4 Facts about Actuarial Science

It is easier to become a professor in Actuarial Science than become an actuary – Dr. F. Onyango.

One day as I did what I know best – which is to mind my own business – I was punished by being the proud person to overhear two grown, educated men talk like it was a crime to be intelligent. Sample this:

MAN A: District X produces the creme de la creme students in the country. It has produced over 6,000 actuarialists (sic).

MAN B: They are called Actuarial  Engineers or Scientists!

I had to interject to save myself from all this non sense.

ME: They are called actuaries and I highly doubt…

Just before I had spat out my two sense, I was cut short by…

MAN B: Sasa wewe kijana unafikiri sisi tulizaliwa jana?*

I immediately got an urge to die a natural death or if not to atleast puke to save myself from any more B.S from these two guys. The questions that will always linger in my mind are: Why were stones wasted on Stephen (the first martyr) when we have worthy contenders for the price of Stoning? Why could not the killers of Tupac spare him and kill guys who are worthy to die for their chupidness? Since those two men could not listen to me as I had been born yesterday, I will atleast speak to you because, like me, you were born yesterday as the proud son/daughter of Mr and Mrs. Intelligence!

Here are a few facts about Actuarial Science:

1. Advice to kids in high school who want to be actuaries: If at one time in your life you hated mathematics (even for just one lesson), do yourself a favour and look for another career. The commandments that you need to follow to become anything near an actuary are just three: Love Mathematics as you love yourself. Love Calculus as above and Love Probability as above. If you still feel that with your small hate for mathematics, you can still cope, then go ahead. It is anyone’s duty to warn any kid of the consequences of a sharp blade. It is more fun to watch the spoilt little brat kid (if he is not your own) cry after the blade has cut him though.

2. In order to be an actuary, you have to pass some very difficult exams. Ask anyone who has attempted them and they will tell you how easy it is to fail when you have read, crammed and mastered everything concerning a particular paper. If you have not done the above three, you will UNDOUBTEDLY FAIL! Having a first class in Actuarial Science does not make you an actuary!

3. Numbers: Based on 1 and 2 above, it is highly unlikely that a certain district in the country can produce 6,000 actuaries. Infact, the number of students who have graduated with an Actuarial degree in East and Central Africa is less than 6,000. (these are no where near being called actuaries). More puzzling is the fact that there are less than 35,000 actuaries in the world! I hope there are others in other planets. Compare that with the over 300,000 teachers in Kenya alone. There are less than 15 actuaries in Kenya. (the actual figure is 11 but I have decided to add 4 incase 1 or 2 qualify in the next few years). Of these, only one did not study abroad. In summary, after completing your Actuarial degree, you have a 1 in 1000 chance of being an actuary. The probability of death is about 9 in 1000. which means you are more likely to die than to qualify as an actuary!

4. Having said that, being an Actuary is the best job . It was named the best career of 2007, and has been ranked atleast in the top 4 in the last 6 years. Find other honours here.

Also read Actuarial Science in Kenya by Lucy Muthoni.


NOTE: Elizur Wright is considered by many as the father of Actuaries/Actuarial Science. You can read about him here

Quote: click here and here

Disclaimer: Once in a while I think about semi-serious stuff. This was one of those whiles.

*Young man, do you think we were born yesterday?


214 thoughts on “4 Facts about Actuarial Science

    • Im acturial student at maseno university av been deeply threatened by
      the above comment …If people are not able to be an actuary then this course doesnot
      belong to planent may be elsewhere I wonder how can u be professor in acturial science
      and yet not an actuary.

    • Doctor , we were are not expecting that from you……but since you have written the negative side of it, then please inform us of the positive part of it …am teaching probability, financial maths a lesson…….otherwise we need you

      • Well, I am sorry if I discouraged you. I only tried to bring out the facts that it is very much possible to be an actuary. It has been done. However, it needs determination and hard work.

        On the up side, by the time you become an actuary, you will be earning good money and probably a manager or assistant manager of the Actuarial Department of the company you will be working in. (I am talking about after starting your CAs). Job opportunities for actuaries are endless. You will not look for jobs, they will look for you both locally and mainly internationally.

        Finally, you have that nice title eg Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Science which very few people have on the face of the Earth.

        On how one can be a Professor and not yet an Actuary, I point you to one Prof. Simwa, whom I am sure you have heard of.

        • I want to start on with diploma in actuarial science what advice can you give / I have not completly decided whether to pursue it or not plizz advice me accordingly so that I don’t have a mistake..

  1. college ate my life……four years of my life….funny thing everyone i meet in America has no idea what Actuarial science…or actuary is….am talkin about recent graduands from american universities………

  2. In Kenya, everyone knows about acturialists(sic), or has heard of them. I might also add that anyone planning to do comp science must at least like Mathematics.

