Actuarial work is interdisciplinary at its core. Practicing actuaries draw upon mathematics, statistics, economics, finance, risk management, computer science, and much more to solve problems from how much insurance costs to complicated investment hedging.
Every subject/paper provides not just complete knowledge but also the helps to develop application based skills in real world situations. The actuarial course involves creating mathematical models of events and the world around us, thereby helping the company to take informed decisions which will lead to the least probability of financial losses. The actuarial education model can be likened to that of the medical education model, where the emphasis is on imparting education through the actual hospital work environment.
Since a student has to clear 15 subjects to attain fellowship, the course requires consistent efforts, dedication and strong will to attain fellowship.
Typically, the study route involves clearing the following :
- The first group comprises of the CT series; these involve development of theory of actuarial science and applications of mathematics and statistics to the various actuarial applications such as life insurance, general insurance, employee benefits, investment and other areas. An introduction to economics, financial economics and financial reporting is also included at this stage. Although most part of the course is somewhat theoretical, the exercises and the questions in the examination are practical in nature as they reflect real life situations of the area of work to which the subject is applicable.
- The second group comprises of CA series; where in CA1 paper covers strategic concepts in the management of the business activities of financial institutions and programmes, including the processes for management of the various types of risk faced, and providing appropriate solutions to business problems. CA2 subject equips the students to create models data, document the work, analyse the methods used and outputs generated. CA3 subject is meant to develop skills of communication for technical aspect of the CT series subjects in simple language in order for it to be easily explained to non-technical persons. Here again the stress in examination questions is on demonstration of the communication skills in real life environment.
- The next group comprises of ST series, which builds on the Core Applications Stage but in individual specialism (non-jurisdiction specific). The ST series subjects are in line with the development of practices and related principles in each area of work.
- The final group is SA series, where subjects comprises of a thorough understanding of principles and application of the knowledge thus gained. It also includes demonstration of skills, professionalism and judgment in an essentially practical situation. There is no requirement to have passed the corresponding specialist technical subject, however, the Specialist Applications subjects will typically assume knowledge of the corresponding Specialist Technical subject.
The actuarial education model, therefore, is based on a combination of work with its application. As such, substantially, all these educations beyond CT series subjects take place in the work environment itself. The success in examinations is based on and associated with the corresponding work experience and insight, thus gained.
The career progress of an actuary is directly linked to his / her progress and performance in the examination and as a result, there is a very high likelihood that by the time a student finishes the ST series, he/she would be placed with management level of responsibilities.