Re-Defining Actuarial Science

UCSI University’s Actuarial Science students have continued to shine over the years with seven of them standing out for passing the Society of Actuaries (SoA) papers in record time. 

The University is also the first in Malaysia to be approved by the SoA to be listed as a UCAP (Universities and Colleges with Actuarial Programmes).

The (SoA) papers are known for their difficulty with a strict grading curve where one student’s marks depend on the overall performance of students. Less than 50% of students sitting for the exam actually pass.

Ng Xin Yee and Tan Jun Hao both passed the five SoA papers before completion of their second year while James Koo Jian Wei, Calvin Chong Ting Yee, Cheah Tze Xuan, Teoh Wei Jing and Chong Kim Sin passed all of the five SoA papers within their third year of study. 

James Koo is also the first UCSI student to have passed the SoA Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice before the completion of his study. Additionally, he is the first student in Malaysia according to the CIA membership directory to obtain his Associateship in Canadian Institute of Actuaries

The Society of Actuaries is a global professional organisation for actuaries. It aims to “advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial, business and societal challenges.”

AT UCSI, the three year BSc (Hons) programme provides a solid grounding in mathematics, accounting, finance and statistics to integrate theories with actual experience. It also builds a foundation for students to pursue professional careers in the financial risk management industry.

Courses include Statistics and Its Application, Financial Management, Life Contingencies, Probability Theory, Managerial Accounting and others.

“Many people have told me that the SoA papers are very hard to pass. They were indeed challenging but I put a lot of effort into learning concepts and also practised a lot. With determination and discipline, one can do it,” said Teoh Wei Jing.

For Chong Kim Sin, it was the level of difficulty of the programme that attracted him to pursue it in the first place.

“I have always been a person that likes challenges especially when it comes to numbers. UCSI lecturers have motivated me along the way by helping me set goals as well as assisting me in problems that I might face in the process,” he said.

All of the students agreed that adequate preparation for the exams was crucial in passing the papers.

 “As long as you do sample exercises and practice questions, you will be prepared,” said Tan Jun Hao, who is interested in life insurance, specifically in the area of product pricing.

“Our mentors and lecturers also helped and guided us especially in determining the probability of which topics we would be tested on,” added James Koo.

“Overall, UCSI has given us the basic knowledge in passing the exams,” said Xin Yee whose goal is to work for a consultancy firm also in the field of life insurance upon graduation.

Calvin Chong who has interned with AIA for four months said that in the end, not only do experience and passing the papers count but also it is about attitude.

“There needs to be a balance of performance and attitudes in the real world. You cannot pick what to do but rather you must learn everything when starting out,” said Calvin.

For Cheah Tzew Xuan, many doors were opened for him upon graduating. After completing his studies, he worked with Great Eastern Takaful Berhad under Strategic Management. Although it was a non- actuarial position, it gave him a fresh perspective into the insurance industry.

“Currently I am working with Zurich Insurance Malaysia Berhad as an actuarial modeller. I truly appreciate these opportunities that I have been given knowing that having increased actuarial knowledge contributes to getting these offers,” he said.

The future looks bright and promising for these seven as they plan and prepare for what is yet to come. Undoubtedly, their achievements so far have made them stand out from many others in the field. It is this hard work and high aspirations that will carry them on to the next step in their careers.

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