  3. Over here,guys are quite different. think actuarial science deals with production of Action Movies.. Hizo miaka nne heri ningelima mahindi Kitale. I bet my net worth could be in seven figures. Of all the stuff we were taught, i remember, “What is you Q(X)”
    Actuarial science is a stochastic process i would not wish on my worst enemy! Its the surest way to go nuts.

  4. I second you on that….@greatrnk.
    Ask an actuary,”wats 1+1=.?”… He’ll answer you what would you like it to be.

  5. from english life table no. 127 for males i have culculated that i shall narrowly escape death atleast 9 times(van damme’s way) then the 10th become an actuary. am nowhere near van damme thus i’ll die ten times then ressurect with one paper less an actuary. why didnt you tell us this doctor in first year when you told us first of ‘smith invests…..etc?

    • Dr. Onyango told me that when I was almost graduating.

      You have proved one thing: The difference between God and an actuary is that God does not think he is an actuary!

    • Unfortunately there are only about 11 Kenyans you can ask that question, and half of them are not in the country. I am however not one of the 11. From my interaction with a few, getting there is a major problem!

  6. no matter the situation,niko determined 2 be the 12th,wacha vitisho,maths is my family wheras probability is my young sister and calculus ni bro,soon i will be there but you got strong facts

    • Bernhard, you will probably not be the 12th person to qualify (because there are a number of people who are a paper or two away from qualification) but with determination, you will.

      Remember that being good at mathematics does not give you any edge in the papers in the sense that for you to attempt them, you have to prove that you are good at it. In short, everyone who does the course is not only good at, but loves mathematics.

      Finally, the earlier you start, the better. I believe with your determination, you will qualify in a few years. All the best!

  7. i jz kent say anything bt life is always real wen you fullful you dreams,thanks a lot lucy [Greatrnk] bt is this course wen you finally land on work have a promising payment,en which is the least grade you can qualify to join campus by JAB lyk your case with Maseno.

    • The JAB cut off points for the course for the last intake was as follows: Nairobi (47.7), JKUAT (47.4) and Maseno (46.9). In all the universities, there are no courses with higher cut off points. The cut off points for Medicine in Nairobi was also 47.7.

      Do not do the course, or any other for that matter, for the money. Do it because you have a passion for it

    • Actuarial work is broader than risk. Other areas where actuaries can specialize include investments, pensions etc.

      Most of the actuarial work, like, say modelling a product will be done with the help of a computer. You need all the computer knowledge you can get. You will probably not need C++ as much, but it is a good introduction to other programing languages that are essential such as java and Visual Basics. Computer skills (not the basic, but programing languages for example) will also be an added advantage when looking for employment.

    • You can attempt twice for each paper at the discount rate. If you fail both attempts, you will be required to pay the full rate at the third and subsequent attempts. There is no limit in the number of attempts one can undertake.

  8. I think most of u here are nothing else more than wet blankets who can’t give encouragment to any one. As far as am concerned with determination I can become whatever I want as far as all those careers were invented by fellow men like me

    • Doutlander,

      I agree with you on one thing: With determination, you can achieve great things.

      But the truth is that Actuarial Science is a very demanding course. This view is shared by the few actuaries I have had a chance to interact with, including the editor of the Actuarial Magazine.

      If you have the right determination and are good at Mathematics, nothing should deter you. Go for it and all the best!

  9. izt a must to take business studies in high school for use in the course in future,or izt a MUST;requirement when perssuing the course

    • I do not think it is a requirement, but it will do you a lot of good if one takes the subject in high school. The advantage is not so huge though. If you ask me, if one wants to do Actuarial Science, you are better off doing Business Studies rather than Agriculture or Homescience.

  10. About the papers attempts. If you fail the same paper 4 times you will be ‘pushed’ kindly to a counsellor and the advice will be ‘You need to reconsider your career options’

  11. Haha! I come across a lot of commentaries on Actuarial Science such as these on the web. I appreciate the reality check you are giving future aspirants for the profession but then you’re probability evaluation on becoming an actuary is slightly misdirecting. You need to base a standard set for your sample space (technically speaking) i.e the main criteria at work for a population intending to qualify as actuaries which could either be just doing the exams or taking the actuarial science degree first before doing the exams. On a local scope though since not many people take exams we shall use the latter criteria for a more unbiased estimate. Total graduates in Kenya as of 2011 were around 1500 (a rough estimate I have made from a previous value extracted by Lucy Muthoni)Of these, as you have mentioned, we only have 11. 10 of whom studied abroad and 4 of whom are soon to come which increases our event space to 15 and our sample space size to 1511. Therefore your real unconditional probability of becoming an Kenyan actuary is 15/1511 which is equal to 9.9 in 1000. This is definitely higher than your chances of dying – which I am yet to verify is indeed 0.009. Ur best chances of making the best living in the world are still well above your best chances of randomly dying. Definitely a cause worth trying.

    • You may be right, but then you do realise that your result of 0.0099 is just slightly higher than 0.009.

