March 29, 2018

Students Learn Skills in Actuarial Science Case Competition

Students Learn Skills in Actuarial Science Case Competition
Group photo of the first place team, including left to right: Pooja Gattu, Lindsay Luth, Lucy Ankenbauer, Jacob Carter and Qianlun Ding
The actuarial science program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln held its inaugural Actuarial Science Case Competition on February 3, in Howard L. Hawks Hall. The one-day event gave students the opportunity to learn about the work actuaries do by applying their knowledge calculating risk to recommend pricing on cell phone warranties. Open to students of all levels who are interested in actuarial science, a total of 38 students split into eight teams competing to solve an actuarial problem in the entry-level case study developed by the Casualty Actuarial Society.
 
Featuring a networking lunch, a Q&A with industry subject matter experts and cash prizes, the event also enabled students to practice their communication skills and enhance their résumé. The event’s sponsors included Zurich, Global Indemnity Group, Casualty Actuarial Society and the Nebraska Actuaries Club. Six professionals served as judges for the competition, including alumnus Nate Heng ’15.
 
“I wanted to help students become more exposed to the property and casualty side of actuarial science,” said Heng, actuarial analyst at Zurich. “I want to give back to the university in ways that aren’t necessarily monetary. Coming down here and seeing what Dr. Vagts and Dr. Clemens are doing with the program is encouraging as well as rewarding.” 
 
The competition consisted of teams with students ranging from freshmen to graduate students. The diversity among team members proved to be an advantage.
 
“We wanted to gauge full participation within the program by opening it up to students of all levels,” Heng said. “It’s good to mix up the groups. In a company, you’re not going to be working with people who are necessarily on your skill level or of the same background, so it helps students get out of their comfort zone. We simulated the real world as best as we could.”
 
Sponsor donations provided gift cards of $50 for first place team members and $25 for second place. All other competitors received a laundry bag donated by Travelers.
 
“The quality of the presentations blew us away,” said Evan Saline ’11, an actuarial associate at Global Indemnity Group. “We didn’t know what to expect in the first year of doing a competition like this, but the students did a great job of analyzing the case study, thinking outside the box and contemplating different business considerations.”
 
The winners included:
 
First Place Team
  • Lucy Ankenbauer, junior actuarial science major from Portage, Michigan
  • Jacob Carter, senior actuarial science major from Omaha, Nebraska
  • Qianlun Ding, actuarial science graduate student from Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Pooja Gattu, actuarial science graduate student from Hyderabad, India
  • Lindsay Luth, junior actuarial science major from Grand Island, Nebraska
                                                
Second Place Team
  • Yu Lu, actuarial science graduate student from Yancheng, China
  • Megan McCann, junior actuarial science major from Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Nisha Rao, senior actuarial science and finance major from Irvine, California
  • Justin Sell, senior actuarial science major from Waukee, Iowa
  • Moriah Tiemann, junior actuarial science major from Brainard, Nebraska
 
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2017, students in the Nebraska actuarial science program can enroll in either the College of Business or the College of Arts and Sciences. The program is recognized as a Center for Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries. For more information, visit: http://business.unl.edu/actuarialscience