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The ac­tu­ar­ial edge

- Education · UCSI University · American International Assurance · Hong Kong · organization · United Kingdom · United States of America · Oxford · Oxford University · Imperial College London · London · London School of Economics · Kuala Lumpur · Society of Actuaries · Institute and Faculty of Actuaries · Kutaisi · Malaysia

AC­TU­ARY has ranked con­sis­tently over the decades as one of best pro­fes­sions.

With Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, Engi­neer­ing and Math (STEM) ca­reers on the rise, grad­u­ates can ex­pect to con­tinue en­joy­ing great growth po­ten­tial and an en­vi­able work-life bal­ance, topped off by high wages and low un­em­ploy­ment rates.

As the only Malaysian pri­vate univer­sity to be recog­nised by the So­ci­ety of Ac­tu­ar­ies (SoA) and the In­sti­tute and Faculty of Ac­tu­ar­ies (IFoA), UCSI Univer­sity has of­fered hun­dreds of its stu­dents a de­fin­i­tive path­way into the ac­tu­ar­ial field with its BSc (Hons) Ac­tu­ar­ial Sci­ence and BSc (Hons) Ac­tu­ar­ial Sci­ence and Fi­nance pro­grammes.

One of them is Chan Min Zhuo. Grad­u­ated in 2013 with first class hon­ours, Chan stood out dur­ing his un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies for hav­ing passed four of the five SoA pre­lim­i­nary pa­pers.

Since then, he has charted a suc­cess­ful ca­reer for him­self at global in­surance com­pa­nies like AIA, AIA Group in Hong Kong and Pru­den­tial As­sur­ance. To­day, he serves as a se­nior ac­tu­ar­ial ex­ec­u­tive at a fi­nan­cial ser­vice group that op­er­ates in more than 15 coun­tries world­wide.

Chan speaks of how UCSI pre­pared him for his ca­reer.

“My lec­tur­ers gave me a solid foun­da­tion es­pe­cially in core sub­jects like Life Con­tin­gen­cies and Fi­nan­cial Math­e­mat­ics, which have been very use­ful in my work,” he said.

“I had many op­por­tu­ni­ties to at­tend prac­tice cour­ses that were taught by ex­pe­ri­enced ac­tu­ar­ies. That helped me to fully grasp the role of an ac­tu­ary and en­hance my tech­ni­cal skills in fi­nan­cial mod­el­ling, Ex­cel and VBA.”

Chan’s course­mate Low Jia Luan echoes his sen­ti­ment.

“My lec­tur­ers had many years of in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence and their prac­ti­cal knowl­edge had been very help­ful. They were also sup­port­ive and will­ing to go the ex­tra mile to guide me when I needed it,” he said.

Low cur­rently works as an ac­tu­ar­ial ex­ec­u­tive at one of Malaysia’s largest lo­cal life in­surance com­pa­nies.

His ad­vice was to com­plete the pre­lim­i­nary pa­pers dur­ing the un­der­grad­u­ate years, which are mostly cov­ered in UCSI’s ac­tu­ar­ial sci­ence cour­ses.

“Em­ploy­ers tend to pre­fer can­di­dates with the added ad­van­tage of hav­ing passed such pa­pers as it in­di­cates that you are on your way to be­com­ing a qual­i­fied ac­tu­ary,” he said.

Both Chan and Low hope to be­come qual­i­fied ac­tu­ar­ies in the next few years.

The en­dorse­ment by SoA and IFoA is a de­lib­er­ate move by UCSI’s Faculty of Busi­ness and In­for­ma­tion Sci­ence as a mea­sure of stan­dard and qual­ity as­sur­ance.

“Our pro­grammes un­dergo rig­or­ous re­view and re­vamp reg­u­larly to en­sure that they evolve with the needs of the in­dus­try,” said Halim Shukri Ka­marud­din, who heads the faculty’s depart­ment of ac­tu­ar­ial sci­ence and ap­plied sta­tis­tics.

SoA and IFoA are lead­ing global pro­fes­sional or­gan­i­sa­tions for ac­tu­ar­ies based in the UK and the US, re­spec­tively. They pro­vide con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion for stu­dents and prac­ti­tion­ers, main­tain the stan­dards of the pro­fes­sion and con­duct re­search on ac­tu­ar­ial trends and pub­lic pol­icy is­sues.

UCSI pro­vides the most com­pre­hen­sive course cov­er­age in Malaysia to pre­pare stu­dents to sit for five SoA pa­pers and three Val­i­da­tions by Ed­u­ca­tional Ex­pe­ri­ence cred­its that stu­dents can qual­ify for through course­work at UCSI.

All these lay the nec­es­sary ground­work needed to ob­tain a SoA mem­ber­ship.

UCSI is also the first univer­sity in Malaysia that the SoA has ap­proved to be listed as a UCAP (Uni­ver­si­ties and Col­leges with Ac­tu­ar­ial Pro­grammes).

Last year, UCSI’s pro­grammes re­ceived recog­ni­tion by IFoA, joining the ranks of an elite group of uni­ver­si­ties such as Ox­ford, Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, LSE and Warwick.

This led to the ex­emp­tion for the CT1 mo­d­ule to­wards the Fellowship and Cer­ti­fied Ac­tu­ar­ial An­a­lyst qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

“For fresh grad­u­ates, this is def­i­nitely a ca­reer boost. Some in­surance com­pa­nies are known to set the com­ple­tion of two ex­ams as a min­i­mum re­quire­ment to ap­ply into the ac­tu­ar­ial or even the in­vest­ment field,” said Halim.

How­ever, these ex­emp­tions are just one as­pect of the holis­tic learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at UCSI.

“While our pro­grammes are renowned for their global pro­fes­sional com­pe­ten­cies, we don’t just pre­pare stu­dents for such ex­ams. We em­pha­sise skills de­vel­op­ment and in­no­va­tive think­ing,” he said.

With many years of ex­pe­ri­ence in both the ac­tu­ar­ial in­dus­try and as ed­u­ca­tors, its aca­demics are well po­si­tioned not only to pre­pare stu­dents for the work­ing world but also to in­spire new ways of think­ing.

Reg­u­lar pro­fes­sional talks, work­shops and clin­ics are reg­u­larly ar­ranged to en­sure that the stu­dents are ready for the in­dus­try.

A two-month in­tern­ship at the end of each aca­demic year also en­sures that stu­dents gain prac­ti­cal ex­po­sure at some of the best com­pa­nies. All these en­sure that UCSI’s ac­tu­ar­ial sci­ence grad­u­ates pos­sess a lead­ing edge for en­hanced em­ploy­a­bil­ity, like Chan and Low.

UCSI KL cam­pus is open daily for ex­tended coun­selling ses­sions, in­clu­sive of week­ends and pub­lic hol­i­days.

 ??  ?? Chan Min Zhuo, who passed four of the five SoA pre­lim­i­nary ex­ams dur­ing his un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies at UCSI Univer­sity, said that he en­joyed the chal­lenges.
Chan Min Zhuo, who passed four of the five SoA pre­lim­i­nary ex­ams dur­ing his un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies at UCSI Univer­sity, said that he en­joyed the chal­lenges.

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