Global Math Champion

We talk with the winner of the 2nd Global Math Challenge

Yusuke Kuroda, the champion of the 2nd Global Math Challenge, all ages open course, only took 10 minutes to finish, and got a full score of 1,000. The GMC team met with him to ask about how he scored this incredible result. You may find some tips to be the next champion from his story.

Could you briefly tell us about your background?
I graduated from Tokyo University with a psychology major in 2008.
I originally entered the university to study physics and chemistry, but as I became more interested in practical science rather than the movements of molecules and quantums, I shifted my major to psychology from the 3rd year.

My field, until the shift, had been on scientific studies based on experiments and statistics, so I have always seen things through a scientific lense in life. By changing my career, I’m now confident with both scientific and artistic ways of thinking.

What jobs did you experience after you graduated?After graduation, I firstly joined a marketing company in Japan to output what I had been studying – buying behavior and behavior on decision-making. Taking a postgraduate course was another possible choice, but my final decision was to find a work as I wanted to see different kinds of data and real cases in the society.

My next move was to establish a subsidiary of the a web marketing company. As a Representative Director on my own, I had a chance to work with some companies in the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and consult their marketing. After experiencing some other jobs such as career counsellor and seminar lecturer, I became aware of the diverse working styles, which is why I’m working as a freelance now.

How did you hear about Global Math Challenge?
My colleague told me about it. I took part in the 1st GMC and got 980 for my score, which is almost a full score, but not a perfect score, so I was motivated to take the challenge again for the 2nd edition.

I tried to visualize and categorize the question into two groups – one requires inspiration and creative thinking, and the other requires more logical thinking – and think in the appropriate way

How did you finish so fast without making any mistakes?
I wasn’t aware of the answering speed evaluation in the 1st challenge, so to speed up on my second try, I took part in a quiet room so that nothing could distract me. As soon as I saw a question, I tried to visualize and categorize the question into two groups – one requires inspiration and creative thinking, and the other requires more logical thinking – and think in the appropriate way.

What was your impression on the GMC?
Although I was already familiar with GMC from the 1st edition, the last question in the OPEN course was brain teasing.
GMC doesn’t ask us to memorize any formulas or require any specific skills. The questions were friendly to all the different levels. As its name suggests, I feel that GMC is a global contest for everyone in the world.

Have you always been good at math?
I’ve been good at math since I was little. I didn’t like social studies because I think it’s irrational and I needed to memorize everything. Likewise in math, I never memorized what I learned but always thought “why” something could be a formula.
The other reason for being good at math could have been my parents. When I was in 6th grade, they bought me an interesting story-based math book and that was when I started to like math more.

Did you play games when you were little?
I played puzzle games but not RPGs. I also played with blocks and Rubik’s cubes.

Do you think math can be useful in business?
Some of the processes in math can be practical for business – seeing things multilaterally, decomposing and reconstructing a question etc.
Also, through the trial and error to find a solution to a problem, we also learn different ways to deal with various projects in business.

Thank you for talking to us. Do you have any messages for other Global Math Challengers?
I’m looking forward to the next Global Math Challenge!