Purdue students win global competition, $100,000 prize

02-27-2019

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Not many college students get the opportunity to travel across the globe to compete for $100,000 in an international competition. Two Purdue undergraduates did, and it led to much more than just an exciting experience.

Actuarial science students Jiaxin Yu, a junior, and Dongyu Dai, a senior, traveled to China earlier this year to compete in the Global Insurance Product Innovation Contest, an international competition that challenges entrants to use a combination of technology and creativity to meet the personalized needs of insurants.

Yu and Dai decided to focus their project on cybersecurity. Yu explained that the importance of cybersecurity is increasing in the wake of the increased threat of cyber attacks on businesses, so he and Dai came up with the idea of Cyber Security Smart Insurance to help alleviate the financial implications these attacks have on businesses. Various businesses around the word have lost billions of dollars to internet hackers, and since these businesses don’t have insurance to protect them from such attacks, the stakeholders are left to pay off the monetary losses, which often results in the businesses filing for bankruptcy. The insurance plan thought up by Yu and Dai would provide businesses with the insurance to help with these potential losses.

The judging panel at the competition awarded Yu and Dai the $100,000 cash prize for first place.

“My mind went blank,” said Dai of the moment when their names were called for first place. Yu and Dai were competing against Ph.D. and master’s candidates from around the globe, and they weren’t expecting to win. In fact, Dai’s father, who was in attendance at the competition, texted Dai right before the results were announced and reminded him it wasn’t the result that mattered, but the process.

The winners both spoke at length about their appreciation for Purdue’s resources. They mentioned that the Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange and, specifically David Sparks, gave them the confidence to present their creation to the judging panel. They revealed that they were the only team competing that used English the entire time, so they attribute that to the help they received from the Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange and Purdue’s Writing Lab.

With the prize money they won, Yu and Dai plan to travel back to China this month to submit a formal business plan proposal for their product. They hope to start a company, sign a contract and ultimately bring their idea to life. 

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