Xueying (Sylvia) Wang shares what the day-to-day of being an actuarial consultant at IAG is like, plus what her own journey into STEM involved.
As an actuarial consultant at IAG, Sylvia advises on the pricing and reinsurance of natural perils risks. “My day-to-day job involves a wide range of tasks, from data analysis, programming and building logics, to model comparison, statistical modelling, reporting, engaging and communicating with stakeholders,” she explains.
And right now, Sylvia is working to help the company and community to understand our vulnerability to natural catastrophes and impact of climate change. This includes providing information so that the team can give advice on how to prevent and mitigate natural perils risks, like storms, tropical cyclones and bushfires.
Diversity in the workplace
STEM disciplines are evolving and converging, and Sylvia says workplaces require a lot of cross-disciplinary collaboration. “You will be seeing people with diverse backgrounds working together, for example statistician working with medical experts to solve cutting edge medical challenges, engineers working with meteorologists to understand the impact of climate change, electrical engineers working with software developers to research on quantum computing solutions.”
Switching to STEM
Sylvia wasn’t always on a STEM study pathway, but made the switch after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business school.
“I quickly realised my graduate job in retail management wasn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life,” she says. “Inspired by my father who is an engineer, I decided to move into STEM study, starting with mathematics and then moved into actuarial and data science studies.”
The move into STEM wasn’t a smooth one though, and Sylvia received a lot of discouraging advice! “Some people told me maths is difficult and it’s an even more difficult journey to complete actuarial degree. One of my course advisors was even not optimistic about me studying actuarial degree, even though they knew that my undergraduate degree including mathematics. Overall, it was a very tough decision to change to STEM, but I’m glad I kept going as I love the work I’m doing now.”
Sylvia feels that you should never be discouraged by others if you love STEM and says, “It takes a lot of passion and dedication to pursue the path, but you will find it rewarding to do something you are passionate about.”
Sylvia’s STEM study and career pathway to becoming an actuarial consultant
- Bachelor of Business, University of Technology Sydney
- Graduate Sector Manager, Auchan Hypermarkets
- Graduate Certificate in Mathematics, University of Technology Sydney
- Master of Actuarial Practice, Macquarie University
- Master of Data Science, The University of Sydney
- Actuarial consultant, IAG
Want more maths and data career inspo? Check out Careers with STEM: Maths & Data 2021!
Author: Louise Meers
Louise is Careers with STEM’s digital content strategist. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.