Top US actuarial science student shares keys to success

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By Kadeem Joseph

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The Antiguan and Barbudan being lauded as the top actuarial science student in all of the United States is encouraging students to pursue tertiary education.

Liam Benjamin has passed more actuarial professional examinations than any student in the history of the Maurice R Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (GSRM) at the St John’s University as he works toward achieving professional designation as an associate of the Society of Actuaries (SOA).

Actuarial Science deals with evaluating risks and maintaining the economic stability of insurance or financial organisations. Graduates of actuarial studies learn how to use Mathematics, Statistics, and Probability principles to anticipate future events and take preventive measures.

Chief amid Benjamin’s advice to students and others contemplating tertiary education is to “develop and show a genuine interest in the field” that is being considered for further pursuit.

He told Observer that this approach made working towards his goals less burdensome.

Benjamin added that he never thought his interests would have ultimately led him into the insurance industry or actuarial science field, but once he figured that out, spending time to discuss his course of study made him even more interested in advancing.

“I encourage other students to talk about their interests with their classmates, their friends, parents, teachers … this has served as motivation for me,” the scholar said, noting that he has spoken about the field in high schools — both in Antigua and Barbuda and the United States — which has not only fuelled his drive, but also helped others to discover the actuarial science field.

Benjamin, who graduated as a member of the Presidents Society, the highest honour society at the University, also encouraged students who are still in high school, and those entering college, to avail themselves of as many opportunities as possible.

“There are times when we naturally avoid taking opportunities because of the perceived difficulty or the fear of failure,” he added, noting that people often inflate the difficulty of a situation or even the cost of failure contrary to reality, a lesson he explained that he learned firsthand.

Benjamin is encouraging students to take advantage of smaller opportunities earlier, such that as they progress through their academic lives they “would be far less intimidated” by bigger hurdles.

The graduate also attributed some of his success to discipline and time management, skills he thanks his parents for instilling in him from an early age.

Benjamin, who is a former student of the Francis Pre-School, the Sunnyside Tutorial School, the Antigua Grammar School and the Antigua State College, said he also would not be where is today without a firm foundation.

He thanked the teachers who have helped him along the way, highlighting the work of noted math teachers Patrick Lake and Patrick Simon in teaching him key concepts that helped in his tertiary studies.

While Benjamin expressed a lot of gratitude for the assistance he received along his journey, he gave the highest praise to God.

Benjamin was Antigua and Barbuda’s Island Scholar in 2017 and is expected to join global accounting and consulting firm EY as an actuarial consultant in September.

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