“The only bad thing about having options is the fear of making a wrong choice”
You can relate to this quote if you have recently completed your high school and have a platter of options to select from, to accompany your actuarial science journey.
Actuarial Science is a combination of statistics, mathematics, finance, economics and programming. An interest in one or few of these combined with a passion for the profession leads to a decision of pursuing this course. Formal degrees in the aforementioned subjects complement the course beautifully. However, the path you choose solely depends on your inclination and the amount of time you wish to devote to the degree while studying for the actuarial examinations.
If you like thinking about the chance that your favourite cricket player will win his next match or estimating waiting time at your favourite restaurant or always like to quantify and analyse things, then a degree in Statistics will be best suited for you. In the insurance context, from pricing to reserving, actuarial science is based on probability theories, which is the basic foundation of statistics. A statistics degree gives a theoretical base of few concepts covered in the actuarial science course, thus rendering a deeper understanding of the same.
If hardcore statistics is not your cup of tea, but if you like delving into the theoretical aspect of formulae and results used, then a degree in mathematics is a good option. Like statistics, it answers the how’s and why’s of concepts covered in few actuarial examinations.
If you are curious about understanding the mechanism of how money flows; the production, consumption and distribution of wealth and the functioning of an economy on a broader level, a degree in economics will be the best bet. The degree isn’t of much benefit when it comes to preparing for actuarial examinations, but it helps in developing an economic way of thinking, which is useful in the long run.
Actuaries are required where risk (What is a risk- an actuarial definition) is involved, but they are traditionally confined to the insurance industry. Considering this, a degree in insurance will give you the domain knowledge and will eventually prove to be a good head start if you join the insurance industry as an actuarial professional. It covers the basics of life and general insurance policies, insurance laws and regulations, employee benefits etc, thereby building a good foundation for your career.
Amidst all this, you would have thought, how about pursuing a degree in Actuarial Science? It is a wise option as it covers the concepts taught in the initial actuarial examinations and mainly focusses on actuarial science throughout your graduation. However, you should go for it only if you’re very clear about seeing yourself as an Actuary for the rest of your life.
The advent of automation of processes by using softwares and developing tools has created an impeding need for tech savvy actuarial professionals. A degree in computer science or IT helps you in building a strong base of programming, which has become indispensable in today’s date, be it the actuarial field or any other
The actuarial field is intertwined with other fields, giving the aspirant a taste of all related fields like CFA, Data Science etc. Though there are many options when it comes to pursuing a degree along with the actuarial science course, choose the one that suits you the best!