The long and short of a SAADP Alumnus journey

Muhammad matriculated in 2014 from Northwood Boys’ High School in Durban North, KwaZulu Natal before embarking on his Actuarial Science journey at the University of Cape Town the following year. He recalls back in high school when he had to start applying to universities and choose a career path to pursue. At this time, his older sister had already graduated in Actuarial Science at UCT and had begun working in the field. She shared her actuarial experiences with Muhammad and subsequently convinced him to follow the same career path.

Muhammad has recently passed his General Insurance Fellowship exam with the Actuarial Society of South Africa. The Fellowship exam was the final ‘hurdle’ in his Actuarial examinations journey. He has also recently joined the Actuarial, Risk & Quants (ARQ) team at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as an Associate.

The role of SAADP

In his 2nd year of studying, he spoke to his close friend who was in the same class and was one of the SAADP beneficiaries at the time. Through their interaction, Muhammad learnt about the valuable support that SAADP offered both in the classroom (extra tuition sessions) and outside of it (recreational activities). He applied for the programme and was successfully admitted during his 3rd year onwards. After joining SAADP, Muhammad began to truly appreciate all the programmes offered. “Apart from financial and academic support, SAADP uses its network of sponsoring companies to arrange networking events for their students. These events connect students with a number of professionals in the industry and seek their advice,’ he says.

“Where possible, SAADP also organizes vacation work for their students to expose them into the world of work they will eventually become part of. On the softer side of things, SAADP regularly checks on their students to ensure their general well-being and progress are on track,” he continues.

Muhammad expresses gratitude to SAADP for the support he received. He sends his special appreciation to Mr Khwezi Bonani, the Programme Manager at the time. “Khwezi significantly contributed to my ability to secure a job that I enjoy and to swiftly complete my exams,” he remarks.

A word of advice to current & aspiring Actuarial students

The key point of advice for current Actuarial Science students is to persevere. The actuarial career is not for the faint-hearted, however, the rewards awaiting you down the line make the sacrifices worth it.

Muhammad suggests that Grade 12 learners who are interested in pursuing Actuarial Science must speak to current Actuarial Science students. This will make them understand their journey as well as those already working in the field.  He alerts Grade 12 learners that there may be plenty of actuaries who are willing to offer their time to keen individuals. He says this is the best way to know what one can expect from the degree itself, as well as what kind of work one will be involved in, to inform their career choice.

He adds that Actuarial Science plays an important role in managing financial and other risks for entities in the South African economy. Drawing from their strong technical skills, Actuaries are sought after in various sectors ranging from healthcare to pensions which are vital in shaping a better South Africa.

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