| Ratcharathan Rawe Shanggar |
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – It is common for youth to equate a professional career as that in medicine, law or engineering.
This narrow-minded view is usually ingrained in them by their parents, who were inculcated with the same mindset by their parents.
This is because once upon a time those careers promised a lucrative pay and comfortable life.
However, the world today is evolving at a pace that calls for the services of professionals in thousands of other fields.
Actuarial science is one of those fields, but few in the country actually know what it is all about. It is rather a popular field among Chinese students in the country. The Head of the Actuarial Science Programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Associate Professor Dr Saiful Hafizah Jaaman said the field merged the study of finance, investment and insurance in the development of a country.
She said it was an industry that was closely related to financial risks and insurance.
“Unfortunately, many people do not clearly understand what the field is about.
They have an idea that it involves insurance but are not aware of the multiple career prospects available in the field,” she said to Bernama.
Actuary is ranked among the best jobs in many countries around the world, reporting excellent prospects in terms of income, perks, work environment and hiring outlook.
Saiful Hafizah said those wishing to go into this field needs to be skilled in Mathematics, Economics and government policies related to finance.
Despite the lack of understanding on actuarial science, local universities are reporting an increase in application to enter the field. In Malaysia, only several universities offer courses in the field, namely UKM, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
“This is a field that can produce graduates who can effectively contribute to the country’s financial sector,” she said.
An actuary will only be recognised as qualified after passing an international standard professional actuary examination. Actuaries could expect a lucrative pay after passing the examinations, Saiful Hafizah added.
The president of the Actuarial Society of Malaysia Yap Chee Keong said the career prospects for actuaries were not limited to insurance companies only. It was in fact, very wide.
Among them are in industries specialising in employee benefits, finance and investment services, as actuary consultants.
It can create jobs in the government sectors and in tertiary education institutions.
He said the professional examinations for actuaries determined their eligibility in filling in middle management vacancies.
“The society is also working towards promoting the profession in Malaysia. We are collaborating with several local universities that offer such courses to help them produce graduates that meet industry needs,” he said.
The society has been a member of the International Actuarial Association since 2003.
Yap said that it has been organising various seminars and workshops throughout the year to promote the profession and keep its members up to date with the latest developments in the industry.
A final year student of actuarial science in UKM, Hairish Kumar Ganesan, 22, said the course presented him some unique challenges.
Students need to hone their skills in thinking critically and creatively as well as keeping themselves abreast with the latest global economic developments.
“I learned about the course through a senior of mine that had obtained a degree in actuarial science from the University of London. I became deeply interested in pursuing the course after a conversation with him,” he said.
Hairish said those intending to pursue a degree in this field should be prepared to engage in a different learning atmosphere and be open to new insights on the country and the world’s economy.