BUFFALO, NY - Actuary is one of the most highly-rated jobs in America, according to U.S. News and World Report, Jobs Rated Almanac and CNN Money. U.S. News ranks actuary as #2 on its 2018 list of “Best Business Jobs.”
But this is no surprise to Beth Ann Sardina ’07, MBA ’09 and Eric J. Hezel ’06. Both are actuaries at BlueCross BlueShield of WNY in Actuarial Services and at the top of their careers.
Sardina and Hezel recently earned the prestigious designation of Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA). Receiving this designation, Sardina became the first female Fellow at BlueCross BlueShield of WNY.
Actuaries are the leading professionals in managing risk. They are at the heart of business strategy, ensuring sound investments are made and goals are fulfilled. It generally takes 6-10 years to complete the requirements to become a Fellow, including passing a number of rigorous exams in areas such as probability, financial mathematics, financial economics, life contingencies and actuarial modeling.
“I was a mathematics major, which is at the core of actuarial work, but my other courses in finance, economics and accounting also tie very closely to the work I do now,” says Hezel. “Canisius provided me with a diverse education which is critical for success in the actuarial field. And by the time I graduated, I passed the first actuarial exam and was working on the second.”
Canisius was the first in Buffalo to receive the Universities and Colleges with Actuarial Programs (UCAP) designation. Canisius provides pre-actuarial exam preparation, offers internship experiences and includes mentoring opportunities from alumni working in the field.
Sardina also graduated from Canisius having passed the first actuarial exam, which she says was instrumental in her obtaining a job right after graduation. A member of the All-College Honors Program, Sardina majored in mathematics and economics at Canisius. She also earned her MBA from the college.
“Canisius’ philosophy of creating leaders contributed to my success,” she says. “I participated in a number of organizations on campus and developed leadership and public speaking skills. These skills enabled me to become a valued team member.” Sardina adds that as an actuary, it is extremely important to be able to communicate highly technical results to any audience and in a way that is easy to understand.
Sardina currently serves as a member of the advisory board for the college’s new Master’s Degree Program in Data Analytics, which begins in fall 2018. “The daily work of an actuary requires us to be well-versed in data analytics,” says Sardina. “Any candidate with a master’s degree in data analytics is going to be in demand as Big Data is applicable to almost every industry.”
With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that jobs for actuaries will grow by as much as 24 percent by 2024, a career as an actuary is a sound investment!