      Having said that, we are supposed to divide 11 by 1511 since there are just 11 actuaries. The 4 are yet to qualify. Moreover, the 1500 figure is taken from the TASK website which was last updated in 2008. More students have graduated since that time but taking 11/1511 still gives us a figure less than 0.009.

      Whichever way we look at it, less than 1 person in 100 graduates with Actuarial degree are qualifying as actuaries, don’t you think that is a figure a bit too low, and worrying. Atleast I do.

        • i am juliet and i am going to form for this coming year and i have really thought hard and i’ve decided i want to become an actuary but with what you people are saying you are making it look impossible for me and i’m thinking of choosing a different career

  12. How many actuarial papers are done coz am planning of taking da risk 2geda wid ma undergraduate degree in actuarial science

  13. You guys don’t need to discourage aspirants against pursing the course because different people have different different dreams and no-one is gonna decide for me.Take for instance,George Bush was not good in class but he had dreams of leading his country.Did this ever stop him from getting the post?Fulfilling dreams require determination and support in terms of giving hopes and prayers other than publicizing discouragement.Besides,God is above everything and everyone,including you guys and those you praise to be few best among many minor heads.ALL aspirants should feel uplifted by their capabilities and determination and not words of mouth from bad-wishers.Don,t look at those who want to encourage or discourage you but believe in yourself cos if u don’t,what if one of the above factors outweighs the other?Will you leave your dreams die off?YOU STILL HAVE TO FORGE A HEAD.

  14. we’ll still do them,thr aint nothng tht stoppin us,we gat the mind of christ,hivo ndo bible inatusho & we r workin 4 it.imagine kutuna 1:00 daily,si sirGody who reward hrdwxk….i thnk u gat 2 gt my name curld in tht f***** bk coz am comin and i aint stoppin at nothing

  15. I’m a first year actuarial science student at JKUAT, and I believe with hard work and determination, I get there. There is this quote that, I live by, Dream, Work(harder than hard) and Pray, and you’ll be successful in anything you do. Thanks for the insight.

  16. More information on the papers can be found here, http://ow.ly/4PZFj

    The papers are not impossible to pass because many people have passed them. They are however, very demanding. I can say that they are easy and anyone can pass them without preparing adequately, but I will be lying. All I can say is that you need to prepare yourself adequately to stand a chance of passing them.

    To anyone out there who intends to do them (or who is doing them), I wish you all the best. Know that you will at times fail a paper you had read very well for, this should not discourage you. Forge ahead.

    Most importantly, do not sit these papers with pride and a lot of self-confidence. They have a thing of humbling the greatest of people.

  17. Am Liking all these; nice advice GreatRNK you should be a career advisor.

    In my life( in the Insurance Industry) I would say actuarial science is a course that Just Opens and Expands your mind exponentially! It gives you a unique way of viewing things (Decisions) “USING NUMBERS” this is an ultimate strength that can make you survive in any career.

    I think its not just about the hard models, mathematical/Statistical resoning but its more to viewing Complex Situations and problems using Simple mathematical but wholesome reasoning. People go for the papers; kenya and the world needs Actuaries. Disclaimer: ” If you are going for the papers/Career coz of the benefits(Pay/Monies), You might be in for a big shock-it’s about the passion and not the cash”

    • Thanks Constant K. I also agree that many people will be disappointed if they joined the profession because of money. A love and passion for mathematics is essential.

  18. Pingback: The Best of The Greatrnk « The Greatrnk

  19. lo1!
    Cool stuff! Nice to see so many Kenyan’s interested in Actuarial Science all in one place.
    I’m a actuarial science major, senior year.

  20. I am a first year at Meru university jkuat branch pursuing bachelor of actuarial science and I just wish to start to do those proffessional papers but I dont know the cost of one paper

  21. Daktari, you kinda exaggerating stuff bt you are not really off the point..I did and passed two exams with the SOA, exam FM and P while in second year last year, I did 2 last month with the institute and faculty of actuaries(CT4-models ,CT5- contingencies) and chances are that I will ace them…To tell you the truth, let nobody tell you the exams are impossible..you got to read hard and practice doing past exam questions like crazy..but nothing beats the feeling of doing that exam and you know 90% of questions there..it has kinda messed up my “social life” but that’s the price I am willing to pay to be an actuary.You know you are not wasting your time when you are 21 years old and you are doing the same exam with Peter Mwangi (MD Nairobi Stock exchange- a qualified CFA in his late 30s or early 40s earning more than 1M per month less other bonus payments) and he complains after the paper how tough it was yet you had a relatively easy time with it. Be prepared to be a little ‘anti-social’ but don’t give up your dream because of what other people think about you.. Just my two cents…

  22. Is it possible to sit n pass the professinal xams all in single trials without repeating any paper?
    Jstme cn u also tell us wat were in the papers? R they the very things u r taught or they r more Americanised?

    • It is not possible to sit all the papers in one sitting because some papers will require you to undergo a three day course before actually sitting them.

