Making the leap from Johannesburg to Wellington has allowed Christina to kick start her career as an actuary and make the most of her problem-solving skills.
The opportunities in the Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Actuarial Science programme paved the way for Christina to enter the workforce. She is currently working as an actuarial analyst at Melville Jessup Weaver, specialising in superannuation. “When I entered the workforce, I wasn’t sure if I was prepared. But I think everyone feels that way! Once I saw what I would be working on, I thought, ‘I recognise that and I know exactly what I am doing!’ It really felt like Associate Professor Eric Ulm had taught us everything, and that was really nice,” says Christina.
Eric Ulm, the director of the Actuarial Science programme, referred Christina to her current role during her studies and provides ongoing support towards her qualification. “There are quite a few exams needed to qualify as an actuary. Eric is facilitating and organising the transfer of credit for these exams now that I am working, which I appreciate as it takes away a lot of the administrative side of things for me.” She recommends planning for these exams and exemptions as the University offers them throughout the course. “It could save you a few years at a lower salary and you will spend less time as an analyst and more time as an actuary—go for as many of those as you can,” she advises.
Recalling the formulas and breadth of knowledge required, Christina acknowledges the course is hard work. “When you start putting it all into practice, it is actually quite a lot of fun. You really have to think and work hard but when everything works itself out, you feel really good. It is all worth it.”
Once she completes her exams, Christina hopes to explore more branches of actuarial sciences. “I have done a little bit of work with mortality and analysis and find that fascinating. But I don’t think there is anything in my field that I haven’t enjoyed,” she says. “There is general insurance, superannuation, a whole bunch. It is a very broad field.”