While researching colleges, Matt discovered that Northwestern offered a highly rated actuarial science program, a Christian education and a strong soccer program. Thanks to the education he received at NWC, he passed four actuarial exams and had a job offer before he graduated. He is now a fellow in the Society of Actuaries.
What are your responsibilities as an actuarial analyst?
In my role at Optum, I support the estimation of medical expense liabilities for physician and hospital groups owned by OptumCare. Our team analyzes medical claims data to approximate the cost of health care services that have already been provided but have yet to be paid. Additionally, we forecast medical expense costs for future time periods for budgeting and planning purposes.
What led you to choose Northwestern when you were deciding on a college?
I knew I wanted to study actuarial science and play collegiate soccer. Actuarial science is not an overly common area of study and Northwestern is a relatively small school, so I was surprised to see NWC listed as a school with a strong actuarial science program. When I did some more digging, the focus on faith, learning and community—as well as a strong soccer program—made my decision an easy one.
What are the strengths of Northwestern’s math and actuarial science programs?
Northwestern’s small size means that professors have the time to invest in individual students and a sense of community is formed with other students in your major. The math department provides support for students taking actuarial exams through classes geared toward the first four associate exams, free study material, and reimbursement of exam fees for passed exams. When combined with a supportive alumni network, this results in actuarial science students graduating with multiple passed actuarial exams and relevant internship experience, which are the two most important prerequisites for landing an actuarial job after college.
In what ways did Northwestern impact your faith?
Northwestern encouraged me to open my eyes to see the world from a broader perspective and to love those around me. I made some great friends at Northwestern who have encouraged me in my faith and have shown what it means to give with a joyful heart.
Did you land any internships while you were a Northwestern student?
I had two internships with Sammons Financial Group: one in the Sioux Falls office in corporate actuarial and one in Des Moines in annuity pricing. During my internships, I obtained a lot of real-world experience. I gained technical skills, industry knowledge and soft skills such as communication. And I was exposed to some great actuaries who taught me much about the field.
What do you love most about your career?
One of my favorite parts about my job is presenting the results of our estimates. Being able to communicate key points effectively and answer questions on the fly can be challenging, but that makes it exciting and keeps my work from feeling stale or repetitive.