May 2019

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Toni-Marie Bobart, a 25-year-old graduate of The UWI’s bachelor’s programme in actuarial science, has become the second student from the campus to earn the designation of “Associate” with the Society of Actuaries (ASA). This is an achievement for Toni-Marie, who has overcome six extremely challenging exams and eight modules while working full-time. It is also an achievement for the Actuarial Sciences programme within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (DMS) of the Faculty of Science and Technology, which has educated two associates since the programme’s creation in 2011.

“It was quite a long journey, especially when you are working full time,” says Toni-Marie. “It was quite a big challenge but through determination I made it.”

Based in the US, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) is a global professional organisation of actuarial science, a field that combines business, math and finance to measure and manage risk for complex financial issues. The SOA exams are known for their great difficulty and many prospective associates need successive attempts to achieve the designation.

Toni-Marie’s road was made even more challenging because the SOA introduced a new exam, predictive analytics, for the first time:

“They changed the syllabus mid last year and I fell under that group of students who had to sit the new exam,” she says.

Apart from her own willpower and hardwork, she attributes her success to her family and employer, KR Services. She is also grateful to her lecturers in the DMS, particularly Senior Lecturer/Subject Leader Mr Stokeley Smart, who “went the extra mile for the students”.

Smart says that “as director of the BSc actuarial science programme at UWI St Augustine, I am of the opinion that if the student does not succeed the master then both the master and the student have failed. Toni became an associate of the SOA in fewer years than I took to attain the designation. That is clear evidence that she has succeeded her master.”

Speaking on UWI’s actuarial programme, Mr Smart says it was designed to “raise the bar in terms of what is expected from young professionals entering the wider financial services sector nationally, regionally and internationally. In fact, 72 per cent of the programme’s entire graduate database is already employed.”

“The degree,” Smart says, “has a focus on developing the quantitative risk management skills of its graduates as well as preparing them to write the associate-level examinations of the Society of Actuaries if they so choose.”

Toni-Marie believes The UWI provides an education in actuarial science on par with anything available internationally:

“You don’t need to spend all this money to go abroad and study actuarial science when you can get the same quality of education right here.”