Actuarial Science Capstone prepares Frances Lei to pass exams, start a career

Frances Lei received a bachelor’s degree in finance and got a job at UBS Securities and Standard Chartered Bank in Taiwan. During her yearlong stint in the working world, she realized that mathematics was her true love and that she would be happiest in an actuarial career.

Lei studied on her own and passed several exams required by the Society of Actuaries (SOA). As the exams grew more difficult, however, she realized she should return to school for advanced study. Lei didn’t want to invest in a degree, but rather to pursue an accelerated program that would allow her to get right back into the workforce. She found the perfect solution in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science.

“The capstone certificate program is designed to quickly and effectively prepare students to pass SOA exams and qualify them for an actuarial career within nine months,” Lei says. “It also provides a connection with industry professionals and a strong faculty who can serve as a resource in the future.”

Actuarial science is consistently rated as a top career, with a higher-than-average projected growth of 18% over the next decade. Using mathematical skills, actuaries will be needed to develop, price, and evaluate products for the insurance industry and to calculate the costs of new risks for businesses and industries. UW-Madison’s program equips students to pass the professional credentialing exams required by the Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries.

A love of learning

Lei believes a good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. That’s exactly what her professors did in the Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science.

“Our professors encouraged us to ask questions and go to office hours,” she says. “They always tried their best to walk me through a problem I didn’t understand and make sure I understood the concept.”

Lei developed strong bonds with the people she met in the program.

“Though most of my classmates and I are in different cities now, we keep in close communication to share our experiences and ideas through various social channels,” she says. “The professors on campus are acting as a hub for the alumni network, which continues to provide us with resources and updates.”

Lei knew it would be challenging to learn a new career in only nine months. While studying for classes and exams, she also attended career fairs and prepared for interviews. Her efforts paid off with a job at Iowa’s Fidelity & Guaranty Life, where she uses the skills she learned in the capstone certificate program on a daily basis.

“It wasn’t easy,” Lei says, “but I believe enrolling in the program was the correct decision and was absolutely worth it.”

For more information on UW-Madison’s Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science, see here.

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