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Career focus: Actuarial science

If you are looking for a highly rewarding and challenging career, then a great option to check out is actuarial science (insurance).

education Updated: Apr 04, 2006 11:05 IST

If you are someone looking for a highly rewarding and challenging career, then a great option to check out is actuarial science (insurance). Of the innumerable career options available today, a career in actuarial science stands out in many aspects.

This profession offers you rewards in terms of intellectual challenge, status, job satisfaction and of course, earnings.
A career in actuarial science is better described as a “business” career with a mathematical basis.

Using probability theory and mathematical, statistical and financial techniques, the actuary analyses the financial consequences of risk to enable businesses to make better-informed decisions.

The actuary assesses the financial impact of future events by analysing the past, modelling the future and quantifying the likely range of financial outcomes from future events.

His skills in finance and risk management are used primarily in the areas of insurance (particularly life insurance), pensions and investment. Other applications are in demography and census studies, forecasting, banking and finance. Thus, actuaries may work for insurance companies, consultation firms, government departments, corporations, hospitals, banks and investment firms that need to manage financial risk. An actuaries’ work is intellectually challenging and the icing on the cake is the hefty pay package. They are key players in management teams of their companies.

To enter this profession, one must have a liking for numbers. Equally important is a firm commitment towards sustained study and hard work during and after graduation, for a period of five to seven years on average. A sound understanding of the business environment, economics, finance and accounts is also essential.

Good communication skills and good computer skills are other requirements. Finally, together with professional rigour, a sound commercial approach to decision-making is also important.

The actuarial course is tough and dropout rates are high. Any person contemplating  this course is therefore strongly advised to fully discuss the implications of his decision with an actuary before joining.
The cost of the study is low and students have the option of earning while still studying.

The stipend for an actuarial trainee in India is Rs 25,000 per month.
It is no secret that actuaries are highly paid. A beginner can expect a salary of around 30 lakh per year in the UK and the USA, and Rs 8 lakh per year in India.

Making it pay
You can avail of a course in acturial science at:
• Actuarial Society of India, Mumbai
• Institute of Actuaries, Oxford (UK)
• Faculty of Actuaries, UK