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Top MBA Jobs: Actuarial Analyst

Actuarial Analyst

Chances are that a multitude of options will become available to you once you’ve earned your MBA. But first, you’ll need to decide just how you’ll focus your degree. As you survey schools and specializations, a couple of questions may arise. What is the job market like in my potential major? How well can I put my knowledge to practical use once I earn my MBA?

One career choice that answers both questions in the affirmative is that of Actuarial Analyst. In this article we’ll take a look at the different aspects of this field, its salary potential, some well respected degree programs for actuaries, and some current openings that are available.

What is an Actuarial Analyst?

Put very simply, actuarial analysts take raw data and apply it to real world scenarios. Using their well honed analytical skills, they calculate the probability of certain events, such as accidents, injuries, product malfunctions, or property damage. This information then adjusts pricing of insurance policies. Actuarial analysts may also analyze the likelihood of catastrophic events such as health pandemics, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes in order to assess risk exposure for companies.

Financial services firms also employ actuarial analysts to design pension plans and investment portfolios for their clients.

Actuarial Analyst Salary

According to recent Glassdoor data, the national average salary for an actuarial analyst is $74,000 per year, not inclusive of bonuses. It’s important to note, however, that salaries range widely for this field. As in many other professions in finance and insurance, possessing certifications gives you added value to any organization. To reach the associate level, analysts must take a series of exams administered by either the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS).

Students can take some of the exams while still in school, and many firms will hire those who have passed one or two. The next level of certification is the fellowship level, which takes two to three years, and at this point salary potential increases even more.

The good news is that the field is set to experience a high level of growth over the next decade—22 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Advancement opportunities are also abound for actuarial analysts.

“It’s not uncommon for actuarial analysts who show superb business results, intuition and dedication, often combined with a master’s degree in business, to advance to Chief Risk Officer or Chief Financial Officer at their company,” notes an article on learn.org.

Actuarial Science Business School Programs

While entry level actuary jobs are available to those without an MBA or MS, it probably comes as no surprise that the top companies seek those with advanced degrees.

Rutgers Business School

Rutgers University New Brunswick’s Master of Business and Science with a concentration in Actuarial and Statistical Analysis. As with most schools offering this concentration, Rutgers requires a strong background of study in calculus and linear algebra, as well as GRE scores. Of the 43 credits needed for the degree, 24 are in the sciences and 19 are in business.

Columbia Business School

Columbia also offers a well regarded Master’s program, with courses taught by actuarial and analytics professionals. Columbia considers itself on the cutting edge of the industry, with a strong focus upon machine learning, predictive modeling, and the tech that drives financial markets. The Columbia MS in Actuarial Science has 36 required credits, and can be completed on a full or part-time basis.

Image result for columbia business school campus

Those interested in Actuarial Science can earn a 36-credit degree at Columbia Business School in New York City, either full or part-time.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School of Business offers an MBA concentration in Actuarial Science within the Statistics department.  The major is comprised of three required courses, an additional course, and an advanced study project. Detailed requirements for Wharton’s program can be found here.

Among the other schools with top actuarial science programs are Florida State, Ohio State, Baruch College, and Penn State.

Who’s Hiring?

Data from Payscale states companies that are currently hiring, along with their estimated salary ranges. They include United Health Group ($75,000); Mercer, LLC ($69,000); Milliman, Inc. and Anthem ($65,000); Willis Towers Watson ($64,000); and Aetna ($62,000).

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About the Author

Maggie Boccella
Maggie Boccella

Maggie Boccella, a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, is a freelance writer, artist and photographer. She has consulted on various film and multimedia projects, and she also serves as a juror for the city's annual LGBTQIA Film Festival.

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