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SMU’s School of Economics has partnered AIA Singapore to pilot a new Actuarial Science Work-Study Elective
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Undergraduate Education

Future-proofing a career in actuarial science

Published on 22 September 2022

Every day, people interact with insurance products and services. Whether it is car insurance, health insurance, or life insurance, most people have some type of policy to protect their valuable tangible or intangible assets. Behind the scenes, there is a team of professionals who work diligently to ensure that the products offered are affordable and meet the customer's needs. Part of the team is made up of actuaries.

A field of mathematics and statistics that deals with the analysis of risk, actuarial science taps upon the knowledge of probability and financial analysis to calculate the likelihood of an event occurring and to measure the potential economic impact of that event. Because actuaries are so skilled in assessing risk, they are in high demand not only in the insurance industry but also in other fields, such as finance, accounting, and health care.

Besides classroom training, on-the-job training is essential for actuarial science students because it exposes them to the real world of insurance and risk assessment. Working with experienced actuaries allows students to learn what they need to know to become successful professionals. In addition, hands-on training can help students build their networking connections within the industry. Ultimately, this type of training and connections can be invaluable in helping students secure their dream jobs after graduation.

To provide such a specialised trajectory of education, SMU and AIA Singapore have teamed up to launch the first work-study elective in the second major Actuarial Science (ACS) under the School of Economics.

“Our curriculum constantly seeks to blend theory with the real world,” said Dean of SMU School of Economics Professor Hoon Hian Teck.

“The opportunity to glean insights from AIA leaders and professionals during the programme will stand our graduates in good stead to thrive in their future careers in the actuarial field.”

The collaboration will allow ACS students to undergo a 20-week apprenticeship, which will provide exposure to relevant industry skills. Through working with professionals in the actuarial science department, students will learn best practices for functions such as product pricing, valuation of insurance liabilities, capital management and reinsurance. This exposure will equip them with the skills they need to thrive in a competitive industry.

“The SMU Actuarial Science programme has produced several successful actuaries since its launch, providing aspiring actuaries with a well-rounded solid foundation towards their future careers, be it in a conventional actuarial field or any fields that might require analytical skills or general business knowledge,” said Ms Lee Pei Shan, Chief Actuary of AIA Singapore.

“We are delighted to be partnering with SMU to support the development of actuaries in Singapore and nurture the next generation of professionals.”

Thriving amid change

The financial industry is in a state of flux. Traditional financial institutions are being disrupted with new technologies and business models emerging. This uncertainty can be unsettling for employees, but it also presents an opportunity.

Hence, this newly-launched initiative by SMU and AIA is aligned with the Institute of Banking and Finance’s commitment to future-proof the industry, through upskilling and reskilling financial professionals. Reskilling is no longer a nice-to-have; it's a necessity. By staying adaptable and investing in their development, workers can ensure that they remain relevant and valuable in the ever-evolving financial industry.

“In today's business environment we have had to evolve and innovate in response to technology advancement, and changing customer and distributor needs and expectations,” said Ms Aileen Tan, Chief Human Resource Officer of AIA Singapore.

“Our actuaries have been navigating these changes and helping the company to drive growth whilst managing cost pressures. The role of our actuarial leaders is key in helping us drive this transformational change and identifying opportunities amidst all these challenges. This partnership also supports the national priority of growing our local talent pool by developing good skills and capabilities within the financial industry.”