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SFAE students gain global insights from visiting Actuaries

The School of Finance and Applied Economics hosted two visiting actuaries for a two week period from 13th to 24th January 2014.


Kaunda Nzilani, a fourth year BBS Actuarial Student recounts her experience during the two weeks.


“I didn’t quite know what to expect from the Healthcare expert and visiting Actuary, Yanum Venkatrathnam. I had been enjoying the classes so far with our lecturer, Mahjbeen Taki and wondered what other perspective I would see.


My first impression of Yanum was of calm, soft spoken and genuine concern for a good learning experience. And I did gain a new perspective! She helped us look at insurance beyond the math that I was accustomed to. I specifically remember her highlighting the fact that we must look at policy holders as human beings and be humane in our responses to them. Situations may require that insurers look beyond what is covered and consider the specific circumstances and effect on the policy holder as well as the impact on the image of the company.


Yanum was very warm and friendly before and after classes. I spent time with her after lessons and enjoyed our discussions comparing the Kenyan market and other markets where she has worked, as well as her working, studying experiences and a little about her personal life. I appreciated her openness, desire to impart knowledge, learn about the Kenyan market and interact with us.

The week ended on a high note and I now knew the hard part would be coming the next week when the 2nd visiting actuary and Vice President at BlackRock, Simon Betteley, would take us through three units – pensions, practical actuarial modeling and risk modeling. 


I fiddled with my pen as I waited for him to get in through the door. I was pleasantly surprised when, an approachable, full head of hair down to earth man walked in and I looked on waiting for his boss to follow. But it was him! What a relief to have two very friendly faces to demystify the jargon of numbers!


Simon gave a realistic view of working in the investment industry and pensions market in the developed world. He showed us the practical and applicable side of numbers that we struggle to crack. He encouraged us in our studies and endeavours to become actuaries. His emphasis on exam technique was invaluable, especially the practical actuarial modeling course. He helped us through construction of models using past actuarial exams and guided us based on the requirements of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.


At the end of the two weeks I looked forward to doing it all over again!”


Asante sana YanumVenkatrathnam

Asante Sana Simon Betteley