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06 Jun 2016

A Vietnamese student has been awarded the 2016 Cigna Actuarial Scholarship.

Victoria University of Wellington student Hoang Tran is in her final year of a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree majoring in Actuarial Science and Finance, and is part of a joint programme with Vietnam’s University of Economics.


The Cigna Actuarial Scholarship offers a cash prize, mentoring, and work experience at the insurance firm.

Miss Tran says the award will help her studies significantly and is a big boost for her career.

Actuaries analyse and manage financial risk using statistics and forecasts, which they use to calculate insurance risks and premiums. The profession dates back to the study of probability and annuities in the 1600s, and came about around the time of the invention of the mechanical calculator.

“Corporations are more aware of the skills actuaries provide evaluating the probability of undesirable events and the financial consequences of those risks, and coming up with the solutions to assist businesses in making strategic decisions. I find it very interesting and know that it is a great career path for me,” says Miss Tran.

“I am very thankful to be awarded the 2016 Cigna Actuarial Scholarship. Being an international student is difficult personally, academically, and financially. It’s an honour to be awarded this scholarship.

“Cigna has encouraged me and given me opportunities to pursue my actuary career path. The financial support means I can spend more time focused on my study.”

Cigna Life Insurance set up the scholarship last year to encourage students to consider the actuarial profession as a career path.

Victoria University’s Actuarial Science programme is a relatively new course but has proved popular with Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science students. Victoria University is New Zealand’s only tertiary provider offering the programme.

Hoang Tran began her actuarial studies in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, studying English language support programmes alongside Victoria University BCom papers before transferring to Wellington two years ago to complete her qualification. She will be one of the first students to graduate from the joint New Zealand-Vietnam programme.

Cigna’s Head of Actuarial Nathan Thomas says Miss Tran showed impressive academic knowledge and insight into the actuarial profession.

“Aside from the necessary academic attributes, Hoang has good communication skills and is determined to pursue a career as an actuary.”

He says Cigna is excited to continue its partnership with Victoria University and support this new Actuarial Science programme.

“The actuarial profession doesn’t get as much exposure as other professions and this lack of awareness can make recruiting people with the right skill set and commitment a challenge.

“Actuaries most commonly work in the insurance and finance industries, but can also have successful careers in government, education, health, and software development. Although the career can be very challenging, it is also very rewarding and offers many opportunities here and abroad,” says Mr Thomas.

To find out more about Victoria University’s Actuarial Science programme click here: