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Bond University has appointed internationally experienced actuary Wilma Terblanche as it ramps up its Actuarial Science program, with a Masters degree to be delivered from September to cater for an increasing demand for graduates and a new partnership with Queensland Treasury secured.
Ms Terblanche’s appointment follows the appointment of Dr Gaurav Khemka earlier this year, with both academics working alongside one of Australia’s leading authorities in the field, Bond’s Head of Actuarial Science Professor Terry O’Neill, to deliver the programs.
Professor O’Neill said Ms Terblanche, a Fellow of the Australian Actuaries Institute, would bring an international business perspective to the program.
“Having worked in Australia, the UK and South Africa, Wilma has a wealth of experience and will be an invaluable member of our actuarial sciences team,” he said.
The new Master of Actuarial Science, which can be completed in four semesters, and Master of Actuarial Practice, a five semester program, are expected to appeal to those with an accounting or finance background in particular.
“The Masters will be perfect for those who are working in a similar industry and want to specialise, or those changing from a like-minded career. For example, we have an engineer who has already enrolled in the program,” he said.
Bond University this year became the first in Queensland, and only the seventh university nationally, to receive accreditation from the Actuaries Institute to deliver actuarial science degrees.
Professor O’Neill said the program had proven extremely popular and had been well received by the industry in Queensland, which had previously had to hire graduates from the southern states.
He said Bond had just secured a partnership with Queensland Treasury, which would include a prize for the top first year student, along with internship and work experience opportunities, presentations from Queensland Treasury staff to students and possible research collaborations.
He said Bond’s program differed in its focus on business acumen, with students encouraged to look at the ‘real life’ application of the role and the impact the discipline has on a company or industry.
“The traditional employment base for actuaries, including life and general insurance companies, now makes up just 50 per cent of employment, so there is now significant scope for graduates in much broader business sectors,” he said.
“Demand for actuaries is rising in line with the growth of the sector across the Asia-Pacific region, with new areas of employment activity emerging as the collection and in-depth analysis of ‘big data’ is utilised by an ever increasing number of businesses, such as Suncorp, Quantium and Aginic.”
Professor O’Neill said, in addition to the Queensland Treasury partnership, Bond University is working on establishing ties with a number of key Brisbane firms and organisations, including Queensland Investment Corporation, other government organisations and major insurance companies.
“In discussions with these potential partners we have discovered they are keen to access Queensland graduates, because they will have better long-term retention prospects with those employees,” he said.
“In the past, programs have only been available in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth and high demand for skilled staff saw many Queensland businesses hire and train graduates, only to lose them a few years later as they gravitated back to their interstate home cities.
“The companies we are looking to partner with are keen to provide internships and graduate employment opportunities for our students, which is a coup for those wanting to pursue a career in this industry.
“At Bond, they can get real-world experience in our Macquarie Trading Room, with access to licensed Bloomberg Terminals that simulate the day to day operation of global financial markets to help broaden their strengths in financial studies and data analytics.
“Bond also provides a more personal experience for students with smaller classes and a focus on the wider application of actuarial skills.”
In addition, Bond University’s Centre of Actuarial Research is undertaking a number of projects for the Australian Research Council, which are giving students hands-on experience in data collection and analysis.
Actuarial Science at Bond University Business School
Actuaries are business professionals who combine the elements of economics, finance, statistics and advanced mathematics to interpret, manage and evaluate risk. The Master of Actuarial Science is an innovative and immersive program that combines advanced mathematics, statistics, data analytics, actuarial risk theory, finance, economics and accounting subjects with large-scale, real-life commercial data analysis.
The Master of Actuarial Science will prepare students for rewarding careers in a range of disciplines, including climatology, finance, health, insurance, research, safety, science and technology. Program:Master of Actuarial Science Location: Gold Coast, Queensland Duration: 1.3 years (4 semesters) Semester intakes: January, May, September
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