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31 Aug 2017

Second year Victoria University of Wellington student, Andrew Russell, is the latest student to be awarded Cigna’s Actuarial Scholarship for 2017.

Andrew is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Actuarial Science and Finance at Victoria University. Originally from the Hawkes Bay, Andrew moved to Wellington for his studies in 2016.

Nathan Thomas, Cigna’s Chief Actuary, said the decision was hard this year. “The applications showed great maturity and dedication by Victoria University’s students.

“Andrew’s impressive academic achievements and passion for the actuarial sciences is clear. He portrays a number of the qualities we know will put him in good stead for a career as an actuary and we are thrilled to be able to award him the 2017 scholarship.”

The Cigna Actuary Scholarship provides a cash prize to help support the student’s ongoing studies and the potential to gain work experience through the insurance firm’s summer intern programme. It is the third year a scholarship has been awarded.
Victoria University Actuarial Science programme director, Dr Eric Ulm comments, “I am very proud of the quality of the students studying Actuarial Science at Victoria, and Andrew’s win and the comments his application received from the committee are well-deserved recognition of this. I know he will be an excellent ambassador for this programme in his actuarial career.”

Andrew says the scholarship will enable him to focus his efforts on his studies and academic goals.

“When deciding what degree to study, actuarial science stood out because it combines subjects I am passionate about. When I saw the positive impact it can have on businesses and individuals, and the variety of career opportunities it could offer, I knew it was a profession I would enjoy.

“Being awarded Cigna’s scholarship provides welcome financial support as well as the potential to gain invaluable real-world actuarial experience through its summer intern programme.”

Underlying Cigna’s scholarship is its dedication to encourage students at Victoria University to consider the actuarial profession as a career path. The scholarship was established in 2015, coinciding with Victoria starting its actuarial science programme.

With a focus on analysing and managing financial risk using statistics and forecasts, actuaries most commonly work in the insurance or finance industries. However, Nathan stresses that there are many more careers that utilise the specific skills actuaries possess, including government, education, health and software development roles.

Nathan comments, “Actuarial sciences often don’t get an awful lot of attention which can make attracting and recruiting people with the right skills challenging. While the career requires great dedication and ongoing academic commitment to become a practising actuary, it also offers many prospects here and abroad.

“We are thrilled to be able to help support the ongoing development of the actuarial sciences with Victoria University in New Zealand and look forward to continuing our work to increase appreciation and development of the profession.”

Due to the quality of the applicants received this year Cigna recognised a second student, James Clark, with a $1,000 award in recognition his academic and personal qualities.

Victoria University’s Actuarial Science programme has been available for the last three years. You can find out more about Victoria University’s Actuarial Science programme here.