      Even if it were possible, my view is that it would be unwise to attempt all the papers in the same sitting.

  23. When was actuarial science first introduced in Kenya and in which college?
    Hw many colleges in kenya offer actuarial science regular course?

    • Actuarial Science was first introduced in 1999 at Nairobi University.

      So far, it is offered in JKUAT, Maseno and Kimathi Universities. Kenya Polytechnic also has a diploma course while one can major in Actuarial Science if he starts by doing Economics or Commerce (I think)from Kenyatta University.

  24. I undstnd that u can take the papers while in a diff career n nt in the insurance career bt jst qualify in the end to b an actuary. Is this true?

  25. Daktari although out of this topic, wat r da minimum qualificatn for admission to UON school of Engineering regular course(i.e by JAB)?

  26. I am currently undertaking exam p,but i require some assistance,notes and some registration info.is there any good samaritan to help?

  27. Am finalising my ACII nxt yr then enrol 4 actuarial sci. Cn I start takn the xams in my first year? Please advice

  28. Good stuff, educate society on the mighty Actuarial field.Regardless of the hustles…..with ample dedication we can muscle them exams

  29. i like to be challenged that way and am kinda that way. it is always good to challenge somebody before the undertake something…..

    • Honestly, things do not get any better, but if you master those early concepts of probability and theory of interest and calculus, you should be ok. The Actuarial course revolves around these mathematical concepts.

  30. Am a first year actuarial student at Maseno City campus how many course units must one take before he/she graduates

    • All the best. Do not let your genius mind go to waste, and more importantly, do not sit for a paper with a “I am a genius mentality.” If you fail, it will break your spirit.

  31. I remember the day I went to JAB’s offices to confirm my name from the selection list of the year 2009, the lady looked at me and said to me “Actuarial Science” your 1st Choice. My 1st choice? I wondered. Some guy who was just behind me heard and he went like” wow! You are lucky! Am just dying to do that course”? Well I didn’t want to embarrass myself by asking “What is Actuarial Science”? Only for the embarrassment to come later when I arrived home and my Dad Went “What’s actuarial science?”
    To cut the long story short I didn’t even know the spelling of “Actuarial science” leave alone what it was until I joined campus and I was taking actuarial science. By the way am not still sure of the pronunciation but am an aspiring actuary.

    The word Actuary also was like foreign to me, and even until now. Look at it this way, in the academic field of science we talk of scientist e.g. computer scientists, physicists, biologists and so on. Now look at Actuarial Science; Actuary? What’s that?!!!

    I know may be you are now wondering who I am or what I am, well to kill your anxiety I am an Actuarial scientist and not an Actuary (of course the difference is the spelling). If this was a movie all the past story would be the introduction.

    During the long holiday, 20011 I went Internship hunting (Job hunting) in the insurance companies in Kenya. I visited a company that was very prominent in years back (name withheld because that might be your current employer). Am not the kind that know how to communicate efficiently but sometimes when I talk some people listen. I was privileged to talk to the Underwriting manager of that company. That was the second time after almost three years The question ‘what is actuarial science?’ embarrassed me. I tried explaining how actuarial science is indispensable in the insurance industry and the manager told me that he had been in the industry for 23 years, and he had never heard of it. I just wanted to learn Insurance, I explained that to him and he offered me a position in the underwriting.

    When I reported the following day, I was given a heap of files, like a hundred of them and told to enter the data in the computer. I am a simple person and always said I could do anything. I tried the data entry and 5p.m came and I left. As I lay on my bed that night, I remembered the doctor and the professor, I remembered the survival models in third year, I remembered financial mathematics; annuities and perpetuities. I decided that am not a data clerk and I will never be one. So when morning came, I left for Upper Hill. To look for a job that will have some actuarial science in it.

    Every other place I went, they didn’t seem to even know actuarial science. So I decided to go the research way and become a data analyst. I enjoyed data manipulation, data cleaning, charting miracles, data interpretation; it looked like actuarial science. That’s why I always say, if You are an actuarial scientist who cannot run an SPSS Syntax, or a programmed add-in in Excel, then you are a data clerk. ( A different profession.)

    I got fed up with data analysis and interpretation of performance indexes, I desperately wanted to go back to Insurance; this time not necessarily to do actuarial related work but just to be there and try to maneuver my way to either the risk or the actuarial department. I was hired on contract to do Underwriting, they posted me to the customer services. For 7 months I never used even a single word/ knowledge in actuarial science.

    One thing I always say is that ‘Failure is never fatal; Success is not final, the secret is to keep on moving’ and so I did. 7 months experience in underwriting General class of business after which I moved to underwriting medical department. Medical underwriting is more involving than general business. It is more to pricing than just underwriting, more to figures than just feeling.

    Seven months after medical underwriting, I still needed breathing space. So I thought trying to get some managerial position might provide that room I needed. In Kenyan Insurance companies, it is very hard for you to have the title manager before you have been in their industry for Seven years on average. That explains why I had to leave the country.

