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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18 thoughts on “BCom Majors V: Actuarial Studies

  1. Gerrard says:

    rofl @ the summary

  2. K says:

    I don’t even do Actuarial and am laughing at this so much

  3. J says:

    ONE Asian language, technically~

  4. Jim says:

    Hilarious!!

  5. Alex says:

    God that major sure sounds like a blast!!!

  6. Dawg says:

    I actually think that hedge funds/PE/ER firms over in the States (typically some of the highest paying entry level jobs in the world) would strongly prefer Actuaries over BCom people. (Quants required!)

    Besides, you’re only making extreme generalizations — somethings, like academics and social life, isn’t mutually exclusive.

  7. Christian says:

    Isn’t it funny how you claim to have majored in Accounting, Finance AND Actuarial Studies… a double Bachelor of Commerce or something?

    I’m sure you work in M&A too.

    Seems you fantasise about a lot more than just models (financial or otherwise).

    • Jimmy says:

      Hey I thought that too but the first line of the post says “Today’s guest post comes from a past student that majored in Actuarial Studies” I don’t think the usual author wrote this.

      • Christian says:

        Or maybe he figured out how to edit posts.

        Stylistically, it is very much like his previous posts, gets stuck into ‘FOBs’ and ‘Career Kids’, very little knowledge of subject content (apart from being ‘easy’)… and sadly, the intended humour is still quite lame.

      • Hayd says:

        Yeah, on Twitter it mentioned guest post. I read this blog cause of the.commentary and humour. Not to learn bout the subjects in majors. If I cared about that I’d just read the subject guide.

  8. CerberusCap says:

    yeah clearly the main author is too afraid to start hanging shit on actuarial studies. Pussy ass banker. Shouldn’t you be in a cage somewhere working on a pitch book?

    • kim says:

      id say most of the cohort in actuarial would happily take his job given the option..look at some of the top honours students in actuarial a lot end up in IB. Oh and pre accredited salary for actuarys aren’t too great. I’d take IB anyday.

    • Jimmy says:

      rofl, bankers get paid handsomely not sure why you’d be “afraid” since the author has basically trolled the shit out of actuarial already by just posting this.

  9. Adnrew says:

    sitting in Contigencies…
    I think the general consensus is that this article is a pretty apt summary!

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  12. melbourne_guy says:

    I think it’s pretty easy to become disillusioned with actuarial studies when you study it at Melbourne. I can say with certainty that our Part 1-equivalent exams are harder than the Institute exams and reflect the mathematicians who write them. Remember, an applied mathematician (your standard Melbourne actuarial lecturer) can qualify as an actuary and spend very little of their careers as industry actuaries. I don’t think this should deter people so much as encourage them to work harder while doing the exams at Melbourne. VERY little calculus, probability and statistics is used even in the Melbourne exams and one just needs to work very hard.

    This obviously leads to selection bias, and you’re spot on about some features of this selection bias. But I don’t feel this is reflective of who an actuary is. I know a variety of industry actuaries, including those who work at insurance companies, consulting firms and academia. You get the usual selection bias – the less personable and confident people usually miss out on consulting and get the more technical positions. The profession is pretty famous for not being as personable on average as other professions (such as banking), but that’s true of many countries which have an actuarial profession (eg. UK, US)

    I’ve got a pretty good understanding of all the BCom majors at Melbourne, and majors outside the degree. You really can’t go wrong with your major, but some people prefer some jobs over others. I’ll admit that the lecture notes for a lot of subjects need to be fixed up (eg. Investments, excessive repetition in the three-year economics major – Intermediate Microeconomics and third-year Microeconomics, Actuarial Statistics) and the actuarial exams could be brought in line with the Australian professional standard, the non-actuarial majors could include calculus and probability is give a more honest picture of the academic discipline – ECONOMICS is an area of applied mathematics and finance is it’s sub-discipline, not that this is clear from the BCom double major in economics and finance.

    The world’s imperfect. Live with it and make real jokes. The best comedians poke fun at the way the world actually is, not at something born from their low actuarial grades. You’re not stupid, and that’s what actuarial students at Melbourne need to be told. I’ve highlighted the problem, and questions arise such as: Why are the Melbourne exams LONGER than the Institute ones, yet we get one hour less time? Why are we assumed to know mathematical tricks for exams which are not taught in the course, when the Institute is crystal clear about the techniques it requires? Why do the lecturers read material to students when the economists try to add value to their notes through lectures? (Are actuarial students NOT harder working and on average more intelligent?) Why are we not given so few past exams when the Institute provides exams for nearly the last decade, two exams per year? Why did Monash get accredited for both Part 1 and Part 2 recently when their Part 1 exams are WAY easier than Melbourne? (eg. their second-year course oddly named Actuarial Statistics counts for the whole CT4 Models – Melbourne uses the name to refer to the first-half of CT6 – where students are TOLD what all the symbols mean on a formula sheet and their exam is mainly simple question such as use population data to compute deferred death rates ect.)

    Hopefully that helps any frustrated actuarial majors looking for a laugh become less frustrated with their major. It all comes down to some serious policy decisions that certain educational authorities need to reconsider and slowly reform.

    I took a serious tone with this post. This actuarial blog is getting really absurd and unreal.

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