Monthly Archives: September 2012

BCom Majors V: Actuarial Studies

Today’s guest post comes from a past student that majored in Actuarial Studies.

Actuarial Studies


“We slam (Financial) Models and (Red Bull) Bottles”

An actuary is a business professional who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. Actuaries provide expert assessments of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms

That’s what Wikipedia says, but in reality, it’s one of the easiest majors offered by the The University of Melbourne. Rumours of its difficulty are propagated by retards who haven’t figured out what an integral is. If you enjoy doing boring, brain-dead number crunching, with a cohort that has the social awareness of a dung beetle then Actuarial is definitely something you should seriously consider.

So here are a few typical responses you get when you tell someone you’re studying to be an Actuary.

“Huhhhhh? What is an actually?”

“OMG, you must be like super smart and shit”

Both of these responses indicate the person you are talking to is probably brain-dead, and you should cease talking to them immediately.

Most of you would be wondering by now, what kind of person this shitty major would attract. First of all LOTS and LOTS of FOBs, who are also Career Kids. Deadly combination.

Things don’t get much better if you’re a guy looking to score either. Here’s the reason why: Think of the ugliest girl in your high school year level. Done? Ok, now keep that image in your spank bank, because in Actuarial she’ll start looking like a supermodel real soon.
As for the guys in the course, it doesn’t get much better. Fleece and runners are the uniform of choice and brands such as “Mike” and “Adidis” are well represented. You’ll also have to have a gimpy physique and have no personality in order to truly fit in. One golden tip: Try to make your studies the center of your life, the quicker you do this, the more likely you’ll be accepted amongst the cohort.
Your classmates will be talking in various Asian languages and if you aren’t fluent in any of them, I suggest you learn quickly because you won’t be making too many friends. Discussions in English are a rarity within this major. Also look into obtaining a (Fake) Asian passport, I hear in the future these are going to be checked when you try to rock up to Actuarial events.

Personality-wise the cohort are the biggest losers around, often studying for days non-stop and neglecting any form of activity that would hinder their academic progress. It is very common amongst students to attend the SAME tutorial more than once, students will often re-attend tutorials on different days to gain that “Edge” and beat their fellow students. Oddly enough, the students trying the hardest are the 2nd tier ones that are barely scraping H1’s in a major that just asks to get slayed. Oh and remember, Students enrolling in this major are often the rattiest and most unhelpful types, trying hard to deceive others by appearing naive and aloof in regards to subject related questions from peers.

As for the subjects, here’s a bit of a rundown, of the ones I remember anyway:
Financial Maths III – A slightly harder version of Investments, yet still a joke. Learn about various aspects of portfolio theory and stuff that only the really nerdy kids pretend to (or maybe actually do) care about
Actuarial Modelling I, Actuarial Modelling II – The only models you’ll be seeing in your course.
Contingencies – Same as FM I and II but with probabilities slapped on, besides that can’t remember, don’t care. Haven’t used it at all, since I work in M&A.
Models for Insurance and Finance: This is probably one of the more interesting subjects in the Actuarial major. Probably because it’s not really an Actuarial subject.
Another thing to note, the word “Exemption” will be uttered over and over and over again in conversations, unless you repeat it regularly you will never truly be an Actuarial student and we all want to be one of those!

So what does Actuarial Studies lead to? Well, only a few people end up going on to be a qualified Actuary, a few will get into Investment Banking, some will go to Big 4, some into retail banks. Oh as for FOBs, I’m really not too sure but I do hear the outgoing shipments back to Asia do get pretty full around that time after graduation.
So in summary, what is Actuarial Studies? A few years of involuntary celibacy, boring as fuck numbers and being surrounded by the highest caliber of losers and fuglies. Luckily, I moved on to an Investment Bank after finishing this garbage major few years ago. Even though I work long hours and don’t get much sleep, I still have nightmares about my time in Actuarial.

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Cupcake Craze

With the ever-growing trend of people posting every meal they consume on Facebook, for all to see, it fails to surprise me that the Cupcake craze still continues.

