By Kischel Nair, Actuarial Analyst at FNB South Africa.
What are these life skills that are required?
I will try and explore the most significant throughout the series of articles because I don’t believe an exhaustive list can be created. But for now, I will start with my opinion.
I believe the main qualities of an actuary are resilience and self-belief. The actuary is barraged with a vast amount of difficult challenges in order to qualify. It is natural for almost all who choose the actuarial profession to face a number of hurdles in their journeys. Just as Bruce Wayne fell into a well and was confronted with bats as a child, the actuary will fall and stumble at some point. But it is those who pick themselves up, face their fears and rise that end up successful just like Bruce Wayne transformed himself into batman.
What does an actuary go through before becoming batman?
While the actuary develops a very strong technical skill set involving a lot of mathematics, statistics, finance and economics in their early years of training, it is the communication and real world business problem solving courses in the later years that makes the actuary the perfect superhero. Only after all the rigorous exams have been passed, courses attended to and work experience accumulated, may one have the honour of being able to say that they are a fellow of the particular actuarial board they have been registered with and hence are an actuary.
What are the benefits of doing the actuarial course?
Let’s face it, not everyone can be batman (depressing, isn’t it?) but the incredible thing about the actuarial path is that it also allows those who do not finish a very bright future indeed. The course is designed to impart so many skills that many that don’t finish the whole course up to fellowship (but have made a valiant attempt) end up being able to become a completely different kind of super hero. The world needs the justice league or the avengers and not only batman or Tony Stark. The doors that the actuarial path opens is phenomenal and of course the financial benefits of doing the course is well worth it. Take it from the guy who has only been in the working world for 6 months. I have been able to design my own investment portfolio and buy a PlayStation 4 with multiple games immediately!
With the world in dire need of problem solvers, who are resolute in nature and who have the technical skills to be fully competent, the job market is a great place for the actuary especially since it is internationally recognised and there is a great demand for actuarial skills. Unless you want to do an excel spreadsheet on Venus, actuarial science allows one to practice anywhere (on earth) with minimal adjustments. That is of course until we form an inter-galactic faculty of actuaries.