Name: Jana Austin '17

Title: Actuarial Analyst

Employer: Cheiron

Majors: Economics and Mathematics

Minor: Business Analytics


What do you enjoy most about your current position?   

I enjoy that every day I learn something new and am frequently challenged. My work is in the areas of healthcare and pension, so I also enjoy how often the topics come up in every day conversations and current events.

What is a typical day like in your position?

A lot of my work is for processing health and pension data. I work on developing projections of future costs of the plans. Important goals of an actuary are to estimate how much funding is required to pay for healthcare and pensions, or the projected change in cost of a new benefit, so that there is predicted to be enough money in future years. I work in consulting, so a major part of my work is displaying the results to clients in reports or presentations.

How has your coursework helped you in your current position (i.e. quantitative skills, research techniques, communication skills)?

Seminars and the professional writing course allowed me to explore topics and write about information related to my career. Econometrics and Statistics courses provided me knowledge on how to gather data, interpret data, and use programs such as SAS and Stata.

Which undergraduate experiences (i.e. internships, on-campus leadership, living learning communities, faculty member, etc.) did you find most helpful in preparing you for your current position?

My internships provided me with experiences in working with data and ECON Blog | The University Career Center @ BSOS | ACTUARIAL ANALYST developing ways to present the information to a non-technical audience. The internships also helped me decide what I wanted to do after college.

Any job or internship advice for students seeking a position in your field?

There are a series of qualification exams to become an actuary. Students should take at least two actuarial exams while in college, and usually at least one before getting an actuarial internship. The first two exams are in probability and financial mathematics. These exams are introductory and require self-studying, but no specific course is required beyond calculus. Once working, actuarial positions usually provide study time and resources to take the remaining exams. The actuarial field is multidisciplinary, so it is important to get exposure to many fields. Economics and Statistics are critical, but it is also helpful to have introductory knowledge of Finance and Computer Science.

Anything else you want to share with undergraduates?

There is an involved process to become an actuary, so it is important to consider the career early in college. Taking your first exam sophomore year or the beginning of junior year is important so you can have an actuarial internship after junior year. The Society of Actuaries website ( has a lot of helpful information about the field and taking exams.