Why Actuarial Science? Why the United States?

Written by Kong Foo: KongFoo

2008 was my last year in high school. Like all my friends, I was preparing for the final exams at my high school, enjoying the last few months of high school, and researching what area I’d be pursing in college. At that time, I was 80% certain that accounting would be the answer. Reasons? First, everyone said that accounting is the most common and stable job in the market; it is a non-bad-salary-profession and a job guarantee. Second, my mother’s cousins own a big accounting firm in Malaysia, and that is a guaranteed job. Third, I was good at that. I always scored high in my accounting class. And lastly, I was okay with it. Yup, I don’t hate it.

Since everybody recommended that, why not give it a try? Since then, my mind was set, until one day when the words “Actuarial Science” came up. That day, I was on an education website looking forward to knowing more about accounting. I typed “A-c-…” into the searching box. Guess what happened? I saw the words “Actuarial Science”. After a little hesitation, I clicked on it and read the introduction. No idea about what I had read, but I knew it was something to do with math, and math was my undeniably most favorite subject of all time. From that day, “Actuarial Science” was on my list.

And the second question, why the United States? After I graduated from high school, and decided to go into actuarial science, it was time to look for a university. Most Malaysian parents want to send their children out of country, in hopes of a better future. My parents weren’t different. Australia was the first choice, because it is close I think. England was the second, because we were the British colony. United States is of course another one on top in the list. With these two principles, actuarial science and overseas, my parents and I visited the INTI International University. After listening to us, the counselor recommended the American Degree Program. Actuarial science, check. Overseas, check. Deal! One and a half years later, I ended up in Iowa at Drake University with an actuarial science major.

I have to admit that I did not plan well for my life. I chose actuarial science as my major before really knowing much about it. I made the decision to come to the United States because of my parents’ wishes. However, I am thankful that although everything wasn’t well planned, nothing has gone wrong. I guess it was just plain luck. A bunch of great peers that I met at Drake are undoubtedly one of the most precious things that I could get in my life. And meeting Coach Dave is definitely another lucky turning point in my life. He offered me an internship at SALT Solutions and later offered me the first full-time position in my life, which started this past May.

On this day, I can say proudly that I have never regretted making the two big lifetime decisions. I need to thank those people who helped and led me along this path, directly or indirectly. Life is unpredictable, bad things happen, and of course good things too. I wish the best luck to everyone who reads this blog by any chance.