Michellyn Ing is an Actuarial Analyst at AM Actuaries and a University of Melbourne alumni. Having completed the Bachelor of Commerce in June this year, Michelle discusses her motivations for pursuing a career in Actuarial science and what her current role entails.
Notably, we had the opportunity to discuss gender diversity within the field, where Michellyn describes the initiatives she wishes to see promoting gender diversity within the field.
Can you please describe your journey in actuarial science and what motivated you to pursue your career as an actuarial analyst?
As a young child, I have always been fascinated by the world of mathematics, so naturally, Actuary has always been an option I kept at the back of my head. As a risk-averse individual myself, I also find the concept of being able to quantify risk to solve problems intriguing. Furthermore, people around me have always depicted the Actuarial degree as a highly challenging field that is near-impossible. Hence, I decided to challenge myself into studying this seemingly daunting major as I view this difficulty as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
After spending 3 years of study in the Actuarial field, my passion and appreciation for the profession only grew deeper, therefore I decided to continue to pursue a career in Actuarial studies. I was offered a role as an Actuarial Analyst before I even graduated, which I accepted. I started working part-time in my current role early this year while studying my final semester of bachelor’s, prior to switching to full-time just after I completed my degree back in July.
Could you please outline what your job entails and your responsibilities?
As an Actuarial Analyst in a General Insurance company, my primary responsibilities include performing stochastic modelling for outstanding claims liability valuations and risk margins. I utilise advanced statistical methods to analyse trends in data to identify opportunities for risk mitigation and profit growth. Dynamic financial analysis is also another key aspect of my profession, as the data analysed is used to determine budgets, capital requirements, and pricing, which would then be used to project future trends to inform strategic decision-making.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
The most rewarding aspect of my role is surely the ability to utilise big data, which might seem irrelevant and even gibberish to most people, into valuable output that can make a significant impact on society. The fact that my analysis and recommendations have a direct influence on the financial stability of some of the largest organisations creates a deep sense of self-fulfilment. Of course, the opportunity to contribute back to society through the field I am passionate about also adds to the satisfaction derived from the work I do.
What advice would you give your younger self while you were studying at University?
If there’s one advice I could give to my freshman self, it would be to anticipate failures. Coming from a background where it is the norm to strive for perfection, I was raised with the idea that failure equals not being good enough, and that they should be avoided at all times. This resulted in burnout from excessive overthinking and stress, which eventually took a toll on my general well-being during my early University days when the challenging syllabus became a reality I wanted to escape. That was when it hit me: I can never stay in my comfort zone forever just simply due to the fear that I might fail. In fact, failure is the best teacher we can ever have. We fail, that's true, but we also learn and most importantly, grow from them. Failure is not something we should fear – instead, it is not trying.
What are current or future changes which would you like to see implemented for gender diversity in the Actuarial field?
To promote gender diversity, I believe that more initiatives should be placed on encouraging more young women to pursue a career in Actuarial Studies. This can be achieved through the organisation of networking events with the aim of raising awareness of the profession and empowering women in the Actuarial field. Another great initiative could also be the conduction of mentorship programs to connect aspiring female actuaries with experienced Actuaries. There was actually a recent ‘Women in Actuarial’ event conducted by Actuarial Student Society (ASS) recently which I personally find enlightening and insightful myself, and I would love to see more similar events being organised in the future!