- What is an actuary?
- How do I get started?
- Actuarial and Financial Risk Studies Minor
- Actuarial Advisor: Dr. Sharon Navard. TCNJ Statistician Dr. Sharon Navard serves as the faculty advisor for all Actuarial and Financial Risk Studies Minors. Students interested in learning more about the minor should contact Dr. Navard directly.
- Actuarial Information ListServ. The department maintains a mailing list for students interested in receiving information about actuarial events on campus, recruiting events, and exam information. To sign up for this mailing list, please send a blank email with the subject line Subscribe to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is an Actuary?
An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs. Actuaries may work for insurance companies, consulting firms, government, employee benefits departments of large corporations, hospitals, banks and investment firms, or, more generally, in businesses that need to manage financial risk. A career as an Actuary is better described as a “business” career with a mathematical basis than as a “technical” mathematical career. For more information, go to beanactuary.org.
Here are a few articles about the actuarial profession:
- Forbes- The 12 Best Jobs For Women In 2014: Actuary #1
- CNN Money: 4 degrees with 0% unemployment
- Wall Street Journal: Actuary is #2 in Ranking of Best Occupations in the U.S.
- Actuarial Salaries
- DW Simpson: Actuarial Salaries
Here at TCNJ, there is an Actuarial and Financial Risk Studies Minor housed in the Mathematics & Statistics Department. The courses in the minor, particularly MAT 316, STA 410, and MAT 265, will teach you the foundational material to begin a career as an actuary.
You will notice that there are two groups. Scroll down and read the short description that pertains to your major. You will notice that “VEE” is referenced after some of the courses. VEE stands for Validation by Educational Experience. A description is included below, as is a link that shows you what TCNJ courses satisfy the VEE requirements in Economics, Corporate Finance, and Applied Statistical Methods. It is crucial to plan your schedule three or four semesters in advance so you will have the opportunity to take all of these courses here instead of while working a full-time job.
Actuaries take exams in order to obtain professional certifications. They are crucial for landing an internship. The two exams that aspiring actuaries usually focus on are Exam P/1 and Exam FM/2. The explanations of the contents of these exams below were provided by the Society of Actuaries website. MAT 316 and MAT 265 help cover material on Exam P/1 and Exam FM/2 respectively. However, they do not cover everything on those exams. It is necessary to use a study manual to help prepare. There are manuals you can borrow in the Math Office and Library. However, if you want your own personal manual, visit actuarialbookstore.com.
These exams are a huge commitment. They are three hours long and it is recommended that you study 300 hours for each exam. The links for actuarialbookstore.com and registering for exams are below.
Exam P/1– “The purpose of the syllabus for this examination is to develop knowledge of the fundamental probability tools for quantitatively assessing risk. The application of these tools to problems encountered in actuarial science is emphasized. A thorough command of the supporting calculus is assumed. Additionally, a very basic knowledge of insurance and risk management is assumed.” More information about Exam P/1, including the content, can be found at:
Exam FM/2– “The goal of the syllabus for this examination is to provide an understanding of the fundamental concepts of financial mathematics, and how those concepts are applied in calculating present and accumulated values for various streams of cash flows as a basis for future use in: reserving, valuation, pricing, asset/liability management, investment income, capital budgeting, and valuing contingent cash flows. The candidate will also be given an introduction to financial instruments, including derivatives, and the concept of no-arbitrage as it relates to financial mathematics. More information about Exam FM/2, including the content, can be found at:
For landing a full-time job, the most important factor is an actuarial or related internship. The best time to obtain an internship is the summer after your junior year. Companies start looking for candidates in October. Some of the companies where former TCNJ students have interned include:
- Towers Watson
- Aon Hewitt
- Buck Consultants
TCNJ has an Opportunities Fair in early October where some companies look specifically for actuarial interns. In addition, the Career Center in Roscoe West is a great resource for job hunting. They provide resume critiques, career counseling, interview tips, and other resources that make finding a job much easier.