    I have been in Technical Underwriting for the longest period in my career now. It’s something I chose to follow, not in the way that it’s normally done traditionally but with a new way. Approaching underwriting from actuarial science can be amazing. That is why I will never forget the complements I used to get while my last Medical underwriting job.

    Traditionally (you can ask what we call old boy’s of the industry in Kenya) underwriting is more to feeling than just mere risk analysis. On the centrally, actuarial science is more to figures than feeling. Underwriting is about mitigating a risk which is expected. Actuarial science is looking for risks which are expected.

    Most young graduates of Actuarial science get underwriting jobs in Kenyan market. This is because underwriting carries better part of the operations in every insurance company. In fact, most Kenyan Insurance companies don’t even have actuarial departments; they rely on consultants from south Africa and other places. This leaves the actuarial graduates (Many of those who don’t even have a single paper) with three options as far as jobs in the insurance industry is concerned. They can either join finance, Claims, Risk and/ or Underwriting. Unfortunately, it is also true that most risk departments in the companies are small; this is because underwriting deals with risk itself i.e. The underwriters are the risk acceptors. The fresh graduates are therefore left with only one option of becoming underwriters.

    To an actuarial scientist; a drunkard of figures and data, trends and patterns, time series and relationships; all defined using mathematical models underwriting is like clerical work. For you to grow in underwriting you must pursue ACII papers. These papers are cheap; Dr. Onyango will say butter and bread. An example is the Insurance risk paper; a 2nd year can do that paper without doing any revisions. (Only an average bright 2nd year; not every Tom, Dick, Harry and perhaps Thuku to make it Kenyan). Many of fresh Actuarial graduates who start pursuing ACII give up on the Actuarial career and become chartered Insurers.

    In underwriting rates are predetermined; there is no pricing apart from one plus one. Actuarial science asks the question why, underwriting answers the question how? I am not trying to say that the two are not correlated, but it might be true that they are not related. Notably, if you have Actuarial papers you can get more than enough Exemptions in ACII; more than 120 credits. This doesn’t necessarily show that Actuarial science is superior to ACII but an ACII can’t get exemptions in actuarial papers.

    I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that all future underwriters will be actuarial scientists even if not actuaries. (Well an actuarial scientist is an actuary who is not yet certified by any of the international bodies; a.k.a ‘self proclaimed actuaries’ like me and may be you). If underwriting today is to be ran by actuarial scientists, Underwriting will be moved from just feeling to figures. Feelings look at today and try to foresee the future; figures look at yesterday and foresee the future.

    If you want to understand what I am saying, try talking to anyone in the Medical underwriting. This is the third year that many companies have reported losses in the health insurance business; yes including the leading companies. I believe this is as a result of feeling overriding figures. Underwriters just undercutting their competitors without figures and benefit structure patterns. This has been causing cancer in the performance of the medical insurance. It is among the departments that need the attention of Actuarial scientists. People who can model past claim patterns to determine the future claims costs. This sort of modeling has so many variables, ranging from age, family size, population growth, medical inflation cost, benefit structure, type of cover, among other determinants. In fact many companies have the traditional feeling that medical insurance risk can be controlled using effective case management. Unfortunately, there is real risk in medical insurance; the rule of GIGO practically applies there. (Bad Priced and benefit structured business in, Claims Out).

    Many people have started doubting the future of actuarial science in Kenya. Me I think it can only be better. What I’d advise a person is that if you get an underwriting job use that opportunity to climb up the ladder. Try to apply some basic actuarial tips and the recommendations from your managers will take you places.

    I would like to conclude this discussion by saying a phrase this “ Education is what remains after learning evaporates” In the Kenyan system of education, the first 8 acts like a grease to lubricate us, the second 4 gives the scope and erases everything in the mind leaving it blank. The Last 4 Replaces a Blank Mind with an Open one; the implication of this is that a graduate can fit anywhere!

    I remain.

  32. HI DOC,am a 2nd yr 2nd sem student at KU,taking BEcom nd intending to major in Actuarial,wat are the implications.

    • The most important thing about Actuarial Science is the papers. It really does not matter what course you have done, as long as you have papers, then you are good to go. Engineering students can even do the papers.

      • hey greatrnk,can we talk via email?
        so am doing this project on credit rating,major is msc actuarial,is it actuarial based,coz i think somewan is misleading me or am misleading myself

  33. hi, can i choose actuarial science at university if i have not studied accounting, economics and business studies at high school…i have studied only maths and the sciences…

  34. i am cyprian nyakundi a first year student from meru university and i am really happy bof what you are telling us concerning actuarial science . i really wish to parsue the SOA papers and i want to request JUSTME to send me his email so that he can help me with some queries that i have . please JSTME , please if you chance to see this information please send me your email and i really would like to ask some things . i will be really grateful . thanks and God bless you

  35. hi doctor, you have really discouraged me from studying acturial science.This as been ma dream course since i was in form 1 ..at least tell me the positive side of actuarial so that my desire may come true…

    • Well, I am sorry if I discouraged you. I only tried to bring out the facts that it is very much possible to be an actuary. It has been done. However, it needs determination and hard work.

