Playing the Analytical Field

By Seth Robinson

Master of Actuarial Science student Ria Bhargava came to Australia to get away from the convenience of life at home and challenge herself. What she found was life in a new city, and a curriculum that tested her, offering up opportunities she never expected.

Ria Bhargava completed her undergraduate studies in New Delhi, undertaking a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Statistics. When it came to pursuing post-graduate study, she knew it was time to look overseas. While her search initially focussed on schools in the United States – where she had family – an acceptance into the University of Melbourne changed her plans.

“It was an offer that was too good to refuse. I finished my undergraduate degree in May the previous year, so I had a few months to get things organised before. Initially, I lived in Carlton, in student housing. It was a great way to meet people and soak up the student atmosphere. Once I knew the city, I started to venture out and explore. I love travelling, usually on my own, so settling in wasn’t too hard.”

-Ria Bhargava .

One of the things that swayed Ria, ultimately bringing her to Melbourne, was the curriculum of the Actuarial Science program itself.

“I sat down and read about the course, and honestly, it sounded really good, good enough to make me come to Australia. The structure and the lecturers sold it to me. It sounded like it was going to be tough, but really rewarding at the same time.”

The course at MBS challenged Ria to reflect on her previous university experience and her learning style, changing the way she engaged with the material.

“Studying at Melbourne is much more practical than what I was used to at home. In my undergraduate degree, we would learn formulas, theories and proofs, but we never addressed what their applications were. It’s not practice-based. Here, it’s about getting in depth with the concepts. You have to understand them, not just learn them so you can be tested. This was challenging at first. It was a major hurdle for my first semester, but it’s something that I’ve gotten comfortable with now.”

Now, an entire realm of new possibilities has opened up for Ria.

“I love working with numbers, that’s the one thing I’ve known for sure since the start of my undergrad. I love doing analytical work more than anything else. Exactly what field I’ll end up working in when I finish my degree I’m not sure, but I’m open to playing the analytical field and seeing what kind of opportunities arise.”