2003-2004 Statistics and Actuarial Science Endowment Award

Clement Wu

This award is presented to a student in the major/honor program with high academic standing.

"This summer, a good friend of mine is graduating from the UBC Sauder School of Business, and I was invited to attend his graduation dinner last week. During the course of the dinner, I was asked time and again by commerce students regarding what my major is. 'I study actuarial science at SFU', I replied politely. The response varied greatly from one person to another. Some were unsure about what actuarial science is, but have heard it involves difficult math, some recalled gurus about actuaries making big money upon graduation, some, however, have profound understanding in the subject. I was really excited that I no longer hear the rhetorical question, "Did you just say you study 'actual' science? What is it?" Although English is not my mother tongue, I am fairly confident that I can pronounce the word 'actuarial' correctly, so it can't be my pronunciation after all. In such occasion, I would explain the differences between actuarial science and 'actual' science, but only if I first find out what 'actual' science actually is."

"It has been two and a half years since I made the decision to transfer from the faculty of computing science to the faculty of actuarial science. During this period, the faculty expanded rapidly, more and more students are aware of the opportunities in this field and are trying to enroll in the program. I still remember when I took ACMA 310, an introductory actuarial science course; there were less than 100 students in the faculty. For the next two years, I was the teaching assistant for ACMA 310, and therefore witnessed the growth of the program in just two years. While excited about the soaring interest in actuarial science, I also tell fellow students that they should be ready to make long-term commitments. It takes a lot more than a bachelor degree to become an actuary; one also needs to pass a series of why-are-they-so-difficult professional exams. Apart from writing exams, I believe that co-op experience is also invaluable. Students are offered the opportunity to work in different fields of actuarial science such as pension consulting, health and life insurance, property insurance, and re-insurance, etc. Personally, it helps me to draw out my own career path."

"Having completed two co-op work terms at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, and currently working on another eight-month work term at Pacific Blue Cross, I expect to graduate in the spring of 2005. In terms of actuarial exams, I have completed the first four. However, I am now on a short break from writing actuarial exams, as I would like to enjoy my last summer of my university life. Many of my friends are graduating this summer, and a number of them are permanently leaving Vancouver after their graduation. As much as I like to get ahead in the exams, I cannot afford to miss out this time. We are already planning the group activities, and we want to make this summer memorable for the rest of our lives."