      On the up side, by the time you become an actuary, you will be earning good money and probably a manager or assistant manager of the Actuarial Department of the company you will be working in. (I am talking about after starting your CAs). Job opportunities for actuaries are endless. You will not look for jobs, they will look for you both locally and mainly internationally.

      Finally, you have that nice title eg Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Science which very few people have on the face of the Earth.

      • I meant tht a District can produce as many actuarial scientists, who r jst mere actuarial science graduates who havent done the papers, as possible. Mark my words ‘Actuarial Scientists’ NOT Actuaries. So Man B was right.. Guday

      • Doc… Tel of a course that would combine maths and agriculture or biology or geography but which i will get a job without difficulties

  36. i really greatly appreciate this type of discussion that give devoted future actuaries like me on the unavoidable demands of our mighty profession. I would like to add that in as much as you need to have an ample mathematical mind to pursue actuarial science you also need a great deal of hard work and determination nomatter how inteligent you are and one very interesting thing about this just like any other area of life is something called ‘No pain no gain’ and the reward is somewhat directly proportional to the effort injected.

  37. hae.thnks 4 d adv.am planing to take actuarial sci abroad.so whch is d best uni??coz i have a passion 4 it.cheers

  38. hallo all , i took the risk of attempting this ruthless papers http://www.beanactuary.org let me tell u one thing , for u to pass the papers uve to study hard and do many .any questions multiple times , i understand that life has been hell for me but that is the price , i think now i can pass the american exam P , ill do FM in august , i paid 36000 , for all this papers and bought a financial calculator 6500 ,ill do the exam on 15 may this yr at ICEA building computer pride centre in Nairobi , plse pray for me

  39. i dont think what we learn in university can help u pass this papers , i have come to believe that this papers is hard work . if u want any information about the papers u can contact me , i can even give u manuals if u waana do the exam , thats if u wanna do the SOA papers ,contact me nyakundicyprian@yahoo.com , all in all this exams are not imposssible one can pass them . i as a person has started the papers while im a first year , the story is to understand , ill tell u on 15 may how the exam will go

  40. I really followed the arguments on Actuarial closely here and it’s intresting. I have a degree in mathematics and statistics, and wud like do Postgraduate diploma first, 2 hav the foundation aftr which i wud lyk 2 do masters then try some exams which lead 2 actuary profession. Would b grateful 4 yo advice.

    • You could do your post graduate diploma and degree as you attempt the papers. The papers require a good knowledge in statistics and mathematics, which you have. If I were you, I would not wait till I finish my masters.

  41. Am glad for ur information Dr. Am a 1st year first semester student at JKUAT pursuing B.sc Actuarial science. But at the same time am confused to continue persuing this course or not, its mostly discouraging to hear that even after working hard you may take quite sometime struggling without any job. I guess the aim of every graduate is to get a well paying job and settle as soon as they graduate. Also am sure there are quite a good number of actuarial science graduates in Kenya since the course was introduced in various universities, my question remains where are they, if still the number of actuaries is such less within the country, does it mean that they unqualified and hence jobless?

    • I would not lose sleep over actuarial jobs. They are there in plenty. My advice is try and complete your degree with at least two papers and you will be okay. Most Actuarial graduates have gone on to forge careers in the financial industry especially in banks.

  42. By any chance do you know where lucy muthoni transferred her blog to? Can’t find it and it had alot of usefull information.

  43. hahah! actuarial science is effd up! employers don’t know what we do and always go to underwriting, WTF!!! even with 4 or 5 papers, nothing. you graduate, get all excited about that paper that is coming your way only to realize(a year later) that you may as well have done Bcom and sailed through it with some cpas to boot. this course…it is something. but this something has not yet hit kenya, not as well as it should anyway. And so if you plan on spending your time after graduation buried in books for these professional exams, be prepared to be paid peanuts. no kidding! it’s discouraging and at some point you stop telling people u did actuarial science in uni coz ur lifestyle doesnt support your claims!! your are paid close to nothing yet you are probably the one in ur office who spends the most time reading! all because you wanna qualify!! hehe! qualify. you fail those papers so many times you stop seeing what the point is! and yes, you were in the regular program in uni so you do have brains! Hell, do Bcom then cfas. people seem to understand that more!
    i am not guessing, this is from experience. imagine your emplyer asking you what you can do for him, he is a fund manager!! as in?!? as for the diploma in actuarial science…find some other way. kama degree brings such issues, who are you going to tell you have a diploma? seriously, do something else. another business related diploma. coz i know for sure, the campuses offering this diploma employ math lecturers to lecture. so when you do graduate, you realize there is just so much you did not learn in campus. that goes for the degree too! wait till you start doing those papers, woi! honestly, it makes not much difference whether you did the degree or not!! campus notes are too shallow. it’s like starting your degree from scratch, without a teacher!! i will not lie, it is not fun!!

