Keeping up with the CAS program

Get to Know: Actuarial Mathematics

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The Actuarial Mathematics major at Bryant is one of the most structured programs within the university and provides the pre-requisite coursework for a successful career as an actuary. Defining an actuary can be difficult as the role takes on different meanings across companies and industries. At a high level, actuaries use their knowledge of mathematics, statistics, finance, and economics to analyze the financial impacts of risk and interpret the potential results of unforeseen events. It may seem like sorcery, but actuaries are able to do so by building complex models and working with probabilities to make sure that insurance companies and government agencies are prepared for the future.

Here at Bryant, the coursework is especially geared toward passing Exams P and FM, which focus on probability theory and financial mathematics, respectively.  Actuarial Statistics I, II, and III collectively apply concepts from statistics courses like hypothesis testing, probability rules and distributions, and analysis of variance (among countless others) to the insurance field by covering examples about insurance premiums and deductibles. Mathematical Theory of Interest I and II follow a different branch of the actuarial track and focus on the financial side of risk. The courses emphasize the mathematics behind topics like interest rates, annuities, and derivative options. Beyond that, students are exposed to a number of different mathematical and technological skills in their other courses. Additional topic matter includes stochastic calculus, life contingencies, Bayesian estimation and probability modeling, pension analysis, and the fundamentals of reserving. In terms of programming, students are introduced to macros and Excel VBA as part of the major and many students choose to further pursue software packages through SAS. Bryant has the distinction of being a partner with the SAS Institute and offers a Certificate in Data Mining for students who complete the pre-requisite courses. This partnership provides a unique look into one of the world’s premier statistical software packages.

Understanding that there is a lot of technical classwork, Bryant also does an excellent job at introducing students to future employers and opportunities post-Bryant. The Actuarial Association meets one or two times per week with insurance companies, both life and property and casualty, from all over the region. These meetings allow students to form relationships with recruiters and young alumni from each company while increasing their knowledge of the day-to-day activities of an actuary. Bryant has one of the most developed actuarial programs in the Northeast and students are actively recruited each fall. Prudential and John Hancock visited the organization this week.

This semester, the Actuarial program has brought in two Fellows from the Casualty Actuary Society: David Deacon from Hanover Insurance and Joseph Muccio from Providence Mutual. The two have helped to design a Case Competition for Bryant students of all majors – not solely Actuarial. During this competition, students will be presented with a “real world” business scenario that will require analysis and presentation of findings about a dataset. The winners will receive a monetary prize and a letter of recommendation from Mr. Deacon. The introductory meeting for the competition has passed but any students (or teams) that would like to compete should contact Emma Wieduwilt, President of the Actuarial Association at ewieduwilt@bryant.edu.

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Liam Rice
Business Editor--Class of 2017 LCS/Applied Economics Double Major--Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Concentration--Finance Minor--Theatre--Sports

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