These little round pieces of cake with frosting on top are just too cool, so cool in fact that you are obliged to post them on Facebook, with a nice fulfilling caption to demonstrate your trendiness for consuming fine, retro food. This is very big in Melbourne.

It looks like stores make luxury cupcakes that are just incredible. The best cupcakes you’ve ever had. They only cost $2 or $3 each but if you buy them by the dozen you get a nice discount. Think about it though, a few dollars so you can happily show off to your legion of Facebook friends how cool you are, that’s surely worth it right?

It’s so popular in fact that there are shops these days, just selling cupcakes! Oh the envy!

If you want to really take it to the next level though, you have to home bake these at home, and take a photo of each creative design you’ve made then post it all on Facebook for all to admire. This way you are demonstrating your creative side as well as practical side, people will be respecting you a LOT more and you demonstrate your value to all.

Oh boy, you’re one talented person now!

BCom Majors IV: Finance

Finance

“Because I want to be an Investment Banker”

So, in this entry we add to the series on Commerce majors.

Finance is quite a popular major amongst Commerce students. I’d say for most, it’s more of an infatuation with what they believe to be realistic outcomes of the Finance major rather than an admiration towards the content which is taught within it. Finance is also a huge hit with the FOBs.

The super-serious students undertaking the Finance majors are often some of the most pretentious, and irritating students you could ever be exposed to. Often carrying unrealistic expectations such as thinking they have a shot of getting in to a top-tier Investment Bank. In reality, most have no chance, especially in this current economic climate. So in order to compensate, they will be rocking up to just about every career event that is held at university and try to get an “edge” over their peers (ie. They are Career Kids)

Ultimately, most students do Finance with concurrent majors in Accounting or Economics, but I have heard of some students undertaking it along with side joke majors such as Marketing or Management (Oh what a useful combination!)

Basically, the three level-3 subjects which make up the major are as follows:

Corporate Finance: Quite a lame subject, it’s easy to get H1 in Corporate Finance, but not as easy to get 90+ on. The subject really feels like an extension to Business Finance and is quite easy to understand but some of the theory can be a bit annoying. Expect a few vague questions thrown in to assessments to lower your chances of getting a huge mark in it.

Investments: Difficulty-wise, the subject is alright, it’s still a subject you can smash a 90+ on if you have a solid understanding of the content since the exam isn’t ratty. Calculations aren’t difficult and usually the exam doesn’t change much from year to year so you’ll have a strong idea of how you’re going based on doing past papers. However, the mid-sem can be a bit of a pain, I’ve heard in some semesters it’s been rather difficult.

Derivative Securities: What most students call the hardest subject in the major. I still think it’s pretty straightforward and really easy to get quite high on. Definitely a subject you can get 90+ on if you have a solid understanding of it. The calculations are pretty easy and the theory usually makes sense, so I’m not exactly sure how people can do too poorly in Derivative Securities. Sure there’s some fancy terms and graphs but don’t be put off by those, they are pretty understandable once you properly gain a grip of the subject.

I can’t be bothered delving into the specifics (Stuff like topics etc.) of the above subjects because 1. I can’t remember and 2. It’s not too hard to Google the subject names and find out.

There are other subjects in 3rd year some students do like International Finance, Asian Capital Markets or Intermediate Personal Finance but since they aren’t core subjects, they have substantially lower enrollment. Plus the students that take those subjects them are probably complete losers trying to convince themselves that doing more than the required amount of level-3 Finance subjects will lead to them getting an awesome Finance gig after finishing uni, even though they are barely struggling to maintain a H2A average.
The finance major is almost impossible to fail, the exams aren’t hurdles and the subjects still have enough easy content so that even the brain-dead students can easily pass.

The major isn’t too difficult since most of the time you’re plugging in numbers, doing some basic maths, and writing some garbage theory. The real problem with the major is the cohort. Comprising of FOBs, self-entitled career kids, and hugely worrying whingers you really would not want to be too close with the people who study this major, especially nearing exams and during recruitment season.

One thing to remember, you probably won’t be working at an Investment Bank, or a Hedge Fund, or a Private Equity firm.

Sorry to end the dream.

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