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The Insurance, Financial and Actuarial Analysis programme provides students with a conceptual understanding of, and the analytical skills necessary for a career in insurance, financial and actuarial analysis. It also gives them a sound knowledge of the structure, practices and business functions of the insurance industry.

In response to the needs of the market, the programme is rooted in Hong Kong’s institutional environment, although students are also exposed to international issues and practices. University-level insurance, financial services and actuarial education is essential to the growth of the industry and to maintaining and promoting professional standards. The design of the programme curriculum is all-rounded and practical but not limited to the study of theory of actuarial science. Students would receive training in actuarial and statistical techniques in both life and non-life insurances. They would also understand insurance operations, financial markets, portfolio management and derivatives securities so that they can function as managers in the insurance and finance sectors.

The programme has been accredited by the Society of Actuaries (SoA) in the US since 2012. The programme’s curriculum aligns with the exam syllabi of this international actuarial society. Our graduates perform very well in professional actuarial examinations. Most of them enter the actuarial department of insurance companies or consulting firms. Some of them would join other sectors such as banking and accounting.

Prepping for a Professional Career

The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) programme in Insurance, Financial and Actuarial Analysis (IFAA) offered by the Faculty of Business Administration at CUHK provides in-depth education in insurance, finance, and actuarial science to students who wish to be actuaries, financial analysts, and risk managers in insurance companies, banks, and other financial institutions and business consultancies.

‘The Asia Pacific region is the main driving force behind recent rapid growth in the world insurance market. We aim to nurture next generation actuaries to cater for the strong demand in insurance professionals. We look for students wishing to apply their mathematical skills in business context and willing to sharpen their communication and teamwork skills for career advancement. We welcome secondary school graduates with strong desire in joining the promising actuarial profession to apply our programme,’ said Prof. Albert Wong, Director of the BBA Programme in IFAA.

Karis Lau, a graduate of the IFAA programme, enjoys the challenge the programme has offered her, ‘When I first joined the programme, I found its requirement on quantitative skills much higher than I had expected. But I was fortunate to have professors who are always ready to answer my questions – they even spent time reading and replying to my e-mails after office hours.’

With the support of her teachers and fellow classmates, Karis has thrived in her undergraduate studies and is now equipped with all the skills and knowledge necessary to embark on a new journey after graduation. She finds the friendship with her classmates one of the most valuable gifts she has gained from the programme. In fact, a supportive learning environment was one of the reasons Karis chose to major in IFAA.

‘I feel extremely privileged to spend the past four years with my fellow classmates. I don’t think I could handle the pressure of taking various professional exams without their support. We are each other’s best companions in the course of academic pursuit and they make me feel proud to be one of the IFAA students,’ she said.

Karis also realized that even though the programme places special emphasis on quantitative skills, ‘being good at maths does not mean everything – there are many other professional knowledge you need to learn in order to succeed in the field.’ She is pleased that the programme offers her the chance to not only focus on maths, but to develop all-round business skills.

‘In response to the changing role of actuaries, the programme equips students with both core business skills and advanced quantitative techniques for their professional development. Our programme design is greatly appreciated by the actuarial profession,’ said Professor Wong.

The programme has been recognized by the Society of Actuaries in the North America as the Center of Actuarial Excellence. This is the highest award bestowed upon an actuarial programme and CUHK is among the first batch of Asian universities to receive this honour.

IFAA pioneered the Actuarial Training Programme to place students in the actuarial departments of insurance companies and related business entities for at least six months. Almost all IFAA students complete a six-month internship during their third or fourth year, augmenting their classroom learning by working in a real business environment.

In addition to the knowledge and skills acquired in the University and within Hong Kong, IFAA students also have abundant opportunities to participate in overseas exchange. Students can enroll in courses at overseas universities for one term or even up to one year and have their overseas credits transferred to CUHK.

The University and the Faculty provide scholarships to help students with financial needs during the exchange period. Students of the IFAA major can also apply for scholarships offered by the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers Education Trust.

Since its inception in 2002, the IFAA programme has educated more than 700 graduates, among whom many have entered the field of business. Most of the programme’s graduates are now working in the actuarial departments of multinational insurance companies, as well as in some of the top international banks and consulting firms.

If you are ready to face the challenge and join the programme as one of its undergraduate students, Karis has some advice for you:

‘Students of the IFAA programme are not only strong in mathematics, they are also equipped with excellent communication and presentation skills. You can make good use of the internship and overseas exchange opportunities offered by the programme and University to sharpen your skills in foreign languages and build up your professional network – these valuable experiences would be extremely useful for your future career.’

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2020