A Bachelor of Actuarial science or Finance degree to become a investment banker?

I am going to study in a G8 university in Australia and considering what to study in the coming years.

I would like to be a financial analyst and investment banker in the future. I am good at math.

SO, which of the two degrees (Bachelor of Actuarial science or Finance degree) should I apply for?

I know that they are similar in some aspects, like both of them providing 'modelling in finance' and
'corporate finance' courses. However, finance programme focus more on finance learning while Actuarial science programme focus more on math and insurance matters.

Which of them can provide me a higher competitiveness while applying for internship of a ibank ?

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Comments (11)

Jun 28, 2016 - 7:46pm

Did you even research what actuarial science is?

It sounds like you're applying to UNSW?

Anything beyond very basic math is not required for investment banking. Go with a finance and accounting degree - these will be most useful in investment banking.

Jun 28, 2016 - 11:30pm

Thank you for your advices.
I am not interested in working in a insurance company anyway.
so which of the follow degree would be better,
Major in finance and account
Major in finance and actuarial science
Thank you :)

Jun 29, 2016 - 5:39am
hktug9708:

Thank you for your advices.
I am not interested in working in a insurance company anyway.
so which of the follow degree would be better,
Major in finance and account
Major in finance and actuarial science
Thank you :)

Major in finance and accounting.

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Jun 29, 2016 - 10:06am

You know what? If you're good at maths, and you think you can get at least a high range distinction, strongly consider actuarial. I say this for the following reasons:

  1. Actuarial has transferrable skills that are applicable to many analytical jobs. You will be exposed to more statistics (and likely some programming) and your problem solving skills will be honed to a higher level. You might want to be an investment banker, or you might not. If you don't, actuarial gives you access to a large number of analytical careers. And if you do want to do banking, the odds still aren't great so it's good to have a backup that you think you would enjoy.

  2. Whilst this isn't true for every person helping in recruiting, but if someone did well in actuarial studies, people tend to think more positively about their intellect than if someone had achieved the same marks in accounting. Though many (most?) Australian bankers majored in accounting and / or finance, people are always on the lookout for smart people from different backgrounds.

A director told me that he prefers actuarial, maths, physics and engineering candidates because they're more adaptable. I'm not sure how many others would reflect that sentiment, but there you go.

Have you considered doing a double degree in commerce / science or a commerce degree with a maths diploma (depending on what uni you go to)? Candidates I've seen studying finance with programming or statistics have had a lot of doors open. It's not necessary, strictly speaking, but it's a good thing to have up your sleeve going forward, and if you like maths, you might even enjoy it!

Jun 29, 2016 - 10:54am

So, is it good for me to have my first major in finance and a second major in actuarial?
I can't study double degrees due to limitation of my scholarship.

Or should I have my first major in actuarial and 2nd in finance?

Thank you very much

Jun 29, 2016 - 12:52pm
apacbuyside:

You know what? If you're good at maths, and you think you can get at least a high range distinction, strongly consider actuarial. I say this for the following reasons:

1. Actuarial has transferrable skills that are applicable to many analytical jobs. You will be exposed to more statistics (and likely some programming) and your problem solving skills will be honed to a higher level. You might want to be an investment banker, or you might not. If you don't, actuarial gives you access to a large number of analytical careers. And if you do want to do banking, the odds still aren't great so it's good to have a backup that you think you would enjoy.

2. Whilst this isn't true for every person helping in recruiting, but if someone did well in actuarial studies, people tend to think more positively about their intellect than if someone had achieved the same marks in accounting. Though many (most?) Australian bankers majored in accounting and / or finance, people are always on the lookout for smart people from different backgrounds.

A director told me that he prefers actuarial, maths, physics and engineering candidates because they're more adaptable. I'm not sure how many others would reflect that sentiment, but there you go.

Have you considered doing a double degree in commerce / science or a commerce degree with a maths diploma (depending on what uni you go to)? Candidates I've seen studying finance with programming or statistics have had a lot of doors open. It's not necessary, strictly speaking, but it's a good thing to have up your sleeve going forward, and if you like maths, you might even enjoy it!

In ib interviews he will be up against finance and accounting majors who will have a much higher GPA and superior knowledge/experience of finance and accounting.

IB, on the other hand, requires no math beyond high school basics.

To major in actuarial science would be senseless if he wants to go into IB - he would be shooting
himself in the foot.

Jun 30, 2016 - 1:55am

My friends did fine for banking and management consulting recruitment with actuarial degrees. They had very strong grades though. As I said, one of my directors loves actuarial and STEM graduates. Being analytical helps when looking at new businesses at the same time, and a lot of my senior colleagues have said that you can cram the important parts of a finance degree in a month. Just what I've seen and attitudes in my firm.

As I've already said, keep up your maths and learn programming if you can. An extra year at uni could pay dividends down the road. Knowing maths, statistics and programming will never rule you out of a job in finance, but not having this background will make many roles inaccessible.

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