    • cyprian is back . i did exam P and got a prelimanary pass , but let me tell you all . i read for four months thats from december to may 15 may 2012 at 11:00 am my exam was scheduled at 11;30 on 15 may , cutting the story short i rested for only 30 minutes . i really read and did thousands of questions , thousands but still in the exam their were questions that i had never seen ! i think this guys dont want us to be actuaries , i tell you this , if u wanna do this papers then my friend prepare to work , prepare , read ,understand and memorize , i think my life became very hard because at that time i had not done any probability . it does not hurt to read hard and pass , i have been resting and now i am doing millions of questions , i have exam FM on 10 august , i think this time round i will not fear as i have been through the exam testing process , lastly some pple are wet blankets , someone was telling me that “bana umeungua unafanyeje mapapers za US na they are not recognized “, all in all i am doing ta papers because i am bettering myself , if the UK papers were cheap i could have done them ! yes for sure . let me do the US papers . they cost 200usd for the first papers and prepare to buy a financial calculator at more than 9000 , you must lastly pay for bought books around 200 usd per book . if u wanna do the papers just go for them and do, if u wish u can do and if u desire u can reach . leave me alone , even if i fail i will remin to be a self proclaimed actuary , keep working

  44. advice to those still in university,the best time to start the papers is when you are still in university.Those who have qualified started earlier.if you wait to do them later,chances are high that you wont do them.

  45. hey guys, dont get discouraged u can make it bt it nds commitment and mathematic speaking and liking.
    Success to yall

  46. I am currently in Mount Kenya University doing BCOM en I thought of doing it but i wont.Thenx 4 the advices

  47. having completed adiploma in actuarial and passed with acredit also i have just passed my first ACII paper idid on april. with i
    nterest i developed toward actuarial am planning to sit all CT’s papers starting with ct1 then going soa papers God willing. my question was ‘is this the right dession or not?’

    • This is the right decision. Luckily, once you are done with CTs, you do not have to do the SOA papers because they are one and the same. Think in the terms of doing Medicine in Nairobi University then going to do the same course in Moi.

  48. Hello Doctor F. Onyango,
    I am currently a form 4 student, and I love mathematics like my I love my life, like you know its just like flows in my blood. I seek advise from you if actuarial science would really be my forte. From your blog and comments I think it’s the best career for me.

    • Hey Sonya,

      First, I am not Dr. Onyango. Secondly, if you love Mathematics and it flows in your blood, then Actuarial Science is the best course for you. Go for it and all the best.

      • am so sorry, i realized my mistake after I had posted my comment.
        I heard from one of my friend that Actuarial science in not good in Kenyan universities, is that true? if not true, which university would be the best for actuarial?
        and what more careers would you suggest for Mathematics lovers?
        Thank you.

        • The most important thing about Actuarial Science is the papers you have passed, rather than the degree. The best universities would be Nairobi and Strathmore.

          If you love Mathematics, Actuarial Science is a good course for you. Also, you can consider Engineering but my first choice would be Actuarial Science.

  49. from your statement that almost all the actuaries didn’t study in kenya i get the impresion that it’s hard to become one if you are studying in kenya i’m curently pursuing a degree in actuarial sci at chepkoilel

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  51. Hae guys, for more info cantact platinum institute of actuarial n get infomation on tuition for both exams soa n exams from faculty,am a student their n they have helped pass my first two exams am now sitting ct5 n ct7 on sept.0718841883

  52. thank you greatrnk but wanted to ask wea you can get the notes of the international exams to b studying b4 you register 4 the exam….n is it tru that if you study actuarial in a constituent college you less chances of gettin a job than a passon amesomea uon or sth like jkuat

    • It does not matter where you study Actuarial Science. What matters is the papers you have. There are qualified actuaries who never even studied Actuarial Science in any University.

      As for the notes, you can buy them from the Institute or look at the comment below by Wachira the actuary.

  53. Hi guys the the actuarial profession is an exciting one. The professional exams are challenging but which good things come without a price. The actuarial profession in Kenya has not yet realized even half of it’s potential but very soon i believe it will.

    I encourage everyone who aspires to be an actuary to have a stab at it. That’s the only way we’ll be able to attract actuarial contracts to this country as opposed to having to go out there to work. Some may think that it’s not worth it doing the exams as they are not valued by our current employers but trust me, for one pursuing actuarial qualifications, having these papers is like having a gun. You’d better have them and not need than need and not have.

