Actuarial science is a discipline that involves evaluating risks and opportunities. Financial and statistical theories are applied to solve business problems by analysing future financial events. This highly specialised career path provides you with rewarding opportunities to work anywhere in the world.
An actuary works within a multi-disciplinary background as he/she uses skills in mathematics, statistics, finance, economics and demography to solve a wide range of business problems. In other words, as an actuary, you can expect to focus on risk management. An actuary adds value by enabling organisations to take informed decisions considering the likely range of financial outcomes from various future events.
Applications of this discipline can be found in varied fields such as insurance (general, life, health) funds management, banking and consulting.
Australian universities and institutes offer some of the best programmes in actuarial sciences in the world. They are also well-known for their research initiatives in this field. For example, the Centre for Financial Risk at Macquarie University provides opportunities for researchers to study uncertainty in capital markets.
The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Actuarial Studies is accredited to the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. Its senior members are internationally reputed for their research and industry expertise. The Institute of Actuaries of Australia provides professional guidelines and standards for practice, research and education in this field. It also offers professional qualifications that prepare you to work in the industry.
Two of the popular study options among international students are the Master of Actuarial Science and the PG Diploma in Actuarial Science.
The Master’s degree is a two years full time programme for those who have completed an undergraduate degree or equivalent in any mathematically-based subject such as commerce, mathematics, or engineering. The PG diploma in Actuarial Science is usually a one year programme and is meant for students from non-actuarial backgrounds who have mathematical or statistical specialisations. Apart from these two study options, you can also opt for a master of commerce degree which will provide you with a foundation in actuarial science.
To be a successful actuary, you need good problem solving skills, reasoning, mathematical skills, and an ability to communicate complex issues in simple terms.
Actuaries usually occupy senior positions in organisations, and need to possess excellent communication skills to be able to communicate effectively at all levels.
Some of the roles you will find yourself playing upon graduation are that of a Business Systems Analyst, Actuary, economist or financial dealer in organisations such as accounting firms, insurance companies, management consulting firms, stockbrokers, fund management companies, etc.