Monday, 9 April 2012

My Final Decision! =)

Remember I was contemplating between Warwick's MORSE and Cass's Actuarial Science? Thanks to my seniors and friends, I've finally decided on my firm. You know who you are. =)

My major concern was whether the interesting optional modules offered in MORSE worth the longer timeframe of the qualifying process to be an actuary. After seeking advices from many people, I would firm Cass as my first choice. Here I would give 3 good reasons why I would choose Cass over Warwick, but nevertheless both are very good schools and both courses are good.

1) Uncertainty of MORSE's optional modules
 
What do I meant by this? It's true that MORSE does offer lots and lots of good interesting modules that captured my interest. Particle physics, Quantum Phenomena, Number Theory, Numerical Analysis, Partial Differential Equations (PDE), Stars, Galaxies, Geometry and Motion and so on. Those are really interesting, and the attraction of me towards these modules was further intensified with my deep interest in maths and physics since childhood. But how these modules can help me
in future remained vague. Most of the modules are only offered for the most 1 or 2 terms (Warwick has 3 terms per year), hence the depth of these modules is questionable. The practicality of these modules over my future is questionable. Most probably I won't be using these knowledge (except certain maths modules), and according to one of my senior friends, most probably I would have
forgotten those knowledge by the time I come out and work. Many skills are picked up independently only after you started working, not when you're studying.

2) Unique and specific course structure of Actuarial Science at Cass

Why this seemingly a disadvantage of specific course structure Actuarial Science have at Cass, what I thought would close my doors to other financial careers, suddenly turned into a major factor that change the course of my decision? Due to its specific course structure, it provides students with maximum number of 8 Core Technical (CT) papers exemption from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries UK, besides providing students the freedom to choose some very interesting optional modules in their second and third year. Derivatives pricing, trading and hedging, risk and modelling, alternative investment management, decision analysis, asset liability management, extreme value
statistics, fixed income portfolio management, and even technical analysis. It's all up to my personal preference whether to pass the actuarial exams fast, in other word to strive for the maximum
number of exemptions, or to learn up more technical knowledge along the way with less one paper
exemption (Financial Economics), although I doubt I would do so.

3) My career aspiration

What I wanted to do in future matters the most, no? Now here's my plan: Pass the series of actuarial
professional papers as fast as possible, and further my study in any knowledge I wish to pick up later upon becoming a qualified actuary. I can opt to pursue Master in Quantitative Finance or Financial Engineering, and delve further into derivatives pricing, hedging and trading by then. Since I would have learnt to a certain degree, derivatives pricing, in the qualifying process as an actuary, I might
have slight advantage to venture into that line if I want to. CT8 (Financial Economics) is the basic of
ST6 (Derivatives Pricing), and ST6 is the foundation of financial engineering and quantitative finance! I might not have sufficient technical skills compared to Phd graduates in maths, physics and
engineering, but I believe such rigorous mathematical aptitude can be trained and picked up
through, consistent and relentless, practice. What I want is not fast money, but rather my thirst of
knowledge and experience on intellectual stimulation. What initially attracted me into Actuarial
Science was my love in challenging subjects and I believed Actuarial Science suits the criterion very well. Now that I've found another more challenging subject, Quantitative Finance and Financial
Engineering. Actuarial Science should serve as a stepping stone, leading me to that career.
 
So that's it! My three reasons to change the course of my life! Now what I'm supposed to do is to pass my requirement of A*AA for Actuarial Science at Cass. What about insurance then? I don't know whether I should put Heriot-Watt. Will check out about that soon! =)

*Edit: I've decided to put Heriot-Watt as my insurance, due to these few advantages. Firstly, it only requires AAB from my A-Levels, considered the lowest requirement I have. Secondly, Heriot-Watt is quite famous for their degree in Financial Maths, and it is offered by the Actuarial Maths and Stats Department (one of the 3 departments in School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences) in Heriot-Watt, therefore it's possible to learn from my potential friends who are doing degree in Financial Maths and I stand a very high chance to ask for their notes, for self-learning purpose. By so doing, I can focus in Actuarial Science degree and get 8 papers exemption, as well as acquire knowledge of Financial Maths from my peers. Double win! xD

Favourite Music! =)