Written by Jeffrey Dagadu:
I love the prestige that comes with being an actuary. Whenever I tell someone I’m studying to be an actuary, the first, most popular reaction is “Wow! You must be really smart!”
And there’s also that “My Man!!” nod of approval from someone who knows more about the actuarial profession and knows how tough the exams can be and how much time one needs to study to guarantee success.
I am in my senior year in an undergraduate actuarial program at a university in Ghana, West Africa. It has been a really interesting journey so far. The past three years in the program have been both fun and challenging as I try hard with the rest of my colleagues to grasp what is taught in the school and also to keep up with the rest of the other actuaries-in-training from other schools in my country, and in the rest of the world.
In my first year of school, at the fresher’s orientation, I had a lot of doubt in if I was cut out for the program. The professors in my school described the course in detail; not the flashy glimpses you see on the Internet when you check best-paid jobs and lucrative career options. They told us exactly what we had signed up for, describing in detail the different paths to becoming a fully qualified actuary and the rigorous examination process. I am very certain that in their minds they thought they were psyching us up for the challenge ahead, injecting into us the passion they had for the program. The fact however was that most of us almost immediately lost interest in the program because of all the “scary” things they described.
But just before all hope was lost, some of our senior course mates who also had some level experience in the program and related to us better (because they were also students) swooped in to save the day. They answered all the questions I had in mind like some professional mind readers and took away all my fears. They hit hard on the benefits of becoming an actuary. They even hinted on the advantage we had as Ghanaians because the actuarial industry in Ghana is in its early stages of growth and the demand for actuaries is very large. We are greatly advantaged because of the insufficient number of qualified actuaries in Ghana. My eyes brightened up and all of a sudden; I could already see “FSA” written on my complimentary card and in my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. I resolved from then to become an actuary no matter what it took.
The prospects here are really great and I hope to be part of the actuaries who will create a viable market for the actuarial profession in Ghana.
But until then I will continue studying and building myself up to be up to the task when the day arrives.