MSU Adds A New Bachelor's Degree

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Who knows what actuarial science is? In layman's terms, it's a discipline that uses math and statistics to assess risk for insurance companies.

"Basically you're pricing risk," Albert Cohen, the coordinator of the Actuarial Sciences Program said. "It's giving someone an up-front price in case something happens in the future."

Actuaries are actually in high demand -- even here in Michigan -- so this fall MSU has made it a full-blown bachelor's degree program.

"It's one of the best degrees you can get, you can get a highly paid job," Yang Wang, the chair of the MSU Mathematics Department, said.

In fact, several publications have named actuary as the number one job in the country.

"We have recruiters here every week," Cohen said.

What this is is basically supply meeting demand. There are 6,300 people working in the insurance industry here in Mid Michigan, and it turns out those companies are hiring.

"We all have a need to have actuaries on staff," Dawn Elzinga of Farm Bureau Insurance said.

Elzinga said they hope to partner with MSU and its students in the near future.

"When we need to hire, we will be going to the places that have the programs," Elzinga said. "Having one so close will allow us to meet the students and the teachers."

So far, there are about 80 students enrolled in the new program, the university expects many more down the road.

"This is increasing because of the job opportunities out there," Wang said.

The science itself may be about assessing risk, but in these hard times, it might be the surest bet students can make.

The coordinator of the program said it's very student-centered and industry-centered, meaning they've listened to what employers are looking for and have tailored the program accordingly.

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