Capstone Certificate in Actuarial Science helps math lover launch rewarding career

Actuarial decision-making

When Cole Sebald earned his bachelor’s degree in 2012, he set out to find a job where he could put his math major to good use. This proved to be harder than he’d expected, and he soon found himself working as an IT professional and a jeweler. Luckily, the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Capstone Certificate in Actuarial Science is helping him enter a career that places math front and center.

“I found out about actuarial science while working at those other jobs and starting taking actuarial exams, but I still wasn’t having any luck in the job search. Then I found UW–Madison’s capstone program on Google and decided to apply right away. I was looking for a program that would give me the edge that I needed, so I took the risk,” he says.

The Capstone Certificate in Actuarial Science is designed for math-savvy individuals with bachelor’s degrees in fields other than actuarial science. Simply put, it was an excellent match for Sebald and his skill set. In as little as nine months, the program prepares students to pass the initial professional credentialing exams required by the Casualty Actuarial Society or the Society of Actuaries.

A promising career path

Actuarial science capstone graduate Cole Sebald
Cole Sebald: ‘I wanted a program that would give me an edge.’

Actuarial science is consistently rated as a top profession, and actuaries perform important work such as developing, pricing, and evaluating products for the insurance industry and calculating the costs of risks for businesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects actuarial professions to grow at a higher-than-average rate—nearly 20%—over the next decade.

Sebald knew he wanted to secure an actuary position quickly, so he looked for a graduate-level program he could complete in a short amount of time. The capstone certificate’s accelerated format, which includes face-to-face classes on the UW–Madison campus, helped him finish his studies at a fast clip. In addition to taking core courses such as Actuarial Mathematics, Loss Models, and Theory of Interest and Life Insurance, students can add electives such as an exam-review course.

Electives made it possible for Sebald to meet some professional development requirements before graduating.

“I was able to knock out two actuarial Validation by Educational Experience (VEE) credits by taking non-actuarial science courses at the university,” he says.

An appealing job offer

Thanks to the program, Sebald landed a position at a major American insurance company before graduation. He began his duties there in December 2018.

“When I went through interviews, knowledge about topics I learned about in this program helped me get the job,” he says.

Sebald credits his knowledge gain and his job-search success to his instructors, who ranged from globally recognized faculty to leaders in the risk-management and insurance industries.

“I had some awesome instructors at UW–Madison, people who were really invested in me and my success,” he explains. “I’m especially grateful for Gordon Enderle, the director of the program. He helped me in so many ways, including my efforts to get a job.”

With a promising career path before him, Sebald looks forward to applying what he has learned to his work and to future exams.

“I came into the program struggling to stand out in my actuarial job search. I left with a solid job lined up and a ton of preparation for future actuarial exams. It was well worth the risk,” he says.

Learn more about UW–Madison’s Capstone Certificate Program in Actuarial Science.