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First WA graduate to join elite group of actuaries

Media release

C234/08

26 August 2008

In a first for Curtin University of Technology and Western Australia, the Institute of Actuaries Australia (IAAust) has confirmed that a Curtin Actuarial Science graduate has completed the necessary examinations and other requirements to qualify as a Fellow of the Institute.

Bhavesh Haria is Curtin’s first graduate to have completed the rigorous examinations through Curtin and the Institute and qualify as a Fellow. He joins only 17 qualified actuaries working in Western Australia and is believed to be WA’s first “home grown” actuary.

Actuaries are specialists in financial mathematics and statistics – like financial engineers – and are crucial to the banking, insurance, superannuation and investment and finance sectors.

Bhavesh graduated from Curtin in 2005 with First Class Honours in Finance and a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science. His studies at Curtin helped him complete Part One of a five part program required to become a Fellow of the Institute.

“The program is rigorous and usually takes seven to ten years to complete as it requires not only a mark of at least 73% in some of the subjects in the degree program but also an additional one year control cycle course, further fellowship examinations through the Institute and a professional development course. There is also a two year full-time work experience requirement,” Bhavesh said.

“It is all worthwhile as I am working in many different areas involving finance and risk which are very challenging and interesting at the moment, not only in Australia, but also globally. The financial and personal development rewards are also very attractive.”

At the beginning of 2007 Curtin became the only Western Australian university and one of only five universities in Australia to offer an accredited actuarial degree program.  Curtin offers students the opportunity to gain exemption from the Part One subjects through its Actuarial Science degree and is working towards attaining accreditation in the Part Two of the program.

Curtin Dean of Science and Computing in the Division of Science and Engineering, Professor Jo Ward said that she is delighted with Bhavesh’s success and hopes his achievement will inspire current and future students to qualify as Fellows of the Institute.

“Curtin is committed to providing our students with the best possible educational experience, and Bhavesh’s success provides prospective and current students with an example of someone who has utilised the course flexibility and choice to help them achieve at the highest level,” Professor Ward said

Associate Professor Kevin Bowman who mentored Bhavesh throughout his studies at Curtin, believes the success of the program is mirrored in Bhavesh’s record of achievement.

“Bhavesh has achieved a global qualification in a field which offers numerous opportunities particularly in these challenging times,” Associate Professor Bowman said.

“As the finance and resources industries are always in urgent need of more graduates with actuarial skills, Curtin is endeavouring to meet this demand and our newly accredited Actuarial course is helping students achieve this.”

Bhavesh now works for Wesfarmers with their Business Development team looking at among other things potential mergers and acquisition opportunities for the group.  He was involved in the biggest takeover in Australian corporate history last year with the Wesfarmers acquisition of the Coles Group for a record $22 billion.

“My actuarial studies have opened up doors for me in very interesting areas and the work is challenging. The complex problem solving and rigorous financial risk management skills that the course develops are thoroughly valued by employers,” Bhavesh said.

Prior to his appointment at Wesfarmers, Bhavesh worked with Alinta helping to manage their vast wholesale energy and greenhouse credit portfolios and previously with the Department of Treasury and Finance.

Curtin University’s Actuarial program information can be found at their website http://www.maths.curtin.edu.au/
Contact:  Lisa Mayer, PR Coordinator, Curtin, 08 9266 1930, 0401 103 755 l.mayer@curtin.edu.au

CRICOS provider code: 00301J

Modified: 26 August 2008