Do your background research.
Understanding what information is available and which questions to ask before you start writing can be critical to organizing a well thought-out and well-organized report. Read up on autonomous vehicle technologies, review information about what actuaries do, and learn about auto-insurance policies first. Then write down a list of questions or hypotheses that you would like to explore in making your models, describing how autonomous vehicles will change the future. Doing your background research first could save you hours when creating your models and writing your report.
Be specific about the mathematics used. Explain Everything.
Actuaries pay attention to details! Make sure you describe all of the mathematics and reasoning that you put into your report. If you think autonomous vehicles will be a large portion of commercial vehicles in 10 years, make sure you explain why, and show the data and the mathematical calculations you made to come to that determination. Every statement you make in your report about how autonomous vehicles will impact the future should have very well-though-out reasoning and strong mathematical analyses behind it. Include your mathematical calculations and analyses in your report to demonstrate how you arrived at each projection or statement.
Use multiple sets of data.
The more data you have backing up your statements, the stronger they will be. Actuaries use as much data as they can get to validate their assumptions and strengthen their projections. Strong data is key to a successful submission to the Modeling the Future Challenge. Don't rely on just one data source to validate your statements. Include data from multiple sources to make sure that all aspects of your statements are backed by strong mathematical calculations. For instance, combining traffic data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with survey information from a Mckinsey & Co. study on the adoption of autonomous vehicles would make for a stronger presentation than just having one source of information on its own. Diversify your data sources to make sure all parts of your assumptions and statements are valid.
Dig deep into the data.
Many data sources may not have the information you want right on the surface. At first glance, you may think that some data only tells you one thing, but when you spend a little time analyzing the data a bit more deeply, you may find that there are many other inferences or conclusions that you can make from that very same data. Additionally, when you combine various datasets, you may be able to strengthen your conclusions, or add completely new projections to what you initially saw. Don't take a dataset just at face value. Use your mathematical knowledge and skillset to examine as much data as you can and see what secrets you can pull from the information!
Collaborate and Communicate.
Submissions can be the work of 1 to 3 students. Whether you're submitting as a team or not, connecting with your colleagues and friends on the project may help bring innovative ideas into your report. One mantra in the modern innovation ecosystem is that no matter how smart you are, there is always more knowledge outside of your system than there is within it. Collaboration can be extremely valuable. One person cannot think of every good idea possible. However, this does not mean to just copy the work of others. When you work with others, be sure to cite their contributions or data that you used, and be sure to describe how you build upon that information with your own additions and analyses. If you're working on a team to submit, make sure you communicate on all your projections. Teams may want to divvy up the work, but even in those cases, it will result in the best report if you regularly communicate with each other on each section.
Use graphs and figures to display the results.
A picture is worth a thousand words. We've all heard this saying time and time again, and it holds true for the Modeling the Future Challenge just as well as anywhere else. Don't just rely on text to tell your story. Demonstrate how you came to your projections and conclusions through graphs, charts, and images. This will help show the judges your well-organized thought processes and the connections you've made in your analyses. Your report should take the judges on a journey through the same assumptions and analyses that you did when coming up with your models. At every point, the judges should be able to easily follow the direction your report is going. Images, graphs, and other figures can be instrumental in doing this.