Heriot-Watt welcomed distinguished guests to present at this year's Students' Actuarial Society (SAS) Conference on 11 February. The conference offers students the chance to gain insight into the field of actuarial work and to interact with those in the profession. The title this year was 'The modern actuary', referring to the changing nature of the subject and the wide range of positions actuaries are found in today.
The first speaker, Craig Turnbull, from Moody's Analytics, presented the history of actuarial thought on investment strategy, highlighting the change in life office practices in the UK over time.
This was followed by Dr Gordon Woo from RMS, who spoke on the risk management of emerging epidemics. He explained the economics of epidemic control and how insurance companies can play a bigger role in helping prevent damage caused by outbreaks.
A third talk from Emma MacKenzie (RBS) and Mark Byrne (Accenture) was about big data and how it is possible to use key information to provide better services. They explained that deciphering the useful parts is a challenge.
Afterwards, Russell Borland and Thomas Chalmers, from Leading Figures, spoke about leading your career. As coaches, their job is to help clients achieve their goals. Prominent figures such as past president of the IFoA Dr David Hare, and Fraser Smart, president of the professional services group, Xerox, sent encouraging messages on their careers and on the qualities needed to succeed as an actuary.
This year, the IFoA kindly sponsored a prize for the best questions asked, presented by Suzanne Vaughan from the Scottish Board.
The prize was split between two students, Jack Wiggins and Jason Eber.