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Published by Afterschool.my on Sep 17, 2015, 10:56 am
Actuarial science can be a form of science and art, as they refer to statistical data to build mathematical models and interpret results for solutions. While most actuaries work in insurance companies, more industries need their expertise to assess risks, mine data, and other non-traditional responsibilities.
What do you need to know before pursuing a course in Mathematics & Actuarial Science? To find out, we approached Assistant Professor Dr Soo Huei Ching at the Heriot-Watt University Malaysia School of Mathemical and Computer Sciences.
Actuaries must be very good at mathematics but they also need analytical, project management and problem solving skills. A good business sense and strong computer skills are also essential. In addition, solid communication skills, creativity and the ability to work in a team are required.
In terms of traditional actuarial employment, most actuarial graduates work in the insurance industry; there have always been a large demand for actuaries in pensions, life insurance and reinsurance. In addition, there are increasingly more job opportunities in general insurance, takaful, risk-management and investment.
The analytical skills acquired by an actuarial graduate are now highly sought after by many non-traditional employers in the financial services industry. Many graduates are employed in finance and investment e.g. investment banks, retail banks or rating agencies. They are also needed for regulatory and oversight positions as in Bank Negara and in accounting firms such as Ernst and Young, PwC. A number of firms outside of the financial services industry (for example, hospitals and oil companies) now have many job opportunities in risk-management and actuarial graduates are well-suited to fill these positions. Actuarial graduates can also find employment as educators, statisticians, or statistical/econometric researchers.
There is a wide scope of material that an actuarial student must cover, so he/she must be prepared to study a very diverse set of subjects. The path to qualify as a fully-qualified actuary (Fellow) can be a long and difficult one. As such, students have to be hard-working, determined and resilient. Graduates must also be prepared to study and work at the same time as they will likely take their final few exams while they are full-time employees.
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia offers actuarial science courses as well as degrees in renewable energy, engineering, business and quantity surveying. It is the second international campus of the UK-based Heriot-Watt University.
Read more: 7 questions to ask if you want to study Actuarial Science