Q & A: Carina Balan, Actuarial Science Alumna and Graduate Student
From Value Penguin
By Brian Quinn
As the next part in our Future of Actuaries' Series, we had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with Carina Balan. Carina just recently graduated (May 2013) from Roosevelt University after 3 years of study. She majored in Actuarial Science [and is currently enrolled in the master's program] and minored in both Business and Computer Science. While at Roosevelt, Carina was awarded the 'Roosevelt Lakers Award' for team leadership, the 'Roosevelt Student-Athlete Award' for maintaining the highest GPA among athletes, and the 'Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Award' which is given to one exceptional senior from each University in Illinois based on scholarship, leadership and character. Here is our interview:
What influenced you to pursue being an actuary?
My mother is a math teacher, and she has always encouraged me to pursue a career in the science field. Math has always been the one subject that I have always looked forward to throughout my educational career. During my junior year of high school, I took the AP Statistics course and realized that ideally I would like to apply my knowledge of various mathematical, statistical, and economical concepts to the real world that we live in. I began reading more about actuarial careers, and I felt like it was the right choice for me.
Why should other students consider a focus in Actuary Science?
There is always a need for knowledgeable professionals in the science field. Actuaries must always adapt to new technologies and keep up with current issues, which means that the job is always changing and challenging. Actuarial professions are widely growing and present many opportunities for future students that have a strong mathematical background. Although an actuarial career path does require a lot of patience and hard work, it is a rewarding career that allows people to reduce risk and plan for the future.
What has been your experience with Actuarial Science at your college?
My experience at Roosevelt University has been a very positive one. The faculty and the students have developed a community that is supportive and encouraging. During my college career, under the mentorship of Barbara Gonzalez and Melanie Pivarski, I worked on several research projects that have dealt with data analysis and modeling trends, which has given me an insight into the field of actuarial science.
Have you participated in any internships, and if so, how many and how were they?
I am looking forward to starting my internship with Sammons Financial Group next week, which will introduce me to the world of actuarial science and help me launch my career.
Please share an interesting or little-known fact you've learned about the world of actuaries...
Although many viewers do not realize it, actuaries have represented starring roles in quite a few movies among which are Tron, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, Groundhog Day, Along Came Polly, and Stranger Than Fiction.
What are the latest developments or trends in Actuary Science?
With growing global populations and increased use of various resources, sustainability is an area that is beginning to utilize actuarial concepts. Actuaries can provide crucial information to protect the environment in the long term taking into consideration oil and energy issues as well as the effects that have resulted from loss of biodiversity.
What are your future aspirations and career plans?
I plan to continue studying and passing exams to complete one of the fellowships. I look forward to acquiring enough knowledge and experience to one day lead my own team of actuaries in planning for the future.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The work of an actuary is not limited only to the insurance field. In fact, actuaries are in high demand across a wide range of industries and fields such as finance, economics, governmental programs, and environmental issues. It is a career that presents plenty of opportunities for graduates.