Understanding Society

Tilburg University has been a reliable provider of high-quality education and research for more than eighty years. We specialize in the social sciences and humanities and we seek to make a structural contribution to society.

Viren Sangwan

image viren sangwan

Education Offers Choices

In the coming decades India is expected to overtake neighbour China in terms of population numbers. India is growing to around 1.3 billion people by 2050 and such large numbers of people are exerting serious pressure on Indian education. This is also the experience of scholarship student Viren Sangwan, one of the few who was able to seize his opportunity to take a university engineering degree in India and work towards a better future. A program offers choices. Viren started his master's degree in Quantitative Finance and Actuarial Science in September 2017. The Alumni scholarship he received brings completely new opportunities and possibilities for the Indian student.

Escape from the Indian Countryside

India is home to a huge number of people, which makes the courses offered by universities very popular. Demand exceeds supply to a large extent and only a few of the chosen people obtain one of the scarce and highly sought-after study places. The competition is high, because everyone wants to make an effort at the university. For many Indians, there is often only one alternative: working in the countryside, at the mercy of the unpredictable whims of Indian monsoons, which are followed by long periods of drought. The annual harvest is far from reliable and the uncertainty makes life difficult for farmers and their families. Viren's family also grows crops, which does not always go without a struggle. In search of a better future, he enrolled in the national exams in which some one million aspiring students take part every year. Only a few hundred are admitted to university and have the opportunity to take their future into their own hands. 


Viren has a natural aptitude for mathematics. After much study, he turned out to be successful at the national exam and to his delight was admitted to the university in Bangalore. He leaves - with healthy excitement - his home, friends and family to follow a bachelor of industrial engineering. In doing so, he exchanged the countryside for the big city, which is a 40 hour train ride to the south. He is doing well at the university. His interest in mathematics is growing and after obtaining his bachelor and master he decides to opt for a master's program in Quantitative Finance and Actuarial Science at Tilburg University. To a certain extent, this course involves a combination of mathematics and mechanics, says Viren. "I want to be able to solve difficult mathematical problems. Using mathematical models and solid knowledge, I work on issues such as machine learning, data analysis and risk profiling."

Detecting fraud and manipulation

Viren is currently focusing on understanding equity markets and predicting risk. "I hope I can use mathematical models to detect fraud and manipulation, for example. I have already worked for a stockbroker. Sometimes I've seen strange things pass by, like prices rising or falling at times when it shouldn't normally happen. At the end of the quarters, strange things regularly happen that are not quite right." Viren says he would like to do something about this by developing methodologies and models that can offer clarity and insight into the stock market and the associated risks. In this way, trust and certainty can be gained.

My Dream: Quality Education at Home

"My big dream is to eventually start my own company. Of course, I want to get to know the practice, gain experience and be able to make a difference, but my goal in about fifteen years' time is to be able to offer education to other Indians. I will therefore return to my home country at some point. I am very happy to be able to study at Tilburg University. The quality of the training is very good. It is precisely for this reason that I have left my beautiful homeland. Still, it would be nice to see that more Indians can acquire such training and knowledge in India itself! In this sense, it is also my duty to follow the best training so as to be able to go back to India with that knowledge and ultimately open my own education center."