Kettering University Actuarial Science program among top in Michigan

Kettering University Campus Center

The Kettering University Actuarial Science program was recently given a new status by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and is now only one of two universities in Michigan with the designation.

The program was upgraded to Universities and Colleges with Actuarial Programs - Advanced Curriculum (UCAP-AC). SOA is a global actuarial professional organization.

“It’s a big achievement because it’s not that easy to be there in this company,” said Dr. Leszek Gawarecki, Math Department Head and faculty member.

Dr. Leszek Gawarecki, Math Department Head and faculty member
Dr. Leszek Gawarecki, Math Department Head and faculty member

In addition to taking validation of educational experience courses, students and professional actuaries take up to nine exams through the SOA to earn Associate of the Society of Actuaries (seven exams for the Associate of Casualty Actuarial Society) and other exams depending on further careers and the field of practice. To be recognized as UCAP-AC, a university program must provide instruction for at least four SOA preliminary exams.

As a result of the upgrade, Kettering’s program will receive financial assistance from the SOA to host either on-campus events, travel to conferences, or purchase study materials for exams.

Dr. Hee Seok Nam, Math faculty member, led the effort to apply for the upgraded status.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for employment of actuaries from 2016 to 2026 is 22 percent, which is higher than the 7 percent average for all occupations. For students interested in Actuarial Science, they have to like math, statistics, business, and data analysis. Actuaries develop, price, and evaluate insurance products as well as quantify risks. Kettering Actuarial Science students co-op at companies such as Auto Owners Insurance, Beaumont Health, Meadowbrook Insurance Agency, Willis Towers Watson, Pioneer State Mutual Insurance, and Trinity Health. Passing at least two exams and internship experience while in college equipped with strong analytical and business skills would give students the best job prospects for entry-level positions.

“Being an actuary is not an easy task, and it’s very essential for the existence of the entire insurance industry,” Gawarecki said.

Salaries are high and job stress is low, he said. With centers of the actuarial industry in Chicago and Southfield, Michigan, Kettering is well positioned as a university.

Kettering has an Actuarial Club for B-section students established in Spring 2018. Club members have attended the Ronald H. and Mary E. Simon Lecture Series at Michigan State University and meet to discuss exams and for study groups.

Seana-Joy Irving ‘22, a Jamaican student studying Applied Mathematics with a concentration in Actuarial Science, chose Kettering’s Mathematics program because of the program’s reputation, small classes, and co-op program. She learned about it through Kettering’s pre-college program Academically-Interested Minds (AIM). She does her co-op at Willis Towers Watson in Southfield, Michigan as an intern analyst.

“I was impressed by the partnership and cooperation between Kettering’s Department of Mathematics and prominent companies, and I really like the idea of small classes,” she said. “I work with Kettering alumni at my co-op who were in my exact shoes. They are able to guide me in my class choices and provide tips for success and great guidance in terms of direction of actuarial science I want to go in.”

Irving said the small class sizes allow her to be more involved and know her professors better. Her favorite part of Kettering, she said, are the diverse class options.

“I loved having three different math classes in one term,” she said. “It helps me stay organized and naturally stay ahead in my classes.”