Richard George doesn’t like uncertainty.
“I like things laid out and predictable,” George says. His bachelor’s degree in Mathematics fed that need—what’s more predictable than math? But when he sought to expand his career into something new, he found himself studying a subject that tries to make sense of uncertainty: actuarial science.
“Actuarial science aims to quantify uncertainty by integrating probability and statistics with risk management and insurance,” says Krupa Viswanathan, academic director of the Actuarial Science program at the Fox School. It takes the predictable methodology of mathematics and applies it to risk, a field full of uncertainty.
For George, actuarial science was a career path that played to his strengths: analytical skills, business acumen and a love for math. The highly regarded program at Fox was a big part of his decision. “Temple has a reputation for producing high-quality, employable people from the actuarial science program,” he says.
The reputation is hard-earned and well-deserved. The program was redesignated as a Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) by the Society of Actuaries earlier this year, having first received the distinction in 2009.
To be recognized as a Center of Actuarial Excellence, the Society of Actuaries evaluates a program based on its “high-quality graduates that are desired in the workplace … a connection to the industry,” as well as “research and other professional contributions.”
The designation is a high bar that the program continues to meet and exceed, in the eyes of students, employers and industry professionals alike. “When employers come to Temple, they have a high standard,” says George.
Viswanathan, who has been a faculty member at the Fox School for over 20 years and is also an associate of the Society of Actuaries, believes that having the master’s program within a business school plays a large part in its success.
“By being a part of Fox, our actuarial science students can learn critical concepts from various business courses,” Viswanathan explains. “Actuaries are also businesspeople. The knowledge our students gain from Fox professors is valuable to their entry into the business world.”
George, who graduated from the program in 2018 and is now an actuarial assistant at John Hancock, agrees. The faculty and administrators helped him navigate his degree program to get the most benefit. “Fox really provided a path for me to follow. I wanted to get an internship, participate in extracurriculars and create a resume that would make me hirable.”
George saw the program’s commitment to successful student outcomes, especially support from the Fox Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD), as critical in his success.
“The Fox School grooms you to be hired from day one,” he says. “Actually, from before day one, as there are professional development opportunities and activities before starting the actuarial science program. The Fox School really lays out the path from degree to getting an internship to getting a job for you.”
Viswanathan shared that in actuarial science, there isn’t always a right answer.
“While mathematics can be about getting the right answer, sometimes there is no correct answer when we are dealing with uncertainty. Building the confidence to explore methodologies and assumptions, and being curious, can help create a successful actuary,” she says.