A student who wants to predict the future of the country's pension funds overcame his first hurdle today when he achieved four A*s at A-level.
Ian Wilson from Ballymena, Co Antrim, was celebrating with friends at Ballymena Academy grammar after checking his results online.
"I was ecstatic when I found out," he said.
Ian studied maths, chemistry, physics and biology and is going to Queen's University Belfast to study actuarial science, the business of assessing risk in the insurance and finance industries including pension funds.
Although that has been a fraught art lately, with the eurozone crisis and various shocks to the economy, the 18-year-old said he was just glad to make it through his A-levels.
"It means everything to me, I am just so happy with it, I did not expect it really," he added.
Northern Ireland students were checking their grades from early this morning - one as far afield as Paraguay - the awarding body said.
Another student at Ballymena Academy, Helen McKelvey, achieved A* in chemistry, physics and French and an A in history. She is going to Queen's to study French and history and hopes to become a secondary school teacher. She said today was a nice surprise.
"I am just delighted, I worked really hard at school and I feel like I have done myself and my teachers justice," she added.
"The school has been so good in supporting my learning and I just really loved being at school and I felt that being here in the Academy helped me excel and I did the best that I could do."
Academy principal Ronnie Hassard said pupils as a whole had done well.
"Because of some concerns about the grades awarded being reduced there was some sense that they might be diminished but we have not seen much evidence of that," he said.
At Lagan College school in the hills overlooking south Belfast, where Catholics and Protestants are educated together in a break from the norm in Northern Ireland, more teenagers celebrated and embraced.
Felicity Goddard wants to teach at a secondary school and achieved two As and an A*.
"There is just so much relief after all the months," the beaming head girl said. "It has just completely thrown me, I cannot even describe it."
Another pupil, Ella McEwen, from Belfast, achieved an A and two Bs in English literature, politics and sociology. She is going to the University of Sussex to study international development.
She said: "I felt relieved when I got the results, I did not expect them.