When Mirian George was 12, a friend told her that becoming an actuary was a way to predict the future. “I’ve wanted to become one ever since,” said George, a junior mathematics and economics double-major from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. And it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that her own future is bright.
Actuaries are not only savvy with numbers, George explains. They calculate and manage risk, helping businesses or families navigate challenges that might await them, a topic that George can relate to on a personal level.
“I lost my parents at a young age and didn’t have much growing up,” she said. “It was hard to go to school at a young age due to the lack of school fees. I would miss class sometimes because of that.
“I understand what it’s like to not have financial security. It can be difficult, let alone for someone whose loved ones have died. That’s why becoming an actuary is personal for me.”
Now thriving at Earlham, George’s academic prowess helped her earn two scholarships from the International Association for Black Actuaries, awards that support her education and cover registration fees for the demanding exams needed to become certified in the profession. She wants to become an associate of the Society of Actuaries, which requires passing seven exams and completing a professionalism class, among other steps. She is especially interested in working with clients on services related to life insurance and retirement, helping her clients maximize their needs should the unforeseen happen.
“Being an actuary requires you to take so many exams to become certified,” said George, who has been advised to study about 300-400 hours studying for each.
“The exams are very expensive and if you don’t pass them, the committee questions your commitment. It’s important I do well. Earlham faculty have been extremely supportive.”
George arrived at Earlham after finishing high school on scholarship at the United World College in Norway. Earlham offers a wide range of scholarships to Davis UWC Scholars based on demonstrated financial need and academic merit.
“When I was thinking about becoming an actuary, most schools I was looking at didn’t have a specific program to be an actuary,” she said. “When I learned about Earlham’s math and economics programs, I knew I would be greatly rewarded, and I wouldn’t have to take on loans or struggle financially while studying.”
With support from Earlham and the International Association for Black Actuaries, George has completed one internship at Segal Co.’s Chicago office and will embark on a second next summer at AIG in Houston, Texas.
“The profession is currently not as diverse,” George said. “I am grateful to organizations like IABA in supporting young black actuaries succeed in this field.”