    Having said that, let me echo what Kevin has said. There is a Institution in Nairobi, Platinum Institute of Actuarial and Financial derivatives, that offers tuition and the only one that I know of. The advice, tutor, guide on registration for exams, membership etc. There is an intake from 15Th October for those who want to sit Institute and Faculty of Actuaries Exams and classes start Nov 5Th. So for anyone who may require information please contact me. I have done a couple of papers and passed, the money may not reflect my qualification but i believe it’s just a matter of time! Email me for more info especially on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (UK) exams wachden@yahoo.com, 0718841883, 0738290299

  54. Great thinker, i would still want to be an actuary please connect me with one of the auctuaries you know to act as my mentor and guide me along the journey.Iam ready to tackle the bull by its horns!

  55. I am an actuarial science graduate(first class honors) from Jomo Kenyatta Universitu of Agriculture and Technology. I dont have please advice me on what to do to secure a job in kenya with the high rate of unemployment.
    Thanks inadvance.

  56. Pingback: 4 facts about actuarial science « tassmu

  57. i chose economics and statistics…but am thinking of switching to actuarial science..anything wrong with that pliiz?

  58. Laktar am grateful for the challenge you have given us. please send me the manuals for the exam and the exam centres in Kenya.

  59. waoooh!!!!!now am sweating am in my first year studying actuarial science and i now know how hard am supposed to work!thank you all and please send me any relevant information source via ma email adress,ankorkigo@gmail.com

  60. so if i did CPA after high school, does it help anything if i wana pursue actuarial science? and is it worth it going to university or its just better to do professional papers n study on your own and take as long as one wishes? coz at least one can in the while be doing say another alternative course, thanks

  61. I am interested in actuarial science but am worried….are there job opportunities in Kenya really?do the Kenya people of actuarial science and whats the pay? coz after all life is about fending for once family

  62. Hi i am planing 2 do actuarial science or computer science. I got a mean grade of B minus with B- in maths&phyz and a B con in chem. Can i mek it and whch of da 2 courses is da most appropriate 4 me?

  63. I love what you guys tend to be up too. This type
    of clever work and reporting! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  64. I dont know how you reached me, but thank you for the compliments. I do have the answer for what happened to Stephen. Supplied by our great God himself in his holy words he sent us. Hallelujah (praise Jah). Enjoyed every letter you wrote to a t(tee) not sure where that saying came from. Would love to learn how to become an Actuary but would like more inciteon what

  65. my comments have been erased mailing addresss is 2576 Dingwall Street, Duncan, B.C. Canada, V9L 2Y9 Feel free to send me information. How long have you been in contact? I do care about people & feel bad they are blinded by the bad gods of this system. Some just don’t know it but the good God our cratet

  66. Hey it is discouraging but iam undeterrd.iam a 1st yr student takin the course.tell me abt yourself,as in have u done that professional exams?hw much does a paper cost?and how do I access these papers?

  67. So what if you get a second class honours in this course,can you secure employment easily????

  68. hi…am an actuarial science student from jkuat..i would like to have a mentor who has done th CAs…anyone please?

  69. “which means you are more likely to die than to qualify as an actuary!” reeeeally? you are just intimidating those who could actually easily get scared,as a matter of fact the author is no actuary or a student actuary,he cant just “know’ things. As for the real students actuaries or those who dream of pursuing the same, I will tell you for free it can’t pprobably be as half hard even plus the CAs and that with determination and effort you can really do it.

  70. Currently i am student taking a degree in actuarial science.Can it be possible for one to do the exams as hr or she studies?and how can it be done?

  71. thanxie guyz…am a first yr student doing acturial science in k.u.i thanx for the helpful advice…..the only question.i hav is it necessary to do acturial science i n campus…to reflect ur being an actuary??? in short wat else can an acturial sciencesist be employed except being as a lecturer?

  72. Thanks for the above…….i love maths and am dure i can make it……..my question is ..are the actuarists maketable?????……,such an inspiring passage for me….thanks

  73. well, the difficulty of getting into the actuarial profession has been decreased a fair bit by the launch of the Certified Actuarial Analyst qualification from the stables of Institute and Faculty of Actuaries UK. Going in by the shorter period to complete it (6 exams in 2-3 years), objective multiple choice exams, and its relevance to the wider financial industry, and also greater relevance for entry level jobs, it seems to be a much better study route to take. Details of the course and available on IFoA or eclonline.com.

  74. I am good in maths .I wouldn’t say I have a passion for actuarial science but I want to do it because it’s maths and my assumption is it has a good pay….after I read a comment above of how companies in Kenya don’t know about actuarial science ,the market for the course seems low.
    I cleared my kcse exams class of 2014 waiting to join university
    I want to do my degree in actuarial science in a university abroad.
    My question is for uni students……can the SAT tests for scholarships in universities abroad be done immediately you land in university like day one or do u need knowledge taught in the universities to do the tests?
    And how popular are the tests and probability of succeeding to go abroad?
    Sorry for deviating from the subject ‘actuarial science’ though if it minds well am planning to do actuarial science abroad

    #am that girl

  75. I got c+ in maths but Daystar university is offering me actuarial science and I have a passion of pursuing that course that can u advice me

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