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BIG DATA: It's not size that matters; it's what you do with it

One of the fastest growing fields today, Big Data offers great professional scope to graduates.
BY Bond University |   14-06-2018

Big data is changing the way business works. Every day, companies gather information on their clients, their suppliers, their finances, their operations; past performance, present capacity, future projections …

They are literally being inundated with data. But what are they doing with it all?

Twenty years ago, actuaries were the back-room number-crunchers, tapping away on their calculators and computers in a dusty corner of a life insurance or superannuation conglomerate.

In the era of fiscal responsibility, compliance and risk minimisation, however, they have been elevated to senior management and relocated to the corner office as the ones who can actually use that data to figure out what the future holds.

“You can collect all the information in the world but it’s what you do with that information that really counts,” says senior actuary and researcher Sean Elliott, who has worked for some of the world’s leading insurance and regulatory businesses and is now Assistant Professor for Bond University’s Actuarial Science program.

“Big data is like a crystal ball. It makes no sense at all unless you have someone who can interpret the signs.

“A qualified actuary can make sense of the numbers and give you a pretty accurate reading on where the company is headed, what risks it faces and what the future holds.”

The rise and rise of big data has seen ‘number-crunching’ emerge as one of the in-demand skills in the global employment marketplace.

It has expanded beyond the traditional workplaces focussing on insurance, superannuation and investment to sectors involved with health, risk management, IT, management consultancy and government agencies, while the International Actuarial Association prepares discussion papers on issues such as climate change, aging and mortality, genomics, personalised medicine, social welfare systems and population growth.

Employment opportunities worldwide reflect this broader engagement with more actuaries now working in non-traditional areas such as the environment, genetics, public infrastructure, telecommunications and the full gamut of e-commerce.

“Students are lining up to enrol in Bond University’s Actuarial Science programs,” said Professor Terry O’Neill, Bond Business School Executive Dean and head of the Centre for Actuarial and Financial Big Data Analytics.

“We are the only university in Queensland to offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Actuarial Science and we have been able to recruit top-level teaching staff with experience working for major national and international firms.

“As such, our graduates are in high demand worldwide. Out of our first cohort of actuarial scientists who graduated early last year, one student secured a job 12 months before completing the program and another was offered a position within 10 minutes of their interview.”

With employment in the industry projected to increase by 25% within the next five years, it seems the number-crunchers have all the information they need to predict a successful future.

For more information on studying on the Gold Coast, go to or contact Rajiv Chadda from Bond University on





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