Despite its reputation for being a boring, nerd-friendly, desk-bound job, a career in actuarial science can bring excitement to those who enjoy crunching numbers and applying statistical analysis to solve real business problems. From predicting the outcomes of business strategies to advising higher-ups in making sound financial decisions, it can be a fulfilling career.
Here are some job opportunities that you can find in Malaysia with a Degree in Actuarial Science.
#1. Insurance actuarial analyst
A large number of actuarial science graduates and actuaries work in the insurance industry.
As an insurance actuarial analyst, you will use your statistical skills and knowledge to design and price insurance policies, taking into account a complex set of factors. For example, an actuary specialising in medical insurance will consider a person’s background, current state of health, family history and occupation before deciding on a premium.
Hence, an insurance actuary must be well-versed with calculus, statistics and probability. You’ll also need to have exceptional analytical skills to see how specific factors may influence the outcome of events and advanced computer skills to develop spreadsheets, databases and statistical analysis tools.
#2. Actuarial consultant
Actuarial consultants evaluate, manage and advise companies on financial risks. They use financial and statistical theories to assess the likelihood of a particular event occurring and estimate the financial costs that the company will have to bear as a result of it.
Unlike actuaries who work for insurance companies, consulting actuaries work with a variety of clients where they provide consulting services to companies such as insurers, takaful companies, banks and government regulators. Their responsibilities might include evaluating pension plans, managing risks, pricing insurance products and assessing appraisal values in mergers and acquisitions.
As an actuarial consultant, you will be expected to have a diverse range of skills, including a sophisticated level of numeracy and IT skills, sound business judgment and the ability to summarise and communicate complex technical information to non-specialists.
#3. Business analyst
The skill set you gain from an Actuarial Science Degree (e.g. strong numeracy skills, ability to decode complex data, etc.) may also prepare you for a career as a business analyst, where your work will typically involve examining the operations, structure and policies of an organisation and recommending solutions to enable them to achieve their goals.
Your tasks may include scrutinising the company’s current organisation structure, analysing data to identify problems and limitations faced due to the company’s current systems and processes, predicting future challenges and potential risks of implementing any improvements as well as identifying and putting in place software to create solutions and improve business processes.
In this role, you will have to be able to analyse and evaluate complex data efficiently, display effective problem-solving skills and be IT savvy to succeed.
#4. Risk analyst
As a risk analyst, you will advise companies about the potential risks of new and existing projects, as well as predict factors that could negatively impact the business. These risks may include operational risks (or unexpected failures in your company’s day-to-day operations, such as a massive power cut), compliance risk (or whether or not a business adheres to rules and regulations) and financial risk (e.g. things that can affect revenue).
Risk analysts are expected to have exceptional organisation and decision-making skills, a keen business sense, the ability to evaluate complex numerical data and good communication skills. You will also enjoy employment opportunities in a variety of work environments such as commercial businesses, insurance companies and government sectors.
An underwriter determines whether or not to accept applications for insurance coverage by considering the risks involved in protecting the policyholder based on factors such as age, health and occupation.
Underwriters generally prepare insurance policies, collect and analyse statistical data on potential policyholders and carry out risk assessments. This involves examining if the insurance company can afford to undertake the risks of these policyholders (e.g. an elderly person, a person with a hazardous job, someone with an existing medical condition). Once this assessment is made, the underwriter will price the insurance premiums accordingly.
A skilled underwriter is someone who has great analytical skills and attention to detail, sound decision-making abilities as well as an aptitude for mathematics, statistics and IT systems.
#6. Investment analyst
Investment analysts use their ability to predict risk based on numerical data to help traders, fund managers and stockbrokers make sound investment decisions.
Actuaries who work in this field typically work in investment management firms, banks or for private investors where they provide insight into economic trends, interpret financial data to see how it will impact investments and make recommendations on profitable investment opportunities.
Actuarial science graduates are a hot commodity in this field for their mathematical and statistical prowess. You must also have strong analytical skills to decode complex numerical data, excellent communication skills to advise your clients on business decisions and sound knowledge of current events to understand how it can affect company investments.
#7. Postsecondary teachers
If you are passionate about sharing your knowledge and love for mathematics with others, perhaps teaching might be your vocation!
With an Actuarial Science Degree, you can teach subjects such as mathematics, additional mathematics and statistics at secondary schools or pre-university level in colleges or degree-level students if you have obtained your masters degree.
As an educator, you will be tasked with designing curriculum plans, initiating class discussions and preparing students for their exams and assessments. You will also need to simplify difficult mathematical concepts and create innovative ways to keep your students engaged in the classroom.
We hope we’ve effectively busted the myth that a Degree in Actuarial Science will lead you on a straight and narrow pathway towards a small selection of careers. Despite being a niche area of study, there’s no doubt that the skills you will learn during your degree will make you an invaluable asset to any company, regardless of the field.