Under the Spotlight: Victoria Gao

In this issue, Victoria Gao goes Under the Spotlight. She is Assistant Product Analytics Manager at Commonwealth Bank, new member of the Actuaries Digital Editorial Committee and member of the Young Actuaries Conference Organising Committee. Victoria is a passionate actuary, not only about her career but also about art, movies and literature.

My interesting/quirky hobbies…I love doing anything I have never done before. From travelling to trying new activities to meeting new people. Most recently, I signed up to an 8 week belly dancing course.

Photo from one of my hiking trips


The last book I read (and when)…I am reading a book called “A Little History of Science” by William Bynum. It’s a super readable book and touches on the development of science from ancient Greek philosophers through Einstein and Watson and Crick to the computer-assisted scientists of today.

My favourite artist/album/film…I loved the recent movie La la land. Really made me think about the importance of pursing your dreams and living life the way you want to.

I’m most passionate about…entrepreneurship and challenging the norm. As a result, I’m pretty involved in the start-up arena.

Not many people know this but I…draw to de-stress. I also have a blog called thevictoriagao.com where I write about everything I’m passionate about.

If I hadn’t become an actuary, I would be…an entrepreneur, an artist, a fashion designer, writer …

Why and how I became an actuary…I wanted to do something business related but still wanted something highly technical. The combination of Finance and Actuarial was the obvious choice.   

My work history…I worked at Macquarie Bank throughout university, and then went into Insurance at CBA. There, I’ve worked in Life Insurance, Superannuation & Investments as well as Strategy. Now, I’m working in Institutional banking at CBA.

Where I studied to become an actuary and qualifications obtained…I graduated from UNSW two years ago with an Actuarial and Finance degree. I’m currently sitting my investments Part III exam. Provided I pass that, I have one more exam left before becoming a Fellow…fingers crossed!

What I find most interesting about my current role…The fact that I can innovate and improve processes where I see fit. My team previously had no analytics and most tasks were manual. My role was created to bring insights to the team and streamline the existing processes. As such, I have a lot of creative freedom to add value.

Who has been the biggest influence on my career (and why)…I have been extraordinarily fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people. All my managers have influenced me greatly. My mentors have also provided me with some extremely valuable advice. I feel that I can learn something from everyone and that has been a blessing.

When I retire, my legacy will be…hopefully memorable. 

At least once in their life, every actuary should…pursue something they are really passionate about. For me, I am passionate about start-ups and do that outside of my day-job.

If I won the lottery, I would…probably use it to travel, buy half a house in Sydney or to fund one of my many start-up ideas.  

Photo from my recent travels to Japan


Contact Victoria: thevictoriagao@gmail.com

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