These are some testimonials that have been shared by students. If you have a story to tell share yours.

Stuart South

1. Who are you? (brief summary of yourself, indicating your  interests, hobbies and school)

My name is Stuart South. I am an avid BBC World News watcher but when the television is off I like to spend time with my friends, most of whom are fellow Campionites, playing dominoes. I  enjoy water polo and am an avid Manchester United fan.  I attend the University of the West Indies, studying Actuarial Sciences.


2. Choosing one’s area of study is very important as it gives framework to one’s future. What are your life goals? 

My life goal is to ultimately become a successful Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) who with the help of fellow patriots can increase the standard of living in Jamaica through extensive work in the private sector and the social sphere.


3. In many ways, Actuarial Science proves challenging for most students. How has your experience so far at the University differed from what you may have expected of the discipline’s study?

Indeed, Actuarial Science is very challenging. However, I think that the challenge mostly lies in being disciplined and dedicated to studies. Thus far, I have been advantaged by receiving precious insight from both Student Actuaries and Actuaries about what to expect during my course of study. Maintaining my focus and keeping those expert tips in mind have helped me to cope in a program which I know to be fairly difficult.


4. Becoming an Actuary is predicated on passing a set of exams whose number and content may differ based on the body you decided to become accredited under. Which Actuarial body do you think you will choose first and why? 

I have already chosen to be accredited under the Society of Actuaries (SOA). To be honest, I am indifferent to the number of Actuarial bodies because I believe that despite the difference in exams, much of the knowledge and underlining skill sets which you obtain from your exam preparation is the same. With that said, maybe the only reason why I chose the SOA path was because I was more familiar with it than any other Actuarial body.


5. The world of actuary is widening at a steady pace and the skills that they employ are being applied to many areas of finance and commerce. What area, established or otherwise, are you most interested in practising once you graduate?

In the short term, I would embrace an opportunity to use my actuarial skills in an area of Finance. However, in the long term it is my wish to delve into a non-traditional area. Some of those  I am currently exploring are: education, entrepreneurship and policy and regulation.


6. What personal advice would you give to other students looking to pursue a degree in Actuarial Science?

If you are meticulous, have a love for Mathematics and you believe that you are a forward thinker then the Actuarial Science degree is the right fit for you. Any Actuarial degree will be relatively difficult but if you are disciplined, diligent and place a keen emphasis on understanding the concepts that you learn then you will surely excel.

Tajma Harricharan

1. Who are you? (brief summary of yourself, indicating your interests, hobbies)

 I am Tajma Harricharan.  I was born in St. Lucia, studied at UWI Mona in Jamaica and now work and reside in Trinidad with my husband.  I have a great love for food and enjoy trying new recipes.  I also enjoy the outdoors. When I’m indoors, however, working or relaxing, I love listening to music – my favourite genres being Contemporary Christian and Indie rock. 


2. Describe your job, explaining what exactly you do and how (if it does at all) it relates to the profession.

I am an Actuarial Analyst at KR Consulting, Trinidad and Tobago.

I currently as an Actuarial Analyst in the Life Insurance department, but am not limited to this field.  For almost three years I worked as an Actuarial Analyst, specialising in pensions valuations and retirement benefit calculations.  From time to time I still assist in this area of pensions. 


3. Time is much easier to waste than it is to manage.  How have you found trying to balance work and study? Describe some of the pitfalls and techniques you employ.

Balancing work and study primarily involves a desire to excel.  You must have clear goals and a strong desire to see these goals realised.  This requires excellent time management skills and a willingness to sacrifice and prioritize. 

I tend to feel both mentally and physically exhausted after a long work day which is not conducive to daily evening study.  One technique I have found useful is to study before my work day begins, when I am refreshed and my mind is clear.  


4. Work and studying is a big deal; it requires a real goal-oriented person to commit to spending possibly the next couple of years following University studying. What pushes you forward?

Gratitude pushes me forward.  Many miracles have led me to where I am today – geographically and career-wise.  It would be a shame to waste my God-given talents and the blessings I received in getting a good education and landing a good job – where my career goals are understood, supported and I contribute in a very significant way.  I am thankful that I have the capacity to learn and grow in this regard and this keeps me yearning for more.


5. Would you recommend that students take exams while they are at University? Explain.

Yes; the sooner you begin, the faster you can hope to finish. Working and studying simultaneously is very tiring and time-consuming, so any exam conquered before working life begins can be viewed as a head start. 

Also, the earlier you get a feel for the exams and the commitment they require, the faster you can decide if this is the road you really want to take.  Then you may begin to condition your mind for the road ahead. 


6. What is the best advice you can give to students approaching Actuarial Exams for the first time?

Sacrifice, prioritize, and do not underestimate the exams.  Use the manuals, do the problems, once, twice, thrice, and so on until you master them.  Approach the exams thinking that this requires ten times more the amount of study than for your hardest exam to date.