The Versatility of Actuarial Science

By Seth Robinson

Amy Wu’s studies in Actuarial Science set her on course for a career through the world of numbers, opening up opportunities in Investment Management and Data Analytics. We spoke with Amy about her time at Melbourne Business School and her career so far.

Originally, Amy emigrated from China to study her undergraduate degree in Adelaide. However, upon graduation she decided she wanted to pursue Actuarial Science at the postgraduate level.

Amy Wu
Master of Actuarial Science alum, Amy Wu

‘My undergraduate majored in finance, but there were some classes within it that looked at financial mathematics, which I found really interesting. They were on things like options pricing theory, and the formulas that go into that kind of analysis. It really piqued my interest, and I decided that was the area I wanted to go into.’

The Master of Actuarial Science at Melbourne Business School was the perfect fit for Amy. It offered her the skills she needed to set her course and begin her accreditation as an actuary, and came with the added bonus of being in Melbourne, a city she’d visited before and loved.

‘So, studying in the Master of Actuarial Science allows you to finish the first part of the accreditation you need to the join the Actuaries Institute of Australia, so that was a highlight. The coursework itself was also invaluable. It gave me a greater understanding of the mathematics that is used in the industry, and how to solve these high level actuarial problems. It was also fantastic to work with the academics at Melbourne Business School. I remember being in Professor David Dickson’s class in particular, and the patience and attention he gave to making sure everyone understood the content. He was really a fantastic teacher.’

Upon graduation Amy’s actuarial skills opened up a variety of doors for her, starting with a role at the Australian Financial Review, before she went on to work as an actuary for Guild  Insurance, and as a consultant. Now, she’s brought all of her experience together in a new role at State Street Global Advisors, as an Assistant Portfolio Manager.

The Master of Actuarial Science is the fastest graduate pathway to prepare you for the actuarial profession. Graduates of this degree are analytical in the application of actuarial theory, knowledge, principles, techniques and data. You will become a problem solver capable of explaining, applying and critically evaluating the use of actuarial models, particularly in relation to insurance and superannuation.

Find out more about the Master of Actuarial Science now.

‘All of these roles gave me the opportunity to experience and work in fields that really interested me, from that really technical actuary role, to working in data analytics and investment management. I think that’s the thing I’ve realised, is that this is a versatile skillset, that can be put into use in a lot of different ways. My current role allows me to do that, I get to build on all of my experience so far and bring all of those components together. I still get to do that data modelling, as well as being exposed to the investment world, and I get to see how the market functions,’ she says. ‘I think that’s one criticism that actuarial science often gets, is that it really restricts you to working in this very theoretical space, when in reality you can apply those studies in the real world, and have a really fulfilling career.’

Amy’s advice to herself five years ago: ‘follow your passions, you’ll end up where you need to be.’