General Insurance Article - Actuarial science applications soar on new post grad course

A new postgraduate course, backed by industry and aimed at training the next generation of actuaries, has expanded in the past year in response to high demand from prospective students without mathematical qualifications.

 Barnett Waddingham has lauded the University of Strathclyde’s initiative in launching its Master of Science (MSc) programme in actuarial science, particularly for its industry collaboration and modernised approach to the syllabus.

 Unlike many actuarial science degrees, students can join the course without having already undertaken a mathematical degree, holding instead more ‘diverse’ qualifications in a broad range of other increasingly relevant subjects, including engineering, chemistry, computer science and business studies.

 Focusing on data-led theory and analysis, it has been successfully accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and is now in its second year, having already grown from five students to twenty. Further growth is planned for the 2020 intake.

 The Industrial Advisory Board, including several advisers from Barnett Waddingham, has provided students with direct supervision and guidance. This has ensured course material aptly reflects the varying demands of a career in financial services and the wider skillsets now required by most modern actuaries, such as project management and consulting.

 Working closely with course instructors, board members have also delivered sessions on ‘Professionalism and Ethics’ and have acted as supervisors on dissertation projects.

 “One of the distinctive aspects of the Strathclyde degree is that it’s open to students who don’t already have degrees in mathematical or statistical subjects,” said Ji-Hyang Lee, associate and senior consulting actuary at Barnett Waddingham.

 “The actuarial profession is going through a period of enormous change and the need for diversity of thought within the profession has never been greater. It’s very important that future actuaries come from many different backgrounds so that businesses like ours can offer as broad a range of thinking as possible.”

 Further collaboration has since been undertaken between the University and members of the board, with industry consultants attending careers fairs and hosting additional half-day courses, to academic staff attending IFoA ‘knowledge sharing’ events.

 Course director Dr Alison Gray said, “We’ve benefitted hugely from the advice and involvement of Barnett Waddingham and others on our Industrial Advisory Board.

 “These strong industrial ties help to keep the course relevant and up to date, which has helped the intake quadruple within a year of us launching. We’re confident that growth will continue over the next few years and we look forward to ongoing co-operation with industry.”

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