Actually an Actuary

Published on August 18th, 2011
Actually an Actuary

What made you decide to become an actuary?
I didn’t really know that much about actuarial science when I decided to apply and I had never met an actuary. I was good at Maths and it seemed the best choice as I wasn’t keen on accounting and wouldn’t manage being a doctor with blood and needles. A friend also applied and we were going to study together, but she changed to accounting at the last minute. I am very happy with my choice now that I look back.

How did you get to where you are now?
I completed Matric in 2003 and went to study Actuarial Science at Wits. I completed my honours in 2007. Since then, I’ve been working at Alexander Forbes. I started out in employee benefits for three years. During these three years, I completed my actuarial board exams and the required work experience to qualify as an actuary at the end of 2010. At the start of 2011, I moved from employee benefits to the insurance consulting team within Alexander Forbes.

What school did you go to and what were your subjects?
I went to St Mary’s School in Waverley, and my subjects were English, Afrikaans, Maths, Science, Computer Science, Geography and Add Maths.

What subjects are required for Actuarial Science?
At the time I applied, an A or B for Maths was needed. Doing well in Science was also a plus. However, I wouldn’t recommend the course to someone unless they achieve an A in Maths and have a passion for the subject.

Did you enjoy Maths and Science at school?
Yes, they were my strongest subjects. We also had fantastic teachers for these subjects and they inspired us to achieve more in these fields.

What’s your motto in life/favourite saying?
You can do anything you set your mind to.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job in insurance consulting would be the variety of my work. I work on both very technical models and then also more client facing work where I do presentations and also on occasion take part in golf days and client lunches. It is also great to work at a company where I am able to be involved in interesting projects and be able to move between teams to gain experience in different actuarial fields. The worst would be having to meet very tight deadlines.

If your house was on fire, what’s the one thing you’d save?
My jewellery and my Garmin sports watch. All my photos are already backed up and not kept at my house just in case.

Any advice for learners who are considering actuarial science?
Be ready to work very hard as it’s not an easy course, however it’s definitely worth it in the end. You can still have fun while at university but ensure that you put in the study hours. Always try your best and even if you hit a hurdle and fail a board exam don’t lose motivation, your time to pass will come. (There are currently 15 actuarial exams, some which you can complete while at university and some which you complete when you start working.)

Tell us a joke…
Four fonts walk into a bar the barman says “Oi, get out! We don’t want your type in here.”