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Actuarial science students set program record for exams passed

The actuarial science program in the College of Business and Public Administration has experienced growth and continued success since being named a Center for Actuarial Excellence in 2009.

Only 14 colleges and universities in the United States carry the designation, given by the Society of Actuaries to the country’s most elite programs.

Rahul Parsa, professor of actuarial science, interacts with students.

“We’ve seen some big jumps in interest in our program and in our enrollment, which is partly due to that honor,” said Toby White, assistant professor of finance and actuarial science.

Because of the recognition, CBPA has been able to attract high-caliber students, and in the past few years, the program has grown by 30 to 40 students. In response to the expansion, CBPA has added two new full-time faculty members to teach actuarial science.

Recently, the actuarial science program accomplished a milestone—100 professional exams passed in a six-month period. Of the 91 students who passed the tests, nine passed two exams.

“We usually tell students to try to pass one exam every year,” said White. “If they can get through two within a six-month period, that’s highly impressive.”

Drake’s actuarial science program prepares students to take the first five actuarial exams. Generally, employers look for students who have passed about two exams. However, communication skills and grades are also important factors.

“Passing exams makes you more marketable to employers,” said White. “Drake prepares students for these rigorous assessments. All of our core classes related to at least one of the first five professional exams.”

— Elizabeth Ford