UCSI University Producing Top Actuarial Science Students in Malaysia
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- 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.
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UCSI University’s Actuarial Science Students Perform Well in the Actuarial Professional Exams
UCSI University students, 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) Actuarial Science 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.
Students who are not sure whether the Actuarial Science programme suits you, or want to find out more about the course and its pathway, may WhatsApp 01111408838 for free consultation.
Top UCSI Student is the First Student in Malaysia to Obtain the Associate of Canadian Institute of Actuaries (ACIA)
UCSI’s Actuarial Science third year student James Koo Jian Wei has beaten the odds and is the first student in Malaysia to obtain the Associate of Canadian Institute of Actuaries (ACIA).
“I am happy to get this Associateship because it is rare for an undergraduate to achieve this recognition,” said James.
“The candidate would have to go through five professional examinations and the Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice which consists of online modules and assessments which tests the candidate on technical knowledge and application of insurance pricing, reserving and actuarial control cycle,” he added.
James is also the first UCSI student to have passed the SoA Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) before the completion of his study.
James emphasised that getting the ACIA certainly gives him an edge in the competitive job market. According to him, typical actuarial fresh graduates passed 3 to 4 (SOA) examinations when they are entering the job market.
“Being an Associate provides me the chance to stand out from the crowd. I have been called for interviews for permanent jobs by several actuarial consulting companies even before completing my undergraduate studies. Also, it is important to get the Associateship designation as one needs to be an Associate before reaching the Fellowship designation,” he said.
He went on to describe that when the Associate status is achieved, the candidate becomes a member of the CIA, is able to attend meetings, join in discussions, participate in committees and is subject to the code of conduct for the Actuarial Profession. Associates will also gain voting rights five years after they obtain Associate status in the Institute.
“The next step for me after the ACIA would be to brush up my programming language skills. It’s important for actuarial students to sharpen programming skills as a lot of insurance companies are automating their daily tasks,” he shared.
“After that, I will prepare for my Fellowship exams. In the actuarial profession, the ultimate goal would be to receive the Fellowship designation. I am planning to specialise in general insurance as the demand for actuaries in this sector is growing,” he added.
As for the part UCSI has played in his success, particularly in getting the CIA, James had this to say:
“The actuarial programme structure in UCSI includes the majority of topics tested in the actuarial exams. Combined with the knowledge learned in my class and extra practices on exam material, I have passed the exams. UCSI lecturers have a strong industrial background too, which has helped me to understand the technical part of an actuary’s daily job.”
“These lecturers played an important role in helping me to pass my FAP in that I was equipped with some technical knowledge of insurance pricing and reserving before attempting the FAP. UCSI also provided the Peer-Assisted-Learning session which provided me an opportunity to learn from seniors.”
As for his future, James has already set specific goals which he would like to achieve.
“My ambition is to become a consulting actuary that serves in a general insurance company. I have chosen to specialise in general insurance due to the higher involvement of statistical concepts and modeling. Also, I love the dynamic nature of a consulting actuary which involves dealing with clients on different projects and doing lots of traveling!” he said.
“After several years of being a consulting actuary, I will get an MBA. This is because I wish to gain more business knowledge and prepare a shift in career to management consulting. I believe I can apply the actuarial skill sets acquired into wider career prospects,” he concluded.
James Koo has also been the co-founder and vice president of the Malaysian Actuarial Student Association since October 2018. As such, with his high aspirations and business acumen, he is likely to succeed in anything he puts his mind to despite the challenges.