More than eighty aspiring young actuaries and eighteen industry leaders gathered at the Actuaries Institute on the 13 October for the 2017 ASOC Actuarial Pathways Networking Event.
A collaboration between the Institute and the Actuarial Society of UNSW, the event was designed for first and second year actuarial students seeking to gain a better understanding of various facets of the actuarial profession, ranging from exemptions to different routes their career can take.
Session 1: What is an actuary?
The evening kicked off with a presentation from Eleanor Mazando, Education Manager of the Actuaries Institute, who broke down the qualification process for budding actuaries in the audience. After explaining the steps to become an Associate and a Fellow, Eleanor also revealed how to make the most of resources provided by the Institute by becoming a student subscriber. Students were surprised by the Part III pass rates, but as the saying goes ‘You’re not an actuary if you don’t fail!’ The high benchmark serves as a testament to the capabilities of actuaries today and why they can be relied upon to solve the most intricate problems.
Session 2: Diversity of Pathways
As our profession expands and adapts to the needs of the dynamic business landscape, graduates are branching out into different fields not traditionally associated with actuarial studies. According to a recent survey conducted by the Actuarial Society of UNSW, it was found whilst students continue to be interested in traditional fields such as Life Insurance, there is growing fascination in Non-Traditional areas like Banking and Analytics.
Amidst the increasing diversity in our profession, the age-old question resounds: what does an actuary do? The Industry Overviews segment provided an answer through the unique work of actuaries in nine different fields. Speakers from Aon Belfield, Taylor Fry, EY, Willis Towers Watson, Pacific Life Re and Mercer provided insights and advice for the students from their personal experiences. One memorable story told by Shen Liu, Analyst at Taylor Fry, depicted the amazing role Analytics and Artificial Intelligence played in taking a mere three seconds to process a man’s claim for a lost leather jacket.
Other key insights from this session include:
- Life insurance work creates a feeling of purpose because you get to establish a more intimate and personal sense of connection with the client. If you enjoy making an impact and helping others, this is the field for you!
- You will enjoy General insurance for its wide spectrum of work including M&A, pricing, liability valuations and stress testing.
- Working in Health is meaningful as actuaries get the chance to apply quantitative skills to improve health policy, such as through determining the allocation of budgets to NSW LHDs, analysing provider behaviour or creating models of care and infrastructure.
- The importance of Reinsurance lies in that it is ‘insurance for insurers’. Availability of and access to global market data enables reliable models to be made.
- If you are a fan of Finance courses, then Banking may be the right sector for you! You can get involved with derivative valuation, capital management and anything to do stochastic modeling.
- Investment Consulting involves creating investment portfolios for a diverse variety of clients. You will be building on fundamental concepts you’ve learnt at uni, such as diversification.
- You don’t need superb coding knowledge to join the Analytics field, but the ability to think logically is essential. For those looking for a head start, a background in Python, R or Excel will bring opportunities.
- Those who excel in Management Consulting are known for their analytical thinking ability and value for client satisfaction. Work in this field is project-based and there are many opportunities to travel!
- Willis Towers Watson alone advices 134 defined benefit funds in Australia, revealing the abundance of job prospects in the Superannuation As the younger generation, we should strive for a greater understanding of the management of super and keep up to date with revisions of legislations and tax concessions.
Session 3: Network, network and network!
No university careers event is complete without some networking! The Rotational Networking Session gave students the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity and ask questions to eighteen representatives from companies such as Deloitte, Quantium, CBA, AMP, RGA, Sophie Dyson, and Oliver Wyman.
“Coming to this event has really opened my mind to the different career pathways available to an actuarial student. I especially enjoyed talking to the reps and finding out about the journeys that took them to where they are today. It makes me excited to keep networking and exploring my options!” Tamim Bhuiyan, first year actuarial student.
As the official sessions wrapped up and food is served for casual networking, it became apparent that no single definition can fully encompass what it means to be an actuary. Instead, the actuarial degree is a key that opens the door to many different career options. As students, we should make the most of the time we have at university to study what we love and develop a flexible skillset. Finally, it is important to stay on top of industry changes through reading the news and networking widely. Pursue what interests you, and you will be satisfied, and perhaps surprised, by where you end up.
Thank you to our speakers, company representatives, Actuarial Institute, and the ASOC Careers Team for making this event a great success!
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