6729 BSc in Actuarial Science

6729 BSc in Actuarial Science

What is an Actuary?

An actuary is a professional who deals with the application of probability and statistical theories to problems in insurance, investment, pensions and financial risk management. The majority of actuaries work for life, health and property/casualty insurance companies, which heavily rely on actuaries’ judgement to ensure their financial security. Other actuaries work for actuarial consulting firms, offering their expertise on financial services, risk management, health care, pension plans and asset/liability management. Other opportunities are available for actuaries in a variety of industries.

Actuaries work with facts, figures and people to solve business problems. They are not only the statisticians of the insurance industry, but also have broader responsibilities in financial management. They frequently evaluate the past, make use of known changes, interpret expected changes and set future directions to determine insurance premiums and retirement benefits.

Actuaries work in many capacities within businesses, consulting firms, government agencies and universities, and often fill senior managerial roles in insurance companies, even becoming senior officers or company heads. Most importantly, all actuaries must have a strong aptitude for mathematics and the ability to apply actuarial knowledge to a range of financial situations. 

How to become an Actuary?

The Programme

The BSc (Actuarial Science), the only programme of its kind in Hong Kong, provides formal academic and professional training to students who wish to join the actuarial profession with internationally-recognised qualifications. The programme is designed to provide specialist training in actuarial science and prepare students for professional examinations of the (North American) Society of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society and the (UK) Institute and Faculty of Actuaries up to Associateship level. The programme has exemption arrangements with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and has obtained Validation by Education Experience (VEE) course approval from the Casualty Actuarial Society, the Society of Actuaries and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries in North America.

Furthermore, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science has been designated as a Centre of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries since December 2011. The designation is awarded to schools which demonstrate excellence in actuarial science through meeting strict criteria in quality of curriculum, number and quality of graduates, qualified faculty, strong ties to business, and beneficial research and scholarship. 

Exchange opportunities are available to students to study at world renowned universities such as Harvard University, Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Melbourne, University of Nottingham, University of Queensland, University of Toronto, University of Virginia and University of Waterloo. 

Accreditation

The HKU BSc(ActuarSc) programme is the first actuarial programme in Asia to obtain accreditation from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), the UK's only chartered professional body dedicated to educating, developing and regulating actuaries based both in the UK and internationally. Students who graduate with a BSc(ActuarSc) degree from HKU with the required marks in specified courses will be exempted from taking various IFoA subjects (e.g. CT1-CT8) as they begin their journey towards qualifying as an actuary.

Internship Programme

Internship opportunities with major insurers, actuarial consulting firms, reinsurers, investment firms, auditing firms, and management consulting firms are provided.

The programme assists students by advertising part-time/summer/temporary or full-time positions, sending to employers resumes of interested students, and assisting students in their preparation for the internships. Recruitment activities normally begin six months or more prior to the expected starting date of a position.

As an intern, the student will gain insight into the challenging world and daily activities of an actuary while increasing his/her technical, analytical and communication skills.

Non-exhaustive list of companies participating in the internship programme:

  • CHUBB Life Insurance Company
  • AIA Group Limited
  • AXA China Region
  • BOC Group Life Assurance
  • Census and Statistics Department HKSARG
  • Ernst & Young
  • FTLife Insurance
  • HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific)
  • FWD Life Insurance
  • JP Morgan
  • KPMG
  • Manulife
  • Prudential Hong Kong
  • PWC
  • RGA Reinsurance
  • Sun Life Hong Kong
  • Swiss Re
  • Willis Towers Watson

Career Prospects

Actuaries’ duties are varied, challenging and so important that they are frequently called the “brains” of the insurance business. Given Hong Kong’s booming insurance industry and the rapid development of the mainland China market, actuaries enjoy very attractive career prospects. Recent graduates hold positions in major insurance and reinsurance companies, actuarial consulting firms, and investment banks, including but not limited to: 

• AIA Group Limited
• AXA Asia
• BOC Group Life Assurance
• HSBC Life
• Manulife
• Sun Life Financial
• Prudential
• Willis Towers Watson
• General Re
• RGA Reinsurance
• JP Morgan
• Standard Chartered Bank
• FTLife Insurance
• Ernst & Young
• Mercer
• Goldman Sachs
• Morgan Stanley
• Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science has introduced the Career Advising Programme (CAP) to help students pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses in terms of interview/CV writing skills and better prepare students to seize career opportunities readily. Besides one-to-one tailored consultation on CV and cover letter, the CAP will organise other career-related activities, such as career talks, company visits and mentorship programmes to deepen students’ understanding of the industries.

Dr Patrick S C Poon Scholarship in Actuarial Science

Dr Patrick S C Poon, member of our Actuarial Science Programme Advisory Board and Distinguished Science Alumnus of the Faculty, kindly pledged his donation for establishing a maximum of 5 scholarships in the BSc (ActuarSc) Programme. The scholarships are awarded annually to freshly-admitted first year students with the most outstanding entrance records, each at HK$50,000 or HK$60,000 and renewable based on satisfactory performance in each year’s study in the programme. Dr Poon is currently the Chairman of Harvest SCP Group Company Limited.

Student Sharing

YEUNG Shu Nga
2018 BSc (Actuarial Science) graduate 
Actuarial Intern at Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (Hong Kong Branch), 2016

“Internship is indeed an essential experience in university life, especially for students who plan to pursue a profession after graduation. Being an actuarial science student, like many others who share the same major, I joined the internship programme to work as an Actuarial Intern in the insurance world. Having the opportunity to perform pricing in Swiss Re, a reinsurance company, I was able to consolidate my actuarial knowledge learned in lectures through integrating it to my costing work. With hands-on experience working with technical pricing tool and helping to develop new products, I acquired actuarial software skills as well as insurance product knowledge, which can hardly be learned from textbooks. I would strongly recommend actuarial science students to take part in the internship programme, for not only can they gain a more comprehensive view towards the insurance market, but also equip themselves with both hard and soft skills that are critical for standing out in a crowd.”

CHENG Wai Yin
2018 BSc (Actuarial Science) graduate 
Actuarial Intern at Prudential Corporation Asia, 2016


"The internship programme at Prudential Cooperation Asia provided me with insights into what actuaries actually do in traditional life insurance company. Tasks given to me may not be relevant to my previous lessons but I treat it as an opportunity to learn more. Through different tasks, both my technical skills (use of simple coding, Excel formula, prophet modelling etc.) and soft skills (time management, communication and task responsibility) have been boosted. Besides skills, getting a broader image of the insurance field is something for me to treasure. Seeing a bigger picture let me understand how my work affects others or even the whole team project. Working in a company as a full-time intern is never an easy task, especially when the company is doing real business in which efficiency of work is highly required. The manager is not your teacher that can teach you everything just like at school. You should learn by first trying to solve the problems yourself before seeking any help."

LEUNG Wales

2015 BSc (Actuarial Science) graduate
Actuarial Intern at ACE Life Insurance Company Ltd., 2013
Actuarial Intern at Aon Benfield, 2014

"My past four years in HKU Actuarial Science were fruitful and unforgettable. Not only is the curriculum well-structured in a progressive manner but the courses are also taught by distinguished scholars specialised in different areas of Actuarial Science with the most up-to-date pedagogy and research findings. As the actuarial theories are taught with emphases on application, the knowledge I learnt is always useful when I need to tackle problems at work.

Beyond regular classroom learning, I also had chances to learn different practices and the latest developments in the industry through participating in actuarial internships in well-known insurance corporations, attending seminars given by famous actuaries and joining workshops conducted by our experienced alumni.”