problem to solve.”

To apply your math skills to real-world problems early in your career, check out our internship opportunities.