The 'Dialogue – Exploration of an Actuarial Career' event took place on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 through a collaborative effort between Careers and Graduate Futures of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) and the HWUM Society of Actuarial Science. The primary objective of this event was to acquaint students with the exciting world of actuarial science through insightful discussions and networking sessions with industry experts. Additionally, it aimed to prepare students for their upcoming summer internships by providing them with valuable insights from current HWUM students who have undergone internships.
The first sharing session featured three guest speakers: Mr. Tan Kay How, Head of Malaysia & COO, SEA Markets of Reinsurance Group of America (RGA); Mr. Ong Lek Ping, Head of Product Pricing of Great Eastern Life and Mr. Mohammad Muzakkir Abd Ghafar, an actuarial consultant from Milliman. Overall, the session was engaging and informative, as each speaker shared about their personal experiences, struggles, and career journeys.
Some of the key points from the discussions include Mr. Tan's explanation on the differences between working as a life insurance actuary and a non-life insurance actuary. Apart from that, Mr. Ong stressed the significance of curiosity and proactivity in the workplace. Lastly, Mr. Muzakkir shared his journey and experiences in attaining fellowship status from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).
After a short break, the event was followed by an internship sharing session. It featured two third-year Actuarial Science students from HWUM: Sharifah Rania, who has completed her summer internship at Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and Dylan Khoo, who has recently completed his summer internship at FWD Takaful.
Sharifah Rania shared valuable tips on how to secure a valuable internship opportunity, which included preparing early for resume and interviews and reaching out to as many different companies as possible. On the other hand, Dylan advised students to send a follow-up email two weeks after applying for an internship if they haven't received any response from the companies, as they might overlook their initial email. In fact, this small action helped him secure his position as an intern at FWD Takaful.
Finally, the event concluded with a networking session at Happy Café, with some light refreshments prepared.
“For a fast start, you would need to have some industry knowledge. You at least need to know what the company is doing. You need to know what the company is asking a fresh graduate to do, because insurance is a progressive industry whereby experience and time spent (in the industry) will really make a difference,” Mr. Ong Lek Ping emphasized the importance of an internship.
He also noted that the internship experience will give an opportunity for students to expand their network. Working in the industry is beyond just memorizing formulas and having the theoretical knowledge; it is also establishing strong professional relationships to stand out from the crowd.
Throughout the event, students had the opportunity to engage with the panellists and ask specific questions about the actuarial industry and jobs. Hopefully, this fruitful dialogue session has inspired future aspiring actuaries to be proactive, adaptable and always maintain a growth mindset; something that is essential not only for pursuing a career as an actuary but for any career path.