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 excel in management positions in 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.
The IFAA 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.
‘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.
Andy Cheng, a graduate of the IFAA programme, enjoys the challenge the programme has offered him, ‘As an IFAA student, there are plenty of opportunities for you to work on project assignments and often times there just aren’t any model answers for them. You have to base on what you have learned and work on different approaches in order to draw a plausible conclusion, similar to what you will be doing in the real business world.’
With the support of his teachers and fellow classmates, Andy has thrived in his undergraduate studies and is now equipped with all the skills and knowledge necessary to embark on a new journey after graduation. He finds the friendship with his classmates one of the most valuable gifts he has gained from the programme.
‘There are about 40 students in my class. As we are always taking lessons together, it is really easy for us to forge strong friendship. Some of my classmates have even become my lifelong friends and career partners after my graduation,’ he said.
Andy has also found that the student support provided by the IFAA programme helpful and invaluable. ‘Apart from academic assistances, the programme has also helped us plan our careers. Even after our graduations, the programme office would, from time to time, share with us the latest updates and job vacancies, ranging from part-time to full-time jobs, and from contract to permanent jobs.’
IFAA pioneered the Actuarial Training Programme to place students in the actuarial departments of insurance companies and related business entities for 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 enrol 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 step up to the test and join the IFAA programme as one of its undergraduate students, Andy has some advice for you:
‘Although a certain level of mathematical proficiency is required, you do not have to a prodigy in order to excel; other than quantitative skills, soft skills such as communication skills and problem-solving skills are also vitally important. To lead a fruitful campus life, I recommend you to take an active role and join university societies, participate in exchange programmes, and join as many competitions as you can.’
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2022