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Women in Actuarial Science: Meet graduate analyst Georgia Lunney

While the world of finance can be overwhelming to some, for the data geeks and number fanatics, it’s a dream come true. As a career path that has been traditionally dominated by men, changing societal values and improved gender equality has led to increased opportunities for women in this space.

Since completing a Bachelor of Actuarial Science at Bond University, Georgia Lunney has paved an impressive start to her career. As a former president of the Bond Actuarial Students' Society, Georgia honed her skills during university, and is now applying them to her career as an Actuaries Instutite of Australia accredited actuarial scientist. 

As a part of our Women in Actuarial Science series, we spoke with Georgia about her decision to pursue actuarial science, her experience studying at Bond University, and her current position as a Risk Data & Analyst at Deloitte Australia.

What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in actuarial science?

Focus on staying true to yourself. My experience from applying for graduate positions taught me that people are hired based more on personality and how they would fit into the team culture than anything else. I found that my grades mattered the most when applying for graduate roles straight after university. The objective of a graduate role is learning and development, so it is expected that most practical aspects of the job will be taught to you as you progress professionally in your position.

The one thing that an employer can’t teach is your personality – how you interact with the team, professionally and personally. A testament to this was during my final interview at Deloitte, where not a single formal interview question was asked. Instead, the interviewer was more interested in getting to know more about me – the things that they couldn’t find out from my resume. 

Our Women in Actuarial Science series profiles Bond alumnae who are continuing to challenge preconceived ideas about gender representation in data and tech-based industries. Be on the lookout for more incredible stories on how our Bachelor of Actuarial Science graduates have crafted their passions into their careers. 

Interested in immersing yourself in the world of finance, mathematics and analytics?

Explore our practical, industry-leading actuarial science programs now.

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What sparked your interest in actuarial science?

Throughout high school, I was drawn to mathematics as it was the subject that continued to challenge my interest and intrigue in analytics. Like most other Year 12 students, after my high school graduation I struggled to choose from what seemed like an endless list of degrees. After some consideration, I realised that I couldn’t picture a future that didn’t involve using my mathematics skills. With this realisation, I found myself googling ‘degrees for people who love maths’. The first and most obvious answer was a mathematics degree, however the theoretical structure of the degree and lack of clear career outcomes post-graduation ruled out this choice for me. 

After spending some time researching my options, I came across actuarial science. At this point I didn’t have any foundational understanding of what actuarial science was; I only knew the very superficial definition Google returned to me when I searched ‘what is actuarial science?’. Regardless, it was enough to catch my attention. Even though none of my family or friends had any clue what it was, and regurgitating the Google definition became a full-time job, I decided that I was going to study a Bachelor of Actuarial Science at Bond University.  

Why did you decide to study at Bond?

The decision to study actuarial science at Bond was a simple one. As a young girl growing up in regional Queensland, a move interstate was a decision I had to make out of absolute necessity. A move to the Gold Coast was exactly what I had in mind.

Bond is the only university in Queensland that offers a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science accredited by the Actuaries Institute. To me, Bond was an exciting opportunity to move on from my high school bubble and learn more about myself by gaining independence and new experiences. However, I was glad to still be close enough to my hometown so that I could visit when I needed a home-cooked meal.  

What is a highlight from your time at Bond?

A testament to how much students enjoy their time at Bond is the frequency with which you hear people extending their degree or applying for a postgraduate program. Speaking as a true Bondy, many of us simply never want our time at Bond to come to an end, and I think that comes down to the strong sense of community you feel when you are a student at Bond. Whether it is a free sausage sizzle at Wednesday by the Water or the late-night study sessions during study week in the library, the experiences I had at Bond and the people I met along the way were unforgettable and something that I will treasure forever.  

How did Bond prepare you for your future career?

The stand-out for me was the emphasis our academics always placed on connecting the skills we learnt in the classroom to real world scenarios. This approach gave me a clear insight into what a career in actuarial science would look like and allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for Bond’s professors, who are experts in their respective fields. Teaching strategies based on techniques and programs currently used as industry best practice allowed me to feel prepared and confident to start my career. In addition to this, the small class sizes meant that I had one-on-one access to all my professors. The professors knew my entire class on a first name basis and cared deeply about our education.  

Bachelor of Actuarial Science graduate Georgia Lunney

Tell us a bit about your career path to date.

I decided to pursue my interest in big data and apply for Deloitte’s summer vacationer program in their Risk Data & Analytics team. This was a four-week paid program in Brisbane that allowed me to test the waters with a ’try before I buy’ mentality when hunting for graduate opportunities. One of the most beneficial parts of the experience was getting insight into the work culture and team environment, which is something that can be challenging to gauge during an interview or by reading a surface-level job description. 

The best part of this experience was that it led to an offer to join the Deloitte Graduate Program. It was a relief to secure this offer as the program is designed to support and train graduates with a focus on personal and professional development. After completing the four-week internship in early February, followed by my graduation in April, I started my new job at Deloitte in the July intake. In the coming months, I will complete the Deloitte Graduate Program and progress to an analyst position. In the future, I hope to move more into the actuarial space, utilising my experience in both data analytics and risk. 

What do you do in your role at Deloitte?

In my role in Deloitte’s Risk Data & Analytics team, I help clients navigate regulatory risks using insights from their data. One of the most prevalent regulatory risks facing our clients is wage compliance. Our team reviews how we can minimise this risk by analysing payroll data against modern awards and enterprise agreements to ensure clients are paying their employees correctly. Employees who haven’t been paid correctly in the past are then remediated. We use all this information to assist the client in correcting their payroll processes and ensuring that correct compliance continues to be implemented.  

An average day at work for me usually consists of internal meetings within my team as well as external client meetings. Since starting this position, I have worked on two remediation projects, which is how I spend most of my time outside of meetings. I generally follow a structured project timeline to ensure client satisfaction. First, I receive client data, I then clean and transform the data by performing a detailed analysis. Lastly, I present the findings back to our team and discuss the results with the client.  

What is a highlight of your job?

The best thing about my job is the people and the team culture. I often explain the office dynamic by comparing it to how I remember studying in the library. For 10 to 20 minutes, the office is usually filled with laughter and banter which is drawn to a close by a widely accepted ‘we should get back to work’, except for the one person who continues to persist with conversation (there’s always one!). This process repeats until we break for a caffeine hit or a